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IVAN DREVER - What You Hear

IVAN DREVER - What You Hear
Orcadian Recordings ORCCD007

Ivan Drever, for those who don’t already know, is a singer, guitarist and songwriter from Orkney.  He’s an avid recording artist and has bags of musical experience, having worked with Duncan Chisholm, Knowe O’Deil, Wolfstone and The Californian Dance Company “Celtic Fusion” to name a few things.  Ivan lives in Norway but tours extensively in Europe, the UK, the USA and Russia.

When he plays solo, it’s just him and his guitar, and that is what we have on this album, What You Hear. It came to me on a really bad day.  I’d literally woken up shouting from an angry dream, grudgingly got up, stalked through the house, leered dangerously at my cat getting in the way, got the envelope and thought…this better be good!

I stuck the CD in the player… and melted. It is absolutely devoid of pretence; just a man singing what he feels.  It is recorded so naturally I could close my eyes and pretend he was in the room with me. This is proper folk music, with those sweet indescribable Northern accents that make you want to curl up to a fireplace you don’t have.  There are also hints of a heart for country music and that sound of longing that comes from being on the road most of your life.

The first track, The Fisherman, saved my day (and possibly my cat) - careful and echo-y, stirring lovely faraway memories that you can almost touch. Sina’s Tune is a really lovely lullaby. The others are a smooth exercise in relaxation. DADGAD tunes often lose me after a bar and a half, but these unravel the knots in my back. The muses of Angelina and Sweet Katarina must be some kind of special ladies.

This album breathes life experience in both bittersweet and joyful memories.  (And somewhere on it there’s another pleasant surprise as well, but I’m not telling!)

I love this; it’s music from the heart. It is not staggering, not meant to bowl you over, there are no explosions, but it stirs up a curiosity for the man himself.  The lyrics are mostly Ivan’s own and you can hear his very personality coming through - a true singer-songwriter.  But it’s more than the “woe is me and my weary life” you often hear these days. Someone once said: “when writing songs, don’t whine and don’t preach, tell the story…”  That’s what Ivan Drever does best. What You Hear is what you get.

Buy this album if you’re feeling blue. Buy it if you’re happy. It’ll do you good. It did me. Thanks Ivan.

Annemarie de Bie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 107 of The Living Tradition magazine.