Ad Vanderveen’s penchant for pursuing rugged Americana has made him a reliable journeyman musician for the better part of the past 15 years, although his fame on this side of the Atlantic is far from assured. Nevertheless, the aptly titled Driven by a Dream offers ample reason why he deserves wider recognition. Songs such as “Time Has Told,” “So Happy I Could Cry” and “Will and Testament” reflect lessons well learned from the likes of the Band, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, and other revered icons who are well skilled at dictating dark, dense narratives that resonate thoroughly even the first time around. Indeed, Vanderveen’s original material sounds like they’re standards, and when he actually tackles a tune that’s thoroughly well known — Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” the sole cover included here — he makes it sound as if it’s his own as well. The common bond throughout is Vanderveen’s ability to connect with both the subject matter and with those giving a listen, creating an indelible bond that finds these songs essential listening. And naturally, that’s reason enough to make this, not to mention each of his albums, worthy of recommendation. A thorough recommendation that is.
By Lee Zimmerman – No Depression, October 2012.