Over the last twenty years, Dublin-born and Berlin-based artist David Hedderman has cultivated an impressive career as a visual artist with his vibrant style of portraits which often feature beautifully textured and captivating backdrops for his figures to exist within. Hedderman’s striking idiosyncratic style seamlessly translates in his songwriting, as demonstrated in his dynamic and deft debut album, Pulling At The Briars. These ten multi-faceted compositions are sensitively layered with sumptuous and sweeping instrumentation. Its tonal palette is enhanced by a rich palette of emotive guitar melodies, soft percussion, and wistful flourishes of pedal steel, piano and violin. These beautiful soundscapes are endlessly inviting, each return drawing audiences closer towards the many aspects of his artistry.
Written over a 15-year period, Pulling At The Briars captures a transitional period for Hedderman during which he relocated to Berlin, Germany from Dublin, Ireland in the mid-2000s. The initial months and years were shaped by intensive periods creating art whilst cultivating a community of like-minded creatives in Berlin. With regards to the latter, Hedderman engaged in regular music sessions, eventually inviting musicians to his Kreuzberg studio to play together. This ritual not only served as an invigorating social outlet but through playing music, Hedderman was able to process several informative events that occurred throughout his twenties and thirties.
Recorded live over five-days with Brendan Jenkinson (Aoife Nessa Frances, John Francis Flynn, Villagers) in Sonic Studios, Dublin, Ireland, Pulling At The Briars was produced by Conor O’Brien (Villagers), Hedderman’s close childhood friend and former bandmate in The Immediate. The atmosphere conjured during the recording sessions was amplified by the potent cast of collaborators featuring Peter Broderick, David A. Tapley (Tandem Felix), Corey Blair, and Aidan Gorman, each of whom add rich flourishes to the expansive material.
Hedderman explains the significance of the album’s title and how it reflects the overall narrative of this deeply personal and resonating work. “It came from a trip I made to the West coast of Ireland making portraits of people. I was also doing some work outdoors with my friend and we were told we had to pull briars out of some walls in the lashing rain. Afterwards, I remember it being a very heightened memory after that trip of it being very cathartic and symbolic. The act was quite literally doing something in the pursuit of clearing, unclogging. I’ve often seen that as how I’ve treated music in a cathartic way, as a form of therapy. Holding the guitar and singing is my way of getting things out. The album’s title is a lyric in one of the songs and I think it nicely umbrellas the whole album in how it addresses the ways that I try to untangle life.”
Introducing David Hedderman’s sound, ‘Blue Jeans’ is the debut single from Pulling At The Briars. The song is a luminous representation of the album as it delicately weaves the lush textures of pedal steel, violin and the haunting resonance of piano which beautifully permeate throughout the record with a mystifying air.
Of the themes anchoring ‘Blue Jeans’, Hedderman explains: “It’s a song that mixes the minutiae in life with the big things and seeing them through a filter; watching or experiencing things from a distance in order to be able to process the big questions.”
Foggy Notions present David Hedderman live at the Workman's Cellar, Dublin, Saturday 16th December 2023.
Tickets on sale via Ticketmaster: