While the song – named after the housing estate Sean grew up in – recalls the bonfire collecting and associated delinquency of the season, it also touches on a much deeper theme. Growing up as a nineties child, Sean was aware of how Halloween, before recycling laws and health and safety, could provide a healthy way for a young man to find a sense of purpose in a working-class housing estate. But there is a sense that rituals have faded and been lost, with game consoles and social media consuming more and more of today’s youth.
Armed with his trusty 12 string guitar and duelling with Breifne Holohan on Octave Mandolin, “Welcome to Ballsgrove” weaves both instruments with orchestral parts and percussion.
Sean’s songs, a true blend of the ancient and contemporary, have always explored the thin boundary between rural and urban life in an Irish regional town, as on his debut album Dreaming is Allowed. He takes influence from artists like Dick Gaughan, Christy Moore, Damien Dempsey, and Jinx Lennon as well as Sean-nós singers like Geordie Hanna and Paddy Tunney.
“Welcome to Ballsgrove” will be featured on Sean’s forthcoming second album of the same name (due early 2021).
The single is out now on all major streaming and download platforms, check out the video for the track below.