New album Doubles out now on VHF Records
Doubles by Cian Nugent
Get me at --

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Hello The USA, I am within your glittering loins. 

I arrived this day last week and played in Chicago on Friday with Josephine Foster & Plastic Crimewave, it was a great gig and a lot of fun. The road show continues this Friday for the east coast leg. Dates below. Come and shower me with silver roses. 

Dec 16th, Philadelphia, The Rotunda, w/ William Tyler & Zillions 
Dec 17th, New York, Abrons Arts Centre, w/ William Tyler & Chris Forsyth 
Dec 18th, Boston, O'Briens, w/ Glenn Jones, Arborea & Reuben Son
Dec 20th, Maine, TBC, w/ Glenn Jones
Dec 21st, Montreal, Casa Del Popolo, w/ Glenn Jones

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Newish song that has been in the works for a while now, shot in the Unitarian Church in Dublin last month by Paul O'Connor 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Dear The World,

Gunn and Nugent take on Europe this Autumn, attempting to bring joy and happiness to all with our brands of geetarwrangling, assisted in this venture in Belgium, Holland and France by the rifle-like pairing of Steve Gunn & John Truscinski in an almightly duo. Git ready!

Read the below coordinates and see if you can register any familiar places with your mind.
Come say hi!

Your boys,

Cian & Steve


Before we join forces in Portugal the Cian Nugent band will play two shows in England and Steve Gunn Plays in Manchester.

13th October
BRISTOL, England
Bill Orcutt, Jessica Rylan, Cian Nugent Band & Posset (No Steve Gunn)
Cube Cinema
14th October
LONDON, England
Bill Orcutt, Jessica Rylan, Cian Nugent Band & Posset (No Steve Gunn)
Cafe OTO
Steve Gunn, Infinite Light & Bridget Hayden (No Cian Nugent)
15th October
LONDON, England
Bill Orcutt & Paul Hession, Steve Gunn, Posset, The Hunter Gracchus (No Cian Nugent)
16th October
PORTO, Portugal
Café au Lait,
17th October
Museu do Abade de Baçal,
18th October
COIMBRA, Portugal
Arte à Parte
19th October
LISBOA, Portugal
20th October
22nd October*
w/ Charlemagne Palestine & Tony Conrad, Charalambides, Ralph White, Head of Wantastiquet, Silvester Anfang II, City Hands & more
HASSELT, Belgium
Kunstencentrum Belgie
9-11 Euro
23rd October*
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands
w/ Charalambides, Orphax & Cinema Soloriens ft Marshall Allen
7 Euro
24th October*
GHENT, Belgium
25th October*

w/ Rene Hell, Dracula Lewis, Jaws, Innercity, Club Responsible 
DEN HAAG, Netherlands
26th October*
Cafe Novo
27th October*
PARIS, France
w/ Robert Hampson
Instants Chavirés
10 Euro
29th October
w/ Bonnie Prince Billy, Silver Apples, Gala Drop, Eternal Tapestry, Fire!, Oren Ambarchi, Burial Hex, Iceage and more
NANTES, France
Cháteau Des Ducs De Bretagne
5/8 Euro
2nd November
ATHENS, Greece
4th November
DUBLIN, Ireland
Project Arts Centre
* dates feature the duo of Steve Gunn and John Truscinski

