The restaurant receipt from your first date. The pictures from that trip away. That little moth you found on the window when you moved into your new place together. When you're in love, you collect little souvenirs. But what do you do when the relationship breaks up?
Louise Holden, lead singer and lyricist with folk band I Draw Slow, was wandering around Dublin's Natural History Museum when the moths in this "dead zoo" inspired her to write about the objects that people build up and save during a relationship. "They're the things that mark points that you would like to remember," says Louise. "But now the relationship is over and they are left with this stuff, these little souvenirs."
This kernel of an idea led to a beautiful video and a song that will break your heart and mend it again in the space of three minutes. It's exciting to watch because you know you're looking at, and hearing, something very special.
The Natural History Museum allowed Louise and her songwriting partner, her brother Dave Holden, to film inside. Director Ronan Fox, who recently won an Irish Film and Television Award (IFTA) for cinematography, shot the video. Unusually for this five-piece band that includes mandolin, fiddle, double bass, and banjo, this song is completely stripped back, featuring only the Holden siblings.
The theme of Souvenirs - the end of a relationship - echoes throughout I Draw Slow's critically acclaimed third album, White Wave Chapel. In their last single, "Valentine", Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish) played the role of a heartbreaker in the tale of a love affair gone sour, while "Grand Hotel" and "Now You're Gone" also focus on relationship breakdown - but with a twist.
"This album does have that string running through it, but it's not so much about the heartbreak as what you learn about yourself when you[re separating," says Louise. "What are the positives and the negatives that you take from the relationship and how do you move forward?"
I Draw Slow have become major stars on the global folk music scene, with increasing popularity in the United States. They topped the iTunes Ireland folk chart with White Wave Chapel and, demonstrating their mainstream appeal, reached number 2 in the overall iTunes Ireland Album Chart.
This weekend, they will play in Whelan's, one of Dublin's most popular music venues, as part of the "Dublin Goes Country" festival, which is being held after five Garth Brooks concerts were cancelled due to planning difficulties (although folk and country are often put in the same broad and overarching music category, I Draw Slow couldn't sound more different from Garth Brooks). They return to Whelan's on August 22 with their own headline gig to mark the release of "Souvenirs".
In early October, Louise and David, along with bandmates Colin Derham, Adrian Hart, and Konrad Liddy, will return to the United States for the International Bluegrass Music Association's Gig Fair, where major bookers scout for talent. When the band attended this festival in 2012, they were asked to play at many major US festivals. That was two years ago. Now, with White Wave Chapel, their best album to date, under their belt, it seems a matter of time before I Draw Slow will dominate the global folk scene.