‘Proper Brew’ by Vera van Heeringen – a polished and thoroughly beautiful album(May 22, 2015)
It’s a couple of years since I heard ‘Standing Tall’ the debut album from Vera van Heeringen, and now there’s the follow up, ‘Proper Brew’. The clearly Americana-influenced result is a more accomplished, more polished and thoroughly beautiful album. Simple as that. Born in Holland but now dwelling in North Wales, Vera has a gift that brings guitar a life in a way that’s entirely her own. There are nine self-penned songs plus one collaboration on ‘Proper Brew’, the freshness and originality of the individual songs making statements to mark out each one as a ‘proper infusion’ of lyric, melody and voice - together they bind the whole into an album that once heard will be played and played again.
Ranging from the sparkling opening of ‘Believer’ through the deep-set sorrow of ‘Cold Winter Evening’ to ‘Proper Brew’, a stunning instrumental duet with Kris Drever, the quality is evident. The power of the poetry in Vera’s songs reflects through the highly-charged emotion of ‘Wildest Truth’, the raw humanity of ‘Mad Jack’ and the unbridled honesty of ‘Milk and Honey’ – these are songs that come from the heart and through their existence they will touch yours.
The musicians joining Vera van Heeringen (acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals) on ‘Proper Brew’ include Dave Luke (electric guitar, lap steel, acoustic guitar, harmony vocals) Andy Seward (double bass) Dirk Powell (piano, electric bass) Jock Tyldesley (banjo, fiddle, double bass) Dave Proctor (mandolin) Kris Drever (acoustic guitar, harmony vocals) Rayna Gellert (fiddle, harmony vocals) Ian Kelly (drums) M G Boulter (pedal steel, resonator, lap steel) Sam Sweeney (drums) Tim O’Brien (harmony vocal) and Neil McSweeney (harmony vocal).
Review: Tom Franks