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


This Sunday! Nashville's finest William Tyler (Silver Jews, Lambchop) hits Dublin to break some hearts and The Nugent Time do it. Don't not come.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Some thoughts from Stewart Lee on Glenn Jones' and my recent LPs in today's Sunday Times.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Irish steel-string guitarist Cian Nugent's fantastic full-length for VHF is his first widely available recording. It recalls a timeless vinyl record with its two side-length pieces—cohesive and complementary, deftly played, rooted in tradition with a modern experimental bent.
I first heard Cian Nugent's music on Important Records' tribute to Robbie Basho, We Are All One, in the Sun. His piece, "Odour of Plums," stood out as a highlight—no small feat on an album bookended by Steffen Basho-Junghans, featuring several other strong players. I'm not one for tracking down obscure releases, so Doubles is the first I've heard of Nugent on his own. While I expected something competent, Doubles is a complete joy to listen to, ambitious and fulfilling. It sits comfortably alongside the better works of Ben Chasny and Jack Rose, Jim O'Rourke's guitar-centric albums, and John Fahey's latter-day experiments on Table of the Elements.
"Peaks and Troughs" opens Doubles with a few resonant, off-kilter chords, strummed slowly, the dead air lingering uncomfortably in between. Individual strings are plucked slowly, then a bit faster, lingering around one note, then steering away, then hesitantly back again. Four minutes in, the piece all of a sudden transforms into three dimensions, like watching a flower bud blossom in fast-forward motion. Nugent's technique here draws equally from Middle Eastern and American Primitive guitar techniques, sounding like he drew inspiration out of Sir Richard Bishop's playbook (or something altogether more obscure).
Eventually, all the low end drops out, and Nugent's playing becomes hushed, sparse, but more frantic, desperate. Twelve minutes in, the silence is deafening—and then Nugent brings back the same off-kilter chords that he used at the start, layering notes onto each other until his deft fingerpicking is overtaken by a deep droning hum—at first accompanying his guitar, then suffocating it altogether. (That's about when my wife told me to "turn that shit down"—need I say more?) Listened to without distraction, "Peaks and Troughs" is an eerie, stunning piece—the best solo guitar I've heard all year.
The flipside is "Sixes and Sevens," which also takes its time getting off the ground, with a few piercing chimes and low-frequency thuds scattered in between the vibrating strings. With time, the song unfolds into something utterly gorgeous, with Nugent's pleasant guitar playing accompanied by organ, strings, woodwinds and brass at different points. The song ebbs and flows nicely, its instrumentation lush, its mood relaxed. It never reaches the high drama of "Peaks and Troughs," but what it deliberately lacks in heart-in-throat suspense, it makes up in warm, immersive composition. It is no small feat for a guitarist to record two tracks, 45 minutes between them, and consistently hold my interest. Nugent succeeds, and Doubles is essential listening
- Stephen Bush


I'm playing a solo guitar set at this on Monday.

Young Hearts Run Free presents: When Only Words Can Describe: Football/ The Heart's Yearning
Michael D. Higgins
Belinda McKeon
Paul Muldoon

Micheál Ó'Muircheartaigh
Eamon Sweeney (Swench)
Musical performances by:
Margie Lewis
Barry McCormack
Cian Nugent

Monday 29th August, 2011, 8.30pm 
The Unitarian Church, 
112 St. Stephen's Green West,
 Dublin 2. 
Admission 10euros. Tea and cake will be served. 


Is go

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Few snippets of information regarding Irish guitarist Cian Nugent have been publically divulged. Which is fine, because comprehending Nugent’s music requires very little context. His musical influences appear to be a gigantic duh (the reader can here refer to Dusted’s Listed feature, one of the only Nugent-related articles to be found on the web), a dramatic and epic overlay of gentle, interwoven steel guitar, easily pigeonholed as Fahey/Rose facsimile. That’s not a critique, of course, but a side note; Nugent is simply a high-caliber guitarist, and Doubles is out to prove that.

“Peaks & Troughs” begins as a slow tiptoe around the edge of a cliff, slight and tremulous plucking without a hint of sarcasm or humor — this is earnest talent. After several minutes, Nugent dives off the precipice, the crescendos coming and going, each time plateauing via new, transitory textures. To establish what in essence are movements, Nugent toys vivaciously with silent spaces, using their power to emphasize each new phase of the track. By the time “Peaks & Troughs” nears its finale, Nugent has established such a haunting mood, his dexterous fingers are an afterthought.

The second track, “Sixes & Sevens,” unlike the preceding solo, features some of Nugent’s musician buddies. Unlike “Peaks & Troughs,” momentum carries this quickly and happily, as if catching a current instead of whirling in eddies, but the transitions between the piece’s many moods are impeccably done. They all make sense. As the song progresses, Nugent shifts delicately from an almost festive atmosphere to one preoccupied by the heaviness of its own sound.

