The Dutch singer-songwriter has been making music for some 40 years, but (while he’s collaborated with both Iain Matthews and Eliza Gilkyson) I’m willing to bet most out there have never heard of him. That’s their loss, since, possessed of a warm and wearied voice and, at times, variously recalling Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot, he’s an engaging musical presence, his music embracing folk, blues and country.
This is a two disc set, the second of which offers a quick catch-up opportunity with new versions of fan favourites, many of which are now no longer available on disc. As such, there’s eleven tracks, ranging from the midtempo, roots rocker ‘First Feeling’ and the violin-stained melancholy of ‘Anchor’ and piano ballad ‘The Moment That Matters’ through the organ and violin backed ‘Driftwood’ port in a storm tale of damaged goods, the spooked, moody Young-like ‘Blues So Bad’ and ‘Soul Power’ with its fierce electric guitars before ending with the near twenty minute predominantly instrumental jazzy-blues jam workout ‘Water Under The Bridge’.
Meanwhile, over on the first disc, you get a 10-strong collection of new material that hews to a more consistently vintage rootsy troubadour feel, opening with Vanderveen, backed by a simple slide and acoustic guitar, speaking the lyrics to ‘Welcome To My Kitchen’ in a manner strikingly reminiscent of Chip Taylor, a comparison that also extends to the organ-backed ‘Well That Never Runs Dry’ and the narrative snapshots of the seven minute ‘Small Time Real Life Stories’ with its call for tolerance, empathy and understanding.
Aside from the accordion-coloured, Van-Morrison referencing ‘Music Waiting For Words’ has a Cajun waltzing tempo and, despite its tragic tale of a drowned woman, ‘Another Life’ which has a kind of Guy Clark jauntiness to it, a laid back vibe and reflective mood is sustained throughout. ‘Presents Of The Past’ warmly suggests a meeting between Townes and Don Williams while the gently lapping ‘The Future Has Changed’ (“I’m gonna burn all these love letters…that only show myself to me through someone else’s fears”) and closing fingerpicked farewell spoken elegy ‘Sister’ are particular highlights. I can’t see this somehow actually bringing him to a wider audience beyond his established loyal fan base, but if it prompts only a few curious new ears to check him out, it’ll have done its job.
Artist’s website: http://advanderveen.com/
‘Blues So Bad’:
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