MONMOUTH — Seamus Egan has been performing and writing music for decades — as a teen prodigy, composer and as band leader for the Irish-American band Solas for more than 20 years.
He plays multiple instruments, including the Irish flute, tenor banjo, guitar, mandolin and tin whistle.
The Seamus Egan Project is his first solo effort since Solas, which last toured in 2017.
“It’s the first album under my own name in 24 years,” Egan said. “Solas became a full-time job. With the band going on break though, I had time to do some stuff I was putting off. I’m really enjoying it.”
Egan is always writing music, he said, though some of it didn’t make sense for Solis to play.
“I’d squirrel those away in a drawer,” Egan said. “That drawer gets pretty full.”
For the Seamus Egan Project, he wrote new music and revisited “the stuff that was sitting around.”
“You’re able to approach it in a different way than with the rules you have when you’re in a band,” he said.
Egan was able to approach the music with an open mind and without expectation, he said.
“I felt very fortunate and grateful to have time to let that process unfold without too much pressure,” Egan said. “It became what it wanted to be.”
Working on the new album was a learning experience.
“I found myself fighting the urge to do the familiar,” Egan said. “We’re so wired to want to go to the familiar. This album is conscious of trying not to do that.”
Though Egan knows people will likely listen his music on different platforms, he made “Early Bright” in the tradition of an album.
“In some ways I’m hardwired to appreciate the idea of an album that it kind of brings you along,” he said. “I wasn’t sure how any of this was going to hang together. We wrote and recorded other things we didn’t end up using. However tenuous, you recognize pieces connected to another piece.”
However people listen to it, he hopes they’re going to get something out of it.
As for the live performance on Saturday, Egan said there are some “contemplative moments and moments that will make you get up and want to get your groove on.”
Most of all, he hopes that the performance will “be a little bit of a respite from all the turmoil from the other side of the doors. That can’t be underestimated — the value of being able to enter into another little realm for an amount of time.”
In Monmouth, Egan will perform with Owen Marshall, Yann Falquet, and Mia Bertelli as part of the Smith Fine Arts Series at 7:30 p.m. on March 14 at Rice Auditorium, Western Oregon University.
Admission: free to WOU students with ID; $25 for adults and $11 for non-WOU students. More information: wou.edu/smith.