It’s just another example of Nugent’s Gemini-like ability to weave in and out of opposing forces with finesse. He has no confusion about his ability to do so, playing with light and dark, buoyant and sinking, fast and slow — you get the picture. He is undoubtedly an acoustic master, and ebbing toward the same level of sophistication in regards to atmosphere. 
-- Kate Hensley

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


“Doubles” contains a large conceptual leap for Dublin-based musician Cian Nugent from his previous releases, the 2007 self-titled CDR, and 2008 EP “Childhood, Christian Lies and Slaughter”; this quality of progression comes through the formal characteristics of the new album, specifically the way in which Nugent trades a division of individual songs for interconnected, fugue-like musical sections based around a theme (seemingly influenced by the structure of jazz and classical recordings); secondly, by the way in which Nugent draws on several different musical forms to flesh out his guitar-based writings, again, showing a definite influence of jazz music that is here very original.
Lastly, there is the skill and ability with which Nugent is able to write music that sets “Doubles” apart from many other musical collections of this year.  There is a lot to learn from the recordings, and hopefully other skilled musicians will be inspired by what Nugent is doing with the formal elements he keeps at hand.
Composed of two long pieces, each developed to a length of over twenty minutes, the album contains many different movements whose subsequent sections run kaleidoscopically from one passage of development into the next — all of these musical advancements being beautiful, the closing sections of second piece “Sixes & Sevens” in particular being very elegantly composed.  This use of continuously shifting music is liberating to hear, and allows Nugent to concentrate on expressing variations on an idea and its many different shades of interpretation.  “Peaks & Troughs,” the first musical set-piece on the record, is the more contemplative and slowly-metamorphosing of the two, and is defined by a modal approach to composition, while showing many similarities with the structure of James Blackshaw’s music.  “Sixes & Sevens,” the second piece, is very exuberant and energetic, and is possibly the better of the two.
In terms of musicianship, Nugent’s guitar style is based around alternately strong plucking of strings and soft harmonizing of close notes, which gives the instrument a particularly unvarnished, resonant tone reminiscent of Davy Graham’s technique (especially on Graham’s “Folk, Blues & Beyond…” record).  The instrumentation used on the album is highly interesting, including excellent jazz-based drumming and orchestration, vibrant brass playing on “Sixes & Sevens,” and droning synthesizer on “Peaks & Troughs.”
Perhaps most importantly, Nugent’s artistic ideas, and their expression through varying musical forms, show a great deal of maturity and refinement; it’s striking when listening to these recordings to remember that they were made by someone in their early 20′s, and it will be more than interesting to see what direction Nugent takes next.
-- Jordan Anderson


Last year, Irish music was all about the international rise of Villagers. This year, our overseas success might come from 22-year-old Dubliner Cian Nugent, who has been picking up far-flung plaudits for his newest work, including the tag of ‘genius’ from Conor O’Brien himself. Tenderly produced by Jimmy Eadie (Si Schroeder, Valerie Francis), Doubles is split into two side-long compositions. Peaks & Troughs ebbs and flows beautifully, its passages weaving through nightmarish folk to an intense climax, showcasing Nugent’s talent for fingerpicking as well as composition and pacing. Its flipside is buoyed by the addition of woodwind, brass and gentle tussles with percussion, at times breaking into bittersweet, lilting folk before subtly deviating into jazzy jams. An ambitious but unquestionably rewarding record – and one crucially devoid of pretension, too. 
-- Lauren Murphy 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Cian Nugent's 2011 album for VHF has a very vinyl-era feeling to it, consisting of two 20- to 25- minute compositions that would have fit perfectly on a Vanguard or Takoma release from 1969 or so. (If either piece had the word "fantasia" in the title, that would seal it.) But that sense of paired work -- a theme spelled out in both the album and song titles -- allows for a kind of direct contrast and complement in turn, and Nugent's exploration in the world of acoustic guitar composition is elegant, engaging stuff. "Peaks & Troughs" begins with slow, extremely deliberate notes before rapidly increasing its pace, never bursting into a sudden explosion of notes or chaos -- this isn't Bill Orcutt, say -- but carefully winding up energy almost like a coiling (if friendly) snake. This balance, in keeping with the song title, recurs throughout the piece; an alternation that carefully follows its own logic each step of the way. The sense of deliberation that holds sway throughout is remarkable, though perhaps the more accurate word is precision, with every exploratory filigree and shift from multiple to solo notes sounding tightly honed without being simply mechanistic, leading into a concluding, sustained feedback zone that suddenly transforms the whole feeling of what has gone beforehand. "Sixes & Sevens," a few minutes longer and no less involving, again showcases Nugent's sense of precision but feels warmer and, in its own way, more expansive, with the soft ringing of a chime slowly alternating with guitar at the beginning, followed by increasingly louder percussion and wind instruments as Nugent's main composition unspools, steadily calming down and then ramping up again. The various moves from unaccompanied to group effort not only help in making the contrast between the two songs more clear, they introduce a feeling of direct joy: there's something uplifting on the song that stands in contrast to "Peaks & Troughs," though there are similar moments of quiet and near starkness as the song reaches mid-length.
-- Ned Raggett 


