A fresh approach to Country tinged Bluegrass
I’ve seen Dutch singer-guitarist Vera Van Heeringen several times over the years and always enjoyed her virtuoso performances but never actually got around to buying an album; so when I received STANDING TALL it went straight into the player and by track four I was giving it a metaphorical thumbs up as I typed out a long missive for a magazine.
On stage Vera is quite chatty and very friendly; but it’s her sublime guitar playing that is always memorable; yet on record, it’s her singing and well crafted songs that are at the fore; while her assured acoustic guitar playing is as good as ever; only generally in the background; much like on a John Martyn or Richard Thompson record.
Vera’s voice is actually surprisingly good, with a lovely warm, expressive tone that comes to the fore on the bleak You’re Allor the break-up song In Love With Someone Else.
It is Vera who describes herself as a Bluegrass player; but apart from her excellent interpretation of The Carter Family’sLulu Walls; I would best describe her as straddling the Country-Folk fence that Nanci Griffith and Suzy Boggus sit comfortably on.
Fans who have seen her on stage will love the recorded versions of the instrumental show-stoppers *Maan and *Back to Baak/Glebe Reel which both have a crystal clear production by Vera and Andy Bell, leaving the listener in no doubt as to the pedigree of the guitarist.
As always I have a favourite track and this time it is the jaunty Country-Folk twangfest – Pass Me The Whisky which I’d not heard before and showcases the whole band; but again; it’s Vera’s finger-picking that will turn heads and ears.
When she chats on stage Vera has a sexy Dutch-American accent but when singing her English is much better than my own; and I come from England!
*Maan is Dutch for moon and Baak is a town in the Netherlands.
Rootbeet Records RBRCD15