Release recensie Nederlands Dagblad

Ad Vanderveen, geboren in Nederland, maar met de roots in Canada, heeft een nieuw album gemaakt en dat is wederom verbazingwekkend. Hoe die man het toch iedere keer weer voor elkaar krijgt om subtiele, troostrijke, maar nooit kwezelige liedjes te schrijven en uit te voeren, met gitaar en hulp van bekenden op toetsen, bas en soms viool.

Ook nu weer. De plaat is bijzonder omdat die een beetje is opgehangen aan zijn jeugd, met leuke zwart wit fotootjes, ook de recente afbeeldingen zijn zo afgedrukt, en de songs reflecteren op vroeger in het perspectief van nu. Het slotnummer ‘Thank You’ is een mooie ode aan zijn moeder, ‘liefdevol, maar van weinig woorden en wat stug’. De zoon troost haar op haar sterfbed, zegt dat ze echt goed heeft gedaan en niet beschaamd of bang hoeft te wezen. Maar hij vergeet twee kernwoorden die veel mensen vergeten bij juist de anderen bij wie ze al vanzelfsprekend waren: ‘Dank je’.

Hij verwoordt het afscheid nog veel mooier in ‘One Last Song’: bij leven was het, met een knipoog naar een uitspraak van Friedrich Nietzsche: ‘wat je niet doodt, maakt je sterker’. Nu zijn bril en gebit zinloos geworden, in een wereld waar je niet eens meer hoeft te ademen. Moeders geest en liefde leven door in een zwervende zoon met gitaar die het houden van ook als opdracht ziet. Integer, mooi verwoord en geweldig sfeervol muzikaal gearrangeerd.

+ subliem, troostrijk+ bijna koppig bescheiden

door Herman Veenhof

Concert Registration CD

Ad Vanderveen Quartet – Concert Registration 

A limited edition live CD is available of the July 4th AV Quartet concert at Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht.

It’s an authorized bootleg simply titled Concert Registration – recorded the classical way with mics capturing the hall acoustics. The digipack contains the full repertoire of 16 songs played and clocks in at 73 minutes. 

No downloads, no streaming, just a limited pressing for those missing the live music experience.

Available now, orders via email: 


1 Release

2 One Last Song

3 Wildfire

4 Fickle Mind

5 I Was Hank Williams

6 Angel Of Death

7 Denver Nevada

8 Lonely Family

9 Man Of Few Words

10 Nothing But A Dream

11 Ol’56

12 All The Waiting

13 Mystery

14 If I Needed You

15 Following The wind

16 Melancholy Blues

Liner notes:

After a year and a half of mostly playing at home, writing and recording 2 albums, and doing only occasional shows during the pandemic isolation, our world seemed ready to slowly open up again in the summer of 2021.

On July 4 we set out to do 2 shows of 2 sets each for different audiences at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht – in Hertz, a concert hall acoustically designed for classical, mostly chamber music. 

The Quartet – consisting of Kersten de Ligny on vocals, autoharp, percussion / Timon van Heerdt on bass / Jan Erik Hoeve on pedal steel and banjo, and myself on vocal, guitar, mandola, harmonica, footstomp– played in an intimate setting for only 50 people at a time.

This recording was made the classical way, only using the microphones capturing the hall acoustics. No close individual close miking, except from the delicately amplified stage sound filling the house. The result is an ambient registration and a natural, airy atmosphere just like the audience and the band heard it that night. 

Playing a lot of new material, featuring songs from the current album ‘Release’, it felt like a release indeed to share music in the moment and interact with an audience again.

We decided to line up the complete repertoire that was played as a full concert registration and hope  it will be a welcome item in these times of live music scarcity.

AV, July 2021.

Interview For Folk’s Sake

Though born in Holland, Ad Vanderveen has Canadian parentage. It shows through in his musical influences—one can trace touches of Neil Young or Jackson Browne in the strum of Vanderveen’s guitar, or in his earnest croon. He’s got a rich career to show for his chops, too, having been working at it as a solo artist since the early 90s. He’s shared the stage with a swath of noteworthy performers, to boot, from Eliza Gilkyson, to the late, great David Olney, and Van Morrison.

Vanderveen’s latest, Release, sees the Dutch singer-songwriter navigating pristine, organic production, finding beauty in sparse acoustic settings. As his musical stylings have changed, so has he—with his goals, his outlook, and who he is as a person. For Folk’s Sake is privileged to have him join us as the latest in our ongoing ‘FFS 5’ series.

