MiG Music 2021
Prairie winds blow Appalachian aroma from the fields of Netherlands on a platter that may become one’s fellow traveler.
When a record’s first words are “I’ve got a truckload of curses” and the underlying strum is infectious, the listener can safely swear that this album won’t be boring, and if an artist behind it admits he has “a tongue that gets twisted” a little further down the road, one can bet this platter is bound to sound eloquent. It does, indeed – and the panorama of Americana Eric Devries and his band of troubadours weave here sounds much more authentic than a lot of what Stetson-donning pretenders from the U.S. propose to the public. But then, the Dutch musician belongs to Iain Matthews’ coterie of free spirits, leaving his mark on "The New Mine" recently and pursuing a solo career in parallel.
Started off with the lively “Little White Lies” – where bluesy harmonica and guitar picking get entwined only to see the title track unfold into a wonderful homespun waltz, which will bring reflective tears to the eyes of a hoedown revelers – Eric’s fourth personal offering never fails to charm his audience, and his voice never fails to deliver relatable sentiment. Switching between moods to set parlor solemnity of the vibrantly electric “Matters Of Love” against the “Another Round” that is brimming with rural joie de vivre, Devries also runs the gamut of his chosen genre and touches on bluegrass in “Jericho Walls” and cajun in “Time Is All” – the two songs which, otherwise, would have felt rather dry, and whose respective banjo and mandolin, courtesy of producer Janos Koolen, are abetted by mischievous fiddle.
However, while there’s warm tenderness in “All I Know How To Do” and silky exquisiteness in “Don’t Let Me Be” that finely complement Eric’s intimate singing and acoustic six strings, “Mary” displays even simpler sort of balladry as though to contrast “But For The Grace” with its philosophic swirl. Still, all this leads down memory lane to “Sunday Eve In Amsterdam” which is wrapped in orchestral nocturne and serves to return Devries to the folk tropes of his country and make the music he’s a master of be quite precious. With each piece here a gem, “Song & Dance Man” can move the hardest of cynics.