Poster design: John Cowhie

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Versatility is prized among instrumentalists. From Nashville country sessions to New York improvisational explorations, the player who can play it all is the player who will likely have gigs. For instance, while cellist Erik Friedlander has played with John Zorn's Masada Chamber Ensemble and with reed adventurer Ned Rothenberg, he's also worked with Korn, Kelly Clarkson, and the Mountain Goats. While Colin Stetson's star is rising with his new solo opus,New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, he's long kept busy with bands from Bon Iver and the National to Angélique Kidjo and Arcade Fire. This is true for guitar soloists, too, but in this realm, the mastery of multiple forms seems to have less to do with a paycheck and more to do with proving you're more than some new-school John Fahey acolyte. From Sir Richard Bishop's pan-everything albums to William Tyler's expansive Behold the Spirit, some of the best guitar music being made right now is that which takes the world in and sounds it back out through a pair of busy hands.
Thankfully, no one bothered to tell young Irish guitarist Cian Nugent about that approach: His first widely available album, Doubles, comprises two side-length tracks that take definitive and defined approaches the distance. There's no emphasis on how much he can do or how much he has studied his forebears; instead, he smartly focuses on developing a pair of immersive environments that are continuously compelling for more than 20 minutes at a time. He nails it. The first side, "Peaks & Troughs", is an ambitious solo workout for guitar and, eventually, synthesizer. As its name suggests, the tune rises to loud, heavy strums and falls to near-silent picking. A more accurate title might have been "Knots & Threads", as Nugent's emphasis seems to be on the horizontal orientation of his music-- that is, the volume matters less than the way he arranges and links his phrases. At points, his hands are busy wrangling great messes of notes that eventually thin out into beautiful and relatively simple statements of melody. Sometimes, though, Nugent is content to examine one note or chord until it resolves into silence, as if he's staring at a huge, tangled ball of yarn but concentrating only on a small, isolated knot somewhere near the middle. That movement creates an inescapable momentum, meaning that, when this track starts, Nugent's deliberately dynamic approach makes it hard to ignore.
That same kinetic energy applies to the grand and arching "Sixes & Sevens", a piece that Nugent developed with a large ensemble of friends playing drums, strings, horns, and keys. A piece of quiet triumph, "Sixes & Sevens" builds around the obvious, continuous guitar line that runs throughout its 24 minutes. Nugent tucks the revelation that he's been listening to music beyond past masters of instrumental guitar into those near-orchestral flourishes. He hints at a free-jazz maelstrom one moment, eerie organ drone music the next; much later, there's a touch of shoegaze rock thanks to some long-tone distortion and a bit of Japanese minimalism via the restraint of the percussion. The perfectly ebullient passages are a mix of Stravinsky, hard bop, and unrepentant pop; given its redemptive sound, it's where the listener finally understands that versatility is something the young Nugent values, too.
If Doubles has a fault, it's that Nugent makes no attempt to hide his influences or to do something they haven't previously done. This is, after all, a form that has often been beleaguered by its own reverence and subservience to idols; its recent renaissance, however, suggests the time for showing you can do what someone else once did has begun to recede. Fahey, Rose, Jones, Blackshaw-- all of the top-shelf names in this realm have gone for extended ruminations in the vein of "Peaks & Troughs". And Jim O'Rourke stands as the acknowledged master of epics such as "Sixes & Sevens", which rise steadily and delicately to glorious but restrained crescendos. Nugent doesn't reinvent either idea on Doubles, but he doesn't have to; he's inarguably mastered them and made them his own, and that's enough for a start.
— Grayson Currin, July 12, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I did this interview with Ian Maleney a few weeks back for Thumped -- 