Please tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you get started in music? Any defining moments along the path to present day?

I’m from the Amsterdam area in The Netherlands and was drawn into music in the 60s. As for so many, the sounds and impact of rock’n’roll were life-changing to me. British bands at first, later crossing over to American music, discovering singer-songwriter stuff, and then digging back into the roots where I feel my music belongs. I’ve often wondered about geography and musical roots, the music that comes out of me has more of a connection to the Canadian side of my family. Also a lot of my favorites are from there.

I’ve been playing in many bands before finding my own voice as a singer-songwriter in the early 90s. Songs are what’s always driven me. Writing and playing the guitar are a necessity and seem to go on throughout my life. It made me have to become a singer too, although reluctant at first. I wouldn’t play a center stage role if the songs weren’t commanding it.

As an artist, how do you define success?

That has been a changing process…success in any case is a very fleeting and relative thing that you can’t really measure. Unless you want to judge by just numbers – but even then, I’ve witnessed people feel like losers because they sold ‘only’ 7 million cd copies.

I have an old friend I hadn’t seen for 40 years who was in the record business, stoking the star making machinery, in Joni Mitchell’s words. He asked me: how has it been, a life in music? I answered: well, not a success story exactly but…what do you mean, he interrupted, you did it, you still do it, that’s what I call success! That really stuck with me.

A lot of what people call success is actually a heavy burden. I’ve had a peek into Van Morrison’s life once when he had invited me to open a show for him. I can’t say I envied him, it felt like his own machinery just weighed him down, having so much to live up to and to control. Compared to that I travel light, no one to answer to, free to do just what I want. Of course that can be a lonely path too, there’s always a tradeoff.

What do you find your greatest struggle to be when it comes to the music business?

Business? I don’t see it as a business, I just concentrate on the music side of things. I know there’s people hovering around it that can make it go places but it’s such a fickle world that I can’t keep my attention in it. The hardest thing is when you have expectations of people actually living up to their words and promises, that can be very disappointing and this scene is a good therapy to let go of that. And I mean that as a good thing actually, from a human point of view. It’s a good lesson to learn to create, work and give, without expectations or calculation of getting something in return. That’s where you find the true motive and purity.

What do you think is the most realistic goal you can achieve as an artist and as a band? What do you hope to achieve?

That ties in with the success question a bit – I hope to be able to continue doing what I do and sharing it with people, regardless of their numbers. As long as I can make a modest living , I’m happy.

Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?

Meditation, walking, reading, sauna, keeping myself and my instruments in good condition.

By: Jonathan Frahm

Release review in The Big Takeover-US

Soulful, old-fashioned country folk singer Ad Vanderveen has returned with his newest album Release, which marks a big step up in production and his abilities as a songwriter, definitively crystallizing a style and aesthetic that stands out in a modern era. Vanderveen’s vocals are reminiscent of Neil Young, and Release could have easily found a comfortable home in the 70s among other rootsy folk records by Young, Bob Dylan, and Van Morrison. The production is more restrained, befitting the style, but like the sound of Harvest or Blood on the Tracks that doesn’t preclude a Phil Spector sensibility of lush strings and layered instrumentation as long as the result is organic.

The album, along with just about every song on it, begins unassumingly at first. Each track opens simply with guitar before the drums, slide guitar, strings, backing vocals, and keyboards all build around it like a room slowly filling up. The effect, especially on some of the most emotionally killer songs like “One Last Song” and “Nothing But A Dream” causes the listener to be caught off guard by the true subtle power and raw strength of the songs here. The human frailties present, including melancholy, regret, nostalgia, disappointment, and quiet contentment, aren’t overwhelming—in fact, nothing that Vanderveen does begs to be noticed. Rather, they stir just under the surface like true lived experience, and Release is one the truest, most mature accounts in contemporary folk of what it means to struggle, to persevere, or to just get by.

By Cody Conrad-The Big Takeover, US

Release review in Short and Sweet NYC + LA-US

We are in the hands of a well-reasoned production from the get-go on Amsterdam-based folk artist Ad Vanderveen’s new ten song, Release. Vanderveen produces here with Pete Fisher, who also plays bass, and with Michael Kay’s drums adding a nice marching snare snap, Kersten de Ligny a sweet harmony, a second electric and harmonica, and Vanderveen’s plucked acoustic laying underneath his delicate pipes, the title-track opens us well into this modern folks world.

