Ad Vanderveen – Denver Nevada

Denver Nevada is a place that is not real, it’s made up. But it is real in the sense that it’s an anagram for Ad Vanderveen. As for Still Life; all meanings of the term can apply in this case.

Desolation, serenity; scenes like in a David Lynch movie or an Edward Hopper painting come to mind when listening to the singer-songwriter’s new album. Existential themes such as solitude, longing and resignation are expressed throughout the lyrics. But the album is also about the inexplicable and unstoppable drive and necessity to keep writing and creating.

Vanderveen can be counted among the most prolific songwriters in the new folk and roots genre, with over 30 albums to his name since the early 90s. As a person and a musicians, musician Ad is mostly geared towards growth and development and he tends to keep away from matters not involving music or spirituality. Dealing with  issues like name, fame and big sales numbers have never been one of his priorities. Among music lovers and critics, colleagues and peers however, he is highly regarded as a songwriter and musician; none other than Van Morrison, after hearing Ad’s album Worlds Within, personally invited him as his opening act in July 2017.

Another one of Vanderveen’s long-time favorites, John Gorka, joins him on the albums lead track to duet on “Another Song”. Denver Nevada strikes a certain melancholy atmosphere and mood that underscore the poems and lyrics at the core of the songs. The style can best be described as contemporary folk with influences of rock, jazz and classical. The songs and instrumentation are based around acoustic guitar and vocal; accompanied by piano, electric guitar, bass, percussion/drums, harmony vocals and augmented by strings and horns.

Ad’s previous album Worlds Within was hailed as a ‘classic’ by roots-americana critics and considered to be one of his best works. Fortunately the well has not run dry yet and agrees that the sequel Denver Nevada could top the former one, journeying further and deeper into new territory and changing soundscapes. Ad Vanderveen keeps challenging both himself and his roots music audience.

01. Another Song
02. Big Old Lonely Feeling
03. Backroads of Hope
04. Castles
05. Denver Nevada
06. Ruminations
07. Wooden Shoes, Wooden Heart ,Wouldn’t Listen
08. Blackbird Singing a Blue Note
09. In The Name Of Rock ‘n’ Roll
10. My Sweet Crushed Angel
11. Afterthought – Groveling Grandeur

Artist Web Link:

AD VANDERVEEN – Presents Of The Past/Requests Revisited (Blue Rose BLUDP0658)

AD VANDERVEEN Presents Of The Past Requests Revisited

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.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website:

‘Blues So Bad’: