Thursday, 12 September 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Jeremy Ivey - The Dream and the Dreamer : ANTI - Records

A couple of years ago Jeremy Ivey played a pretty low key opening set at the Bullingdon in Oxford that quickly slipped from the memory bank. This was escalated by a scintillating performance from the headliner of which the opener had more than a little in common with. Whether or not any of the songs from his debut album featured on the night is probably immaterial, but that would certainly change when the time comes for him to return to a UK stage. While that day awaits, the release of THE DREAM AND THE DAYDREAMER will give Jeremy Ivey's solo career a huge shot in the arm and it will comfortably sit in many a listening repertoire.

9 tracks and 33 minutes playing time suggests limitations, but sometimes less is more, an odd conundrum that comes into play here. Not a second of a tight landscape is wasted as Ivey gears his songwriting to a wide range of issues from the deeply personal to others of a more macro persuasion. The whole soundtrack echoes shades of country music caught up in a psychedelic haze, with an occasional rock tinge. It also contains an impressive amount of hooks and levers controlling moves in a shortened timescale.

From opening track 'Diamonds Back to Coal' suggesting some sort of environmental reversal to the record ending with the ultimate thoughtful comparison piece 'The Dream and the Dreamer', the whole listening experience is a smooth event. Peaks across the canvas rise with the dreamy blissful second track 'Falling Man' and the country pairing of 'Worry Doll' and 'Greyhound'. The latter represents the album's summit and the source of the duet unravels the picture further.

Almost twelve months ago Ruston Kelly released a solo album that met with critical acclaim proving that there is a creative force in both halves of the Ruston Kelly-Kacey Musgraves marital partnership. Music from that release reached award nominee status and a progression that could be replicated in THE DREAM AND THE DREAMER. Similarities extend in that Jeremy Ivey is also the spouse of a successful artist, in this instance Margo Price. One difference is that she has taken a far more pro-active role in her husband's record. Not only being the duet partner on the standout track, but also taking the reins on the production duties and helping to shape an album that will resonate strongly with many.

From the small acorn of opening for his wife in Oxford in early 2017 to releasing an album fit to challenge the best in the Americana genre, the journey of Jeremy Ivey is beginning to gather pace. The largest leap is to put out a very good record. The next step is see how far momentum from the team can carry it. I wouldn't bet against a fair distance. 

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