I like the run-together lyric and the feeling that things might just break apart at any moment on “Dared To Dream.” But, again, the specific added atmospheric touches of electric and drums, bass, and what sounds like banjo add just the right color to this poignant-wish-of-a-song, about halfway in. When Ligny harmonizes during the bridge, the listener is all-in.

Again, Vanderveen employees that quick singing over the verse lyrics on the slow groovy “Garden Of Home,” probably the most commercial of tunes here. This one mixes all the best elements presented on Release. “Ol’ 56” is a wry folk musician story song with some perfectly plucked acoustic rhythm and lead while, “Thank you,” the last tune, is another soft song story song, featuring more perfect second guitar work and Vanderveen mostly talking the lyric (there are some sweet harmonies with Ligny plus a laid-back beat on the chorus). It all brings things together in a nice neat circle for this well-rendered modern folk album.

By Ralph Greco-Short and Sweet NYC + LA, US

Release review Vinyl Chapters-US

Ad Vanderveen provides a folk-laden sound with album, Release, taking on topics of love, life, loss and personal growth.

Amsterdam-based contemporary folk singer-songwriter Ad Vanderveen really knows how to structure a song so it comes alive. This skill comes with years of song-writing which is shown off in album, Release. Pretty stripped back but still not afraid to use a few layers to it’s advantage, the album highlights all of Vanderveen’s skills, from subtle flows to thoughtful lyrics to great melodies.

Starting with album-titled track Release, we’re straight away thrown into Vanderveen’s warm and emotive world of acoustic guitars amongst a settled, folk sound. Drums and a gentle electric guitar underbelly are slowly added as the singer’s vocals grow into the track and provide lyrics of relation with well-crafted arrangements. It’s a strong opener that sits well amongst a sparse atmosphere. 

Following track One Last Song delves into the Americana-based folk atmosphere even more, calling on the rhythms and subtle fluctuations of greats like Dylan or Neil Young to bring alive the track’s essence. Its 5-minute run time is totally needed to build up the sound which gradually evolves with female backing vocals and a beautifully thought-out structure.

As we get further into the album you begin to realise how good Vanderveeens songwriting actually is, as lyrics take on more of the heavy lifting amongst more settled guitar rhythms. Wildfire builds a lovely story that twists and unfolds in front of your eyes (“The heat’s still on you smell it in the air, invisible pain you feel it everywhere”). Nothing But A Dream builds on the warm and inviting gruff vocals playing against harmonica and sliding guitar. 

As we approach the end of the record it feels as though Vanderveen loosens up a little to have a bit more fun. The lovely ‘ditty’ Ol’ 56 compares old guitars to the singer’s life (“Got an old guitar from the year I was born, sounds like a dream and it’s pretty well worn”), whereas closer Thank You almost builds on a Johnny Cash essence as Vanderveen looks back on relationships he’s had and relationships he’s lost in a caring and endearing way. 

Release from Ad Vanderveen is a beautifully thought out record that pulls on the heartstrings when necessary, but overall is a warm and inviting listen. His vocals are able to portray the emotion in the lyrics with ease and because of his years of songwriting, he knows when a track needs to hold back or let loose a little. A lovely listen.

Score: 4/5

Release review

Amsterdam-based contemporary folk singer-songwriter Ad Vanderveen recently dropped his new album, Release.

Born in Hilversum, Holland, much of his family is Canadian. Savors of Canada pervade Vanderveen’s sound, developed over time playing in many bands, followed by going solo in the ‘90s. With more than 20 solo CDs, as well as several side projects, he’s worked with big names such as Al Kooper, Al Perkins, Leland Sklar, Herman Brood, Flaco Jiminez, Iain Matthews, Eliza Gilkyson, Eric Anderson, John Gorka, and David Olney.

After hearing Vanderveen’s 2017 album, Worlds Within, Van Morrison invited Vanderveen to open for him, which Vanderveen accepted.

Encompassing 10-tracks, Release starts off with the title track, opening on measured darkly gleaming guitar colors, low-slung and resonant. Vanderveen’s plush tenor imbues the lyrics with passionate flavors, at once expressive and easy-to-listen-to. A lustrous female voice joins him in harmony, adding luminous hues.

Highlights include “One Last Song,” flavored by Vanderveen’s deliciously rasping tones, reminiscent of Neil Young, only with creamier textures. A drawling steel guitar blends with the bray of a harmonica, giving the tune aromas of melancholic nostalgia.