Cian Nugent is a twenty-two year old musician from Dublin who is launching his debut album,Doubles, in the Button Factory on Thursday, with support from Wooden Wand and Peter Delaney. The album is a sprawling and ambitious set of two side-long songs; one a dark and sinewy solo piece, the other a grand statement filled with brass, strings, woodwinds and drums. Drawing on the finger-style tradition of Jack Rose and John Fahey, as well as the orchestrations of Burt Bacharach or Ryan Francesconi, Doubles adds a very personal tone the sounds created by Nugent's forebears, representing the emergence of a real musical talent and a strong artistic voice.

Click on the picture for the innerview


Review by Matt Poacher for The Liminal --

My only previous brush with Cian Nugent was his bright ‘When the Snow Melts and Floats Downstream’ from the third in the Imaginational Anthems series from Tompkins Square. That hadn’t really prepared me for the scope and ambition of Doubles, a 45-minute, two-song epic taking in post-Takoma explorations, dissonant drones and ecstatic, full band excursions into O’Rourke-inspired bliss. Nugent has said that the album is in some way a challenge to himself, and that ‘writing and constructing these long pieces was an attempt to exercise some control over my wavering patience’ – a very timely passion given the prevalence of franticity and ‘continual partial attention’. But what he’s constructed with these meandering, yet never sprawling narrative pieces is never mere virtuosity or showiness: there is coherence, power and emotional depths within these sinewy lines and forms. ‘Sixes and Sevens’ is probably the standout of the two tracks, moving from an almost Bacharach-like bounce to something more sombre and bleak at the midpoint (reminiscent of Gravenhurst in places, James Blackshaw in others) before wheezing to a close with a warm echo of the opening figures. It suggests so many potential avenues you can’t help but be excited for what Nugent might produce next. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Album launch was great -- here's two videos

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


The "Doubles" album launch is on tomorrow in The Button Factory, Dublin.
I'm gonna have some full band boogie action at it with --
David Lacey/drums; Ailbhe Nic Oireactaigh/viola; Fergus Cullen/bass clarinet; Ivan Pawle/Organ & Keefe Murphy/bass.

Will be a thumper.

Also on the hott bill are super kids -
Wooden Wand
& Peter Delaney (who has kindly stepped in for Seth Horatio Buncombe who can't make it)

Doors 7.30 / 10 euro admission

Monday, June 20, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011


We at Nugent HQ are pleased to announce this new slammer is ready for your purchasing in CD, gatefold LP and digital download formats. Spend your money. 

Purchase from the VHF site, Midheaven, Boomcat or Amazon

Two early reviews --

Okay I’ll admit it; this wasn’t what I was expecting from Cian Nugent’s debut album ‘proper’. I’ve heard his music before, and while he can clearly play guitar better than most pretenders to the Takoma throne, I’m getting somewhat bored with the seemingly endless stream of Fahey-esque guitarists out there. Well thank goodness that ‘Doubles’ is so much more than that as Nugent uses the Fahey/Rose axis as merely a jumping off point, and like James Blackshaw has managed to come up with something gorgeous out of the ashes. The first piece begins simply enough, but as it progresses we’re greeted by the buzzing of analogue synthesizers which build into a queasy drone. The flip is where it’s at for me though; and here Nugent is joined by a percussionist and a few other players who flesh out his writing into epic proportions, reminding me of Jim O’Rourke at his best. Seriously good stuff, don’t sleep on this one!-- Boomcat  

