Jeremy Ivey – The Dream And The Dreamer
Americana | Country
The Dream And The Dreamer feels like a record from another time. Part of that is down to how Jeremy Ivey wears his influences on his sleeve with his debut album. The title track is deeply reminiscent of Neil Young, while ‘Ahead, Behind’ reminds me of The Band. Tracks like ‘Worry Doll’ and ‘Greyhound’ (the latter being one of the album’s standout moments that sees Jeremy dueting with his wife, the wonderful Margo Price) feel like the kind of classic country that’s ideal for just kicking back on the porch on a sun-drenched afternoon and letting the world drift by. A record for Dreamers in the most carefree sense of the word.
More to the point however is how all of this gets packaged up like a storm in a bottle. It has rapidly become the norm to have albums sprawling across a score of tracks, with run times stretching well over an hour. Here is a record that packs just as much content and meaning, if not more, into half the time. An album from the time when the word meant a collection of songs that feel like they belong together and represent something, rather than a package of singles and some filler between them.
Lyrically it’s one of the most poignant and wide ranging records of the year. Ivey turns his eye on the broken and alienating state of modern America on tracks like ‘Gina The Tramp’, offers a bit of introspection while detailing his own search for belonging on ‘Story Of A Fish’, and elsewhere finds a balance between the two. Talking about how wider world issues effect individuals. He even looks at environmentalism through the lens of Manifest Destiny on ‘Diamonds Back To Coal’ for all the disillusioned Dreamers out there.
This has been one of the most difficult records to review in 2019. I’ve delved into hour and a half long concept albums with complex storylines that haven’t needed as much time and attention to appreciate them at their best. There’s a depth to this record that defies expectations and benefits repeated and careful listening. Depending on how you look at it, that can be seen as a badge of honour or an Achilles heel. The music is so warm and welcoming that it can draw you away from the lyrics. You need to pick which Dreamer to be. You can chill with it’s southern charm or you can explore it’s nuance, but it is very hard to do both at once. Not everyone will be able to give this album the time it deserves to fully explore both sides, but those that do will feel richly rewarded for it.