“Wildfire” rolls out on luscious undulations of sensuous folk tangs as layers of Americana-lace coloration inject the harmonics with sinuous surfaces. “Nothing But A Dream” flows the lush textures of a steel guitar, acoustic guitar, and a softly crying harmonica, conjuring up memories of early Bob Dylan.

The intro to “Garden of Home” ripples with oozing, drifting sparkles of color. The indulgent melody streams smoothly, while crystalline harmonies give the lyrics a radiant dimension. “Ol’ 56” features Vanderveen’s scratchy, country-flavored timbres, imbuing the song with stripped-down suggestions of cultural dislocation, as if going back to Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl.

The last track, “Thank You,” travels on Vanderveen’s spoken words riding a mellow guitar and sparkling piano. As his voice takes on melodic essence, the lyrics of the song express the simple value and substance of two words – “thank you goes a long, long way.”

With Release, Ad Vanderveen bestows on listeners the persuasive milieu of modern folk music, simultaneously alluring and momentous.

Randall Radic, – US

Release review Bluestown-NL

Singer-songwriter-gitarist Ad Vanderveen is geboren op 21 september 1956 in Hilversum. Zijn muzikale ster is de afgelopen decennia hoog gestegen in Europa en de VS en zijn muziek is stevig geworteld in de Americana. Dit heeft wellicht te maken met zijn Canadese roots omdat zijn halve familie de Canadese nationaliteit heeft. Vanaf zijn 14e speelt hij al in R&R bandjes. Muzikaal is Vanderveen beïnvloed door o.a. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, John Lennon en Townes van Zandt 

Begin jaren ’80 van de vorige eeuw richt hij zijn eigen band Personnel op. Hun debuutalbum ‘On Strike’ verschijnt in 1983. Op hun in 1992 in Nashville, Tennessee, opgenomen album ‘Continuing Stories’ spelen o.a. Al Kooper, Flaco Jimenez en Al Perkins mee.

Begin jaren ’90 verlaat Vanderveen Personnel en start een succesvolle solocarrière.  Vanderveen is zeer productief want jaarlijks verschijnen er nieuwe albums van hem. “Zolang de nummers blijven komen blijf ik doorgaan, waarschijnlijk stop ik als ze niet meer komen”, aldus Vanderveen. 

Deze maand verschijnt zijn nieuwe album ‘Release’, de opvolger  van het vorig jaar verschenen album ‘Treasure Keepers’. De tien nieuwe songs zijn opgebouwd rond de zang en de akoestische gitaar van Ad Vanderveen. De productie is in handen van hemzelf en Pete Fisher.

Het album opent met het titelnummer Release. Warme akoestische gitaarklanken, harmonie vocalen in het refrein, strings en mondharp in de beste traditie van Neil Young.

Na het ingetogen One Last Song komt in het prachtige en sfeervol geïnstrumenteerde Always The Next de geest van Bob Dylan voorbij. De harmonie vocals zijn weer fijn in het rustige Dared To Dream, waarna het tempo in Wildfire omhoog gaat met slide en een ‘klagende’ mondharp.

De prachtige ballad Fickle Mind is een van de pareltjes van het album en in het rustige Nothing But A Dream  bewijst Vanderveen nogmaals dat hij in dit genre een uitstekende zanger is.

De harmonievocalen van Kersten de Ligny zijn weer heerlijk in Garden Of Home. Mooi ook de tinkelende pianoklanken. Ol ’56 met banjo is Dylan-achtig en in het slotnummer Thank You zijn invloeden van Townes van Zandt te horen.

Release is een warm Americana album van grote klasse zoals we van Ad Vanderveen gewend zijn. Hopelijk blijven zijn nummers komen en gaat hij nog lang door zodat we nog veel meer moois kunnen verwachten. Gerrit Schinkel – Bluestown

Release review Johnny’s Garden-NL

Ad Vanderveen is volgens mij de meest productieve artiest die we rijk zijn. Met een zekere regelmaat verschijnen albums van zijn hand, en doorgaans niet de minste bovendien. Ik volg hem niet nadrukkelijk, terwijl ik dat zou moeten doen, want teleurstellen doet hij niet.

Op Release maakt Ad een onverminderd geïnspireerde indruk. Niet vanwege een plezierige gebeurtenis helaas. Ik las dat Ads moeder vorige jaar is overleden. Eén van die ingrijpende kwesties waarbij het alledaagse ineens naar de achtergrond verdwijnt. De dood van iemand die je lief is doet je realiseren wat werkelijk belangrijk is. Het album Release is ter nagedachtenis aan zijn moeder tot stand gekomen. Ad duikt in zijn geheugen met daarbij zijn moeder in gedachten. De instrumentatie van deze plaat in ingetogen, en sluit aan bij deze gebeurtenis en zijn herinneringen.

