“Today’s #DeskOfTheDay gives ‘one-man-band’ a whole new meaning. Watch “I Prefer My Phone,” a 2021 Tiny Desk Contest entry from @CuchulainK” – NPR Music, June 23, 2021
FOR RELEASE OCTOBER 22, 2021
EUGENE, Oregon (October 4, 2021) – Cuchulain releases the genre-bending single, “Wolf at the Door” feat. Ice Giants on October 22. “Wolf at the Door” is a dark, brooding song that reflects the emotions felt by many throughout the pandemic in 2020. This is the third single off FEAT, his album of long-distance pandemic collaborations out Nov 5.
Cuchulain started writing “Wolf at the Door” in 2016 when a friend told him not to quit his day job to pursue music. “He said music would then become the thing that both feeds me and eats at me,” Cuchulain says. “Music would become the ‘wolf at the door.’” That phrase stuck and Cuchulain started writing.
The first of many versions of the song featured upbeat poppy acoustic guitar, a sharp contrast to what can be heard today. The current incarnation of “Wolf at the Door” is one of Cuchulain’s darkest songs, and also one of his most ambitious arrangements. Written long before the pandemic, the who and what of the “wolf” took on new meaning for Cuchulain and the collaborators when the final version came together in 2020.
Cuchulain wanted to work with Paul Leo, aka Ice Giants, a longtime friend and Chicago-based indie pop-rocker. Cuchulain sent him a demo with his voice and acoustic guitar, and Ice Giants ran with it. He brought in Ethan Munz to record a guitar solo, and Shawn Barry to record the piano and strings at the beginning. The horns were recorded by Allison Rosenberg (DC) on her cell phone, and Márk Fedronic (of the band More Fatter) while he was at conservatory in Hungary.
Cuchulain says, “I’m someone who gets through stressful periods by reaching out and making connections with real human beings, by leaning upon my community. That’s part of the reason this arrangement is so involved and why so many more instruments are on this song than on so many of my other songs. I surrounded myself with collaborators to help me get through a dark time, and I hope listeners can feel and resonate with that need to connect; the need for help to be able to persevere through adversity.”
For the Eugene-based singer-songwriter and born extrovert, this way of coping with confinement by collaborating with other musicians extended to the rest of the album, FEAT. Each song on this record is a collaboration: Cuchulain wrote all music and lyrics, and then sent the demos to talented friends. Each track features a guest artist, and over twenty musicians around the United States and world contributed parts to the arrangements. Recorded in home studios of all levels of professionalism from LA to Austin, Seattle to Chicago, SF to DC, Philly to Hungary, this album is meant to be a source of light in the dark, a gathering of a community, a tiny example of the show going on. In short, a feat.
FEAT Track Listing
- Good Morning Eugene feat. Jenner Fox
- Don’t Come Easy feat. Handsome Hound
- Come On Through feat. R.O. Shapiro
- Blue November feat. Shawn Barry
- Iris feat. Katie Kuffel
- Maybe (I Don’t Feel (The Same Way (As You))) feat. Joe Kye
- Wolf At The Door feat. Ice Giants
- With A Little Help From My Friends feat. Matt Jaffe
Cuchulain — a low-voiced songsmith with a wry sense of humor – has a big name to fill. Cuchulain (pronounced “ka-hoo-lin”) was named (yes, by his parents) after the famous Irish mythological hero. And like his mythological namesake, Cuchulain has journeyed far and wide, finding himself and his songs shaped by each place he stops. He has honed his genre-bending version of folk music by incorporating the sounds of his many hometowns. His single “I Prefer My Phone” drew the attention of NPR Music, who said his Tiny Desk Contest performance “gave ‘one-man-band’ a whole new meaning,” referencing his performance of all instruments (guitar, bass, piano, and drums) in the video.
Portland, OR – Laurelthirst Pub – Fri Oct 15
Seattle WA – Conor Byrne Pub – Sat Oct 16
Corvallis – Bombs Away Cafe – Sun Oct 17
Polsen MT – house show – Thu Oct 21
Spokane WA – Lucky You Lounge – Fri Oct 22
Enterprise OR – Terminal Gravity – Sat Oct 23
Sisters OR – Sisters Folk Festival Private Show – Sun Oct 24
Eugene OR – WOW Hall – Album release show – Fri Nov 5
Portland OR – White Eagle – Sat Dec 4
Praise For Cuchulain
“The cross country (and Atlantic) project therefore not only helped break the isolation of lockdown, but also reinforced the mutual relationship between creativity and human connection… What emerges is a track warm if somewhat wistful, the playful energy undercut by a lingering sadness. An awareness of time passing.” – Jon Doyle, Various Small Flames
“Charming and poignant americana.” – Glide Magazine
“The words transcended while encompassing a personal moment.” – Matt Denis, Eugene Register Guard
“There’s a Leonard Cohen cadence and observational wit at play, filtered through Cuchulain‘s voice that recalls Evan Dando of The Lemonheads. It’s a clever and lyrically impressive track that rolls along perfectly like a Randy Newman lost gem.” – Post To Wire
“He has one of the richest voices we’ve ever heard and his vocal performance in this song is incredibly catchy! The production of this song is beautiful and there is a great level of songwriting that shines up through this record.” – Cheers to the Vikings
“If you want a special way not to get lost in your doubts, we recommend this artist, who goes from zero to one hundred while he activates everything when it comes to expressing himself.” – Indie Criollo