Vera Van Heeringen
Won’t Be Broken
Wood & Steel Records
Intimate and Beautifully Constructed Folk Songs For Americana Fans.
Where to start?
Shall I tell you how angry this album has made me feel?
Well; I’m going to anyway.
Vera’s debut album was one of the first reviews I did for Maverick Magazine way back in 2011, and even though she was in a very, very competitive market of female singer-songwriters on the cusp of Folk and Americana it was quite obvious that she was destined to be filling Concert Halls around the world.
While her undoubted talents only gets better and better, and her last album Proper Brew is testament to that; Vera still plays in tiny venues to adoring audiences while those contemporaries (no names ED.) have gone on to fame and fortune.
First of all, what a wonderfully packaged CD this is …… you really are missing out if you just purchase a download…. trust me.
There’s a dark intensity to opening song Gods; and this love long is quite stunning when you listen in an empty, and preferably darkened room. Vera’s words actually shimmer as they leave the speakers and gentle mix of instruments behind her smoky voice combine to send a shiver down your back.
For such an intimate album; that ‘heady feeling’ will never leave you as Vera embroils you in the tightly wrapped stories like the title track Won’t Be Broken and later Dinah, which is Folk Music Deluxe; especially the opening verse:
“Looking back among the trees
I see her standing there
If only she’d return my gaze
My Soul I would bare.”
In her Press Release Vera says that ‘this is the album she’s always wanted to make’; and when you hear the divine Running, or perhaps Sleep Song and even more apt, the gentle Folk Rocker Blankets which closes the record; I swear you can feel her ‘smiling’ as she sings her articulate tales.
I’ve got a couple of songs swirling around in my head as I try to select a Favourite Song. The Celtic Gather The Words is a worthy contender, as is the dark and brittle Dancing Shoes. Even the instrumental White Tip; which puts Ms Van Heeringen on a whole other plateau when it comes to playing the acoustic guitar was an option at one stage; but I’m going with my heart (and gut) and choosing Man With a Gun.
As I’d hoped for it has more twists and turns than a forest road; but you really must stop everything you are doing the first time you play this record…… who knew Vera Van Heeringen actually had the ability to shock with her charming words and tunes?
To some degree this is a collaborative effort with trusted regulars Andy Seward and Dave Luke playing superbly alongside a handful of specially selected guests; but this is very much an album that will hopefully give our favourite Dutch singer-songwriter the boost her talent deserves.
Released September 5th 2019