Zelf neemt hij het leeuwendeel van de instrumenten voor zijn rekening, naast zijn zang hoor je; gitaren, piano, banjo, harmonica. Drums en percussie zijn van Michael Kay. Bas van Pete Fisher. Tweede stem, zoals vaker, van Kersten de Ligny. Sfeervol vioolspel is er van zowel Neil James Morrison en Pat McCrae. Release in een gevoelig en tegelijkertijd krachtig eerbetoon. Mooi zoals hij de gevoelens voor zijn moeder en de veelvuldige bedankjes weet te verwoorden.

De vormgeving en foto’s die je terugvindt op het fysieke product zijn een zinvolle toevoeging. Op de achterzijde een piepjonge Ad met gitaar, waaruit blijkt dat het enthousiasme van huis werd toegejuicht. Naast de persoonlijke teksten is dit keer vooral het niveau van de songs, zonder uitzondering, erg hoog. Achter elkaar rollen kwaliteitsnummers aan je voorbij. Sterk titelnummer opent het album, gevolgd door One Last Song, een rechtstreekse ode aan zijn moeder. Mooiste nummer vond ik eerst het jazzy Fickle Mind. Mogelijk omdat ik iets herkenbaars meende aan te treffen. Ergens wisselen tussen zekerheid en onzekerheid, afhankelijk van je gemoedstoestand. Nog sterker vind ik Nothing But a Dream, waar de aandacht van de luisteraar naar de speaker wordt getrokken door innemende teksten. Ja, Ad, 1956 was ongetwijfeld een uitstekend jaar, en de stimulans van je moeder zal minstens zo een belangrijke rol gespeeld hebben. Bedankt!

Rein van den Berg – Johnny’s Garden

Release Cd review in Music News-UK

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 parents. 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.

The ambling picking of his acoustic guitar has a crisp sheen on the opener ‘Release’. His voice comes in with the same combination of frailty and earnestness that became Neil Young’s calling card. If you close your eyes and let your mind drift a little, you could easily mistake the track for an unearthed gem from Young’s Harvest days that had until now remained unreleased. Kersten de Ligny adds perfectly complementary harmonies and The Neil James Morrison Ensemble provides an understated string backing. 

There’s a way that Young can say a word or a phrase and imbue it with such powerfully wistful nostalgia and Vanderveen has a similar talent. The way he sings “and this old guitar is all I have to bring along to sing you one last song” in the softly swaying ‘One Last Song’ or “Got an old guitar from the year I was born/Sounds like a dream and it’s pretty well worn” on ‘Ol’ ’56’ links the storytelling tradition of the guitar around the hearth to all the ups and downs of a life well-lived. The word “guitar” holds a lifetime of dusty memories.

‘Always the Next’ has the rambling sing-song of Dylan’s first two records. Lightly meandering through a fingerpicked 6/8 before the band joins in to give it a good Celtic bob. Vanderveen is far from doing the cheap wheezy inflection of a poor Dylan impression, he just throws in the odd upward strain or hushed delivery that makes Dylan’s vocals stand out from the rest of the folk pack. Vanderveen also avoids the snide cynicism that crept into most of Dylan’s lyrics, instead presenting the challenges you face with an escape route: “there’s got to be some consolation my friend/there’s always the next to hold on to”.

Although a song like ‘Wildfire’ may cop the mid-song wailing harmonica solo that Young made a trademark, Vanderveen’s voice comes more into its own here. The western-tinged steady rollin’ rhythm is complemented by slide guitar echoing off into the dark of a midnight prairie. ‘Fickle Mind’ also enjoys some tasteful slide guitar to brush along this slow, back porch on a sleepy Sunday tune. ‘Nothing but a Dream’ shows up as a late album gem with Vanderveen giving out reassuring pearls of wisdom over a track that shows the singer finding a signature sound for himself.

Obviously, if you are a fan of Dylan or Young, Ad Vanderveen’s Release will be right up your alley. However, the similarities in timbre and structure are not a rip-off. This is not an artist lifting tried and true melodies to profit off of their good songwriting, something that is done FAR too often in pop music today. 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. 

****by Jon C. Ireson