We first heard from Cian Nugent on the Robbie Basho tribute We Are All One In The Sun, but hadn't heard much since, which makes sense seeing that as far as we can tell, this is the first readily available full length from this Irish guitarist. Who, as you might imagine, just from having taken part in that Basho tribute, whether you actually heard it or not, is another purveyor of modern Appalachia, carrying on the tradition of Fahey, Basho and Kottke, a la James Blackshaw, Ilyas Ahmed, Jack Rose, Glenn Jones, Marisa Anderson, and the 20 minute opening track here positions Nugent well within that pantheon, with his own take on the sound, dark, and tense, clear and crystalline, with lots of droning notes, subtle overtones, less melodic than many of his contemporaries and more textural, although as the track progresses, Nugent's fingerpicking becomes more elaborate, and a more traditional Appalachia surfaces within his dark droney tones, his sound dynamic and varied, lots of ebb and flow, and then close to the end, the sound seems to expand a hundredfold, with an out of nowhere swarm of layered drones, which add a whole other dimension to the piece.
         The second track starts out similarly, albeit a bit more traditionally, until the band kicks in, yep, the band, a full band, drums, strings, horns, with Nugent taking on organ duty as well, the sound blossoming into something more than old timey Appalachia worship, the sound spare and sparse, again very dynamic, until about three minutes in, when the song seems to coalesce into a sort of Appalachia flecked chamber pop, but only for a few minutes, the song, also quite epic at 24+ minutes takes lots of twists and turns, slipping back into something more skeletal and darkly brooding, then dark and cacophonous, droney and softly psychedelic, then hushed and barely there, before a bit more chamber pop, with a slow build to something intense and slightly cacophonous, and then finally, a slow, lush, horn flecked steel string final movement. So lovely, fans of modern guitar music and classic "American primitive" (especially both) would do well to check this out. 
-- Aquarius Records

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Grayson Currin over at IFC has premiered my new music video for an excerpt from Sixes & Sevens from the upcoming Doubles. Video directed by Ireland's finest Dylan Phillips of The Dinah Brand. Interview and feature here

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Sixes & Sevens from my upcoming album Doubles is up for streaming on the NPR site at the moment. Click on the picture below for the link.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Cian Nugent - Doubles (VHF Records)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Cian Nugent & Micah Blue Smaldone World Tour of London, Paris, Marseilles, Madrid, Manchester, Coventry, Birmingham & Copenhagen.

This Friday Micah and I set sail for a set of shows around the United States of Europe. Below are the dates. Come along and buy us local delicacies!

March 18
Café Oto
18-22 Ashwin St
E8 3DL
8pm £6

March 19
Bar le 61
3, rue de l'Oise
Paris 19

March 20
44 Rue des Bon Enfants
6.30pm €3/6

21 Mar
La Casa de los Jacintos
Calle Arganzuela 11
28005 Madrid
22pm 8€

March 22
Islington Mill
James Street
M3 5HW
8pm £9
+ Rhys Chatham Guitar Trio

March 23
Taylor John’s House
Coal Vaults
Canal Basin
8pm £5

March 24
Hare & Hounds
High Street
Kings Heath
B14 7JZ
7.30pm £7

March 25
Musikcaféen, Huset i Magstræde
Rådhusstræde 13
8pm 60KR

March 26
Underwood Ink
Ryesgade 30 A
2200 Copenhagen

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Foxy Digitalis Interview

Click my mug for words what came out it.
Photo: Cait Fahey

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sixes & Sevens

An excerpt of "Sixes & Sevens" from "Doubles": coming to a turntable, CD player, MP3 player or computer near your ears this April.

  Sixes & Sevens (excerpt) by Cian Nugent

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nugent Family Band

The Joinery, February 2011. Photo: Jamie Farrell

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


This Fry-day presents you with the unique opportunity to not only wipe out some of your own tall cool ones and also hear the finest music in Ireland. What more do you want?!

(Campbell Kneale, Birchville Cat Motel, Black Boned Angel)

The Joinery, Stoneybatter, Dublin, The World.
8 30 pm, 10 euro