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Ryan Driver - Feeler of Pure Joy

  by Anthony Middleton

published: 6 / 6 / 2009

Ryan Driver - Feeler of Pure Joy
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Exasperatingly inconsistent debut solo album from frontman with the Silt and alt. country musician, Ryan Driver

There are moments on 'Feeler of Pure Joy' that you feel exasperated with Ryan Driver. A great guitarist and crafter of fine songs, he simply rubs you up the wrong way with some of his singin, which sounds like he was being operated on without anaesthetic while recording some of his vocal parts. Then there are perfect moments, such as the opener, 'You are Beside Me', as duet with the whispy folk singer Jennifer Castle. This is delicate and effective and is nearly immediately ruined when we get to 'Time and Trouble' when he decides to reach up way beyond his vocal abilities and sounds like a pantomime dame. 'When Were You in Mexico' then makes amends, a moody, brooding song where Driver’s vocal abilities and his controlled, intricate guitar work are perfectly matched. Driver is something an alt.country hero who has never quite achieved what he should, perhaps because he has been more prolific that he has been considered. The Silt, one of his many projects, suffered a similar fate on their recent 'Cat’s Peak' which was at times sublime and others substandard. This is a more laid back and demure affair than the work with the Silt. Often relying on just his guitar and his voice, the effects can be hypnotic on tracks such as 'Why the Road', a sparse gentle, nearly Nick Drake-like number. The final, title track sums up all that is easy and hard to listen to here. A warm, comfortable song slightly marred by warbling, unsteady singing, suddenly changes gear into an obscure, experimental soundscape, before returning to the country ballad. This is certainly unusual and while it is not wholly successful, it marks itself out from all the easy listening, not so alt alt.country out there.

Track Listing:-
1 You Are Beside Me
2 No One Can Say Too Well
3 Time & Trouble
4 Its Nothing
5 When Were You In Mexico
6 That's Which Way The Water Falls
7 Oh The World Between Us
8 Spinning Towers
9 Why The Road
10 The Thousand Feathers Of My Love
11 Feeler Of Pure Joy

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