In the realm of modern folk rock, two men stand as pillars influencing the generations who follow. Bob Dylan took the influence of Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams and through the magical transformation of the Greenwich Village stages, made it speak to millions of young adults grasping for sense in senseless times.
Neil Young rose to fame riding a wave of psychedelia with Buffalo Springfield operating out of L.A.’s famous Laurel Canyon. Yet, in his formative years on the Canadian Great Plains, Young drew a lot from Dylan’s early folk masterpieces. Once the great wave of the ’60s broke, Young would turn hard to folk in the ’70s writing some of his most enduring classics.
Today, there is a great deal of that DNA in any given performer that takes up the acoustic guitar to bare their soul.
Amsterdam-based Ad Vanderveen may have been born thousands of miles from Ohio or Ontario, Minnesota or Manhattan but the man has the lineage of these folk troubadours in his blood. This must have something to do with his Canadian family. On his latest record Release, Vanderveen powerfully and effectively channels the two greats, blending their sonic traits with his own worldly personality to create an album that hits all the right notes of nostalgia, reflection, love, and sense of home that a great folk record should.
This is an artist who studied under the best in his field and with that same energy, produced a welcoming, wistful, and wise entry in the tradition of great folk music.
Candle To You comes on the heels of the internationally acclaimed 2021 album Release. It offers ten new songs with a distinct sonic signature and atmosphere that is slightly different from Vanderveen’s other work.
AV on Candle To You: “The title-track can be considered a humble dedication to both men mentioned above, as well as some other heroes who came before. A tribute while still alive, if you will. As a child of the sixties, growing up in the second line of that revolutionary generation, I see myself as a carrier of the same flame. I’m grateful to see those greats in the frontline still ahead out there today.”
“While some songs are typically acoustic guitar based, a lot of this album was written on the mandola – the mandolin’s older sister,” the singer further explains.”Exploring this instrument led to new horizons and different harmonic settings, ones that seem to emphasize the spaciousness and fluidity in my music.”
Add to that some joyful reunions with old friends on pedal steel, violin/viola, electric guitar, bass and drums/percussion, and harmony vocals and the result is a natural, open and spontaneous sounding production that marks a sense of renewal within the singer-songwriter’s oeuvre.
As said above, music never comes out of nowhere and is always influenced and inspired by those who came before, but lyrics are something else and Ad Vanderveen very much has his own story to tell. It’s a story of a lifelong search that has a sense of home running through it. One can suspect that over the years he has been closing in on something, although it’s not spelled out literally what that is. It’s a quest of the spirit that holds a promise of finding and coming home, a feeling that many – consciously or subconsciously – may relate to.
The poetry always central to Vanderveen’s work often hints at a bigger picture, expressed through every day events and language, with subjects relevant in any grown-up’s life like; love on individual and universal levels, longing, loss, transience, and acceptance.
With: Ad Vanderveen: vocal, guitars, mandola, harmonica, footstomp / Kersten de Ligny: harmony vocal / Jan Erik Hoeve: pedal steel / Neil James Morrison: violin, viola / Pete Fisher: bass, percussion / Michael Kay: drums, percussion / Simon Moore: keyboards / Philip Kroonenberg : guest vocal on 3
1 Do What You Love 2 Following The Wind 3 Over Time 4 Candle To You 5 Last Venture 6 All The Way Thing 7 Window In The Rain 8 Miss That World 9 Exit Inside 10 Air Guitar