21st February 2023

Single review: Joe Doonan releases new track ‘On My Mind’

Singer-songwriter Joe Doonan takes a sincere, emotional approach on his latest single
Single review: Joe Doonan releases new track ‘On My Mind’
Photo: Joe Doonan by Declan Creffield @declancreffiell

Often found performing at The Whiskey Jar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Liverpool based singer-songwriter Joe Doonan releases his new heartfelt single ‘On My Mind’.  This is Joe’s first release since his two track single ‘Dancing In Paradise’ in 2021.

Joe explains his musical style as emotive storytelling, battling through perspectives of love and loss; he draws on the inspiration of others who do the same, such as Paolo Nutini and Foy Vance. Listening to this new single you can certainly pick out flavours of these artists, yet Joe’s personal and intimate approach to songwriting remains especially apparent. The warm nature of the artwork accompanying the single is made ever more special by the fact that its artist is Joe’s dad, Ged Doonan.

Photo: Joe Doonan – ‘On My Mind’ Official Single Artwork

Throughout ‘On My Mind’, fingerpicked acoustic guitar coupled with Doonan’s haunting and husky textured vocals make up the backbone of the track’s soundscape. Moreover, some understated percussion and tasteful string accompaniment help to construct the undoubtedly nostalgic and heart wrenching atmosphere that is especially prevalent here.

Doonan’s carefully sparse choice of instrumentation complements the honesty of his lyrics. We hear Joe describing the loss of a childhood friend, pondering whether they were ever able to do all the things they dreamt they would. He finishes the track with “Daniel, you’ll always be on my mind” over a lone piano chord, pre-empting a final ‘home’ chord that never arrives. Not allowing the music to feel closed and finished seems to deliberately symbolise the premature loss of his friend.

It is near impossible not to get sucked into the melancholic and moving nature of the track, and what Joe does so well is ensure that the music does not deviate from his message; ‘On My Mind’ is methodically and meticulously composed to tap into your emotions.

The melody line is not particularly complicated, though any extra embellishments would likely obstruct the calmness and unfeigned sentiment that flow through the track. The general pulse is stately and the harmony doesn’t deviate from Joe’s methodical approach discussed above. What is also notably pleasing is the subtle yet enriching vocal harmonies that support the chorus. Personally, I find vocal harmonies often enhance a track tenfold, adding a specific degree of warmth that is difficult to achieve otherwise, and ‘On My Mind’ delivers this perfectly.

Prior to this single, Joe Doonan worked with producer Dom Bennison and Pigeon Detectives producer Andy Hawkins in releasing ‘Dancing In Paradise’ and ‘Beginning At Every End’. As of late, Joe has been back in the studio recording a bunch of singles ready for 2023. I look forward to hearing the new stories and emotional avenues Joe chooses to go down as the year unfolds.


You can find the most up-to-date information on Joe Doonan here, and you can listen to ‘On My Mind’ below.

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