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Formerly based in Denver and now living in Nashville, Tennessee, Riley Thompson’s creation of music began around the age of 16. Having been writing songs in his early teens, producing his work has just begun under the name KIRWAN.

Thompson is not a stranger to creating music, however. Being a part of the Fort Collins punk band Bitter Suns from his late teens until the age of 21, the disbanding of the trio drove him to explore the performing of other genres of music.

Thompson took advantage of the band’s demobilization to focus on his own work. Steering away from the punk genre, Thompson describes KIRWAN as “folk at its core, with a kind of dreamy atmosphere to it.”

Having had the pleasure of listening to KIRWAN’s first single, titled Better Days, the tranquility of the song is just that: calming, and yet reflective of difficult times. The slow strumming of an electric guitar followed by harmonizing vocals sets up the introduction to the song. This then bleeds into an acoustic guitar for the remainder of it. The harmonizing vocRiley Thompson on Musical Project KIRWANals at the start peak through and amplify during pauses within the main vocals, creating a placid feeling.

The KIRWAN musical project is driven by Thompson’s feelings, giving his songs threads of personal touch within each new track. In a literal sense, Thompson’s creative process begins with an acoustic guitar accompanying another idea, then adding additional layers to his music. 

“My songs are just about however I’m feeling. I know that sounds vague, but I want this project to be super personal and cathartic more than anything,” Thompson told OUT FRONT.

You can find Thompson mainly active on Instagram under the handle @kirwan.tn. Better Days is set to be released on May 26 on all major music streaming platforms, and it’s worth an ear.

“Furthermore, I would like to add, I know this is for a queer publication; I personally am not LGBTQ, but am always in full support, and KIRWAN is for anybody as long as you’re not a hateful piece of sh*t.”