“This Old Heart” – Ed Dupas

4 stars (out of 5)

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We seem to have an outbreak of singles this year; mostly it’s albums coming through the letterbox or into the inbox, but 2020 has seen a few singles, notably three from Danny Schmidt over the summer and one from Tim Grimm in October. In turbulent times, artists will respond with creativity and these have been turbulent times on both sides of the Atlantic. There’s been plenty to write about from both a social and personal point of view and it’s a challenge that’s been taken up by Danny and Tim, and now Ed Dupas.

Just so you know, I’m a big fan of Ed Dupas; he’s a superb songwriter with a rough-hewn, lived-in voice and a good acoustic and electric player. We’ve reviewed three of Ed’s albums here over the last few years and generally the songs lean towards melancholy and are very personal, with a few notable exceptions (the stunning “Flag”, “Too Big to Fail” and “State of the Nation”); “This Old Heart” is very different. It’s a mid-tempo song with an uplifting cajun feel (with a synthesised accordion sound, apparently) and it’s a song of immense hope.

The song was started at around the beginning of the COVID outbreak and then set aside until it began to reassert its presence several weeks later as a song of renewal and redemption. The pandemic is far from over, but the presidential election might offer some hope of healing. Who knows? It’s certainly an opportunity.

“This Old Heart” opens and closes with symbolic sounds – it begins with highway noise and an engine igniting to represent the start of the journey, builds up from an acoustic intro to a full band sound, and closes with a heartbeat. What happens in between is the shift from a time of no hope (‘It’s been a long night for a long, long time’) to a future where we might just be able to help each other along. I’ll raise a glass to that.

Check out Ed’s website as well. In addition to the regular music site items, there’s also a blog featuring Ed’s thoughts on many other subjects, which is thoughtful and fascinating.

“This Old Heart” is released in the UK on Friday November 20th.