Kris Drever

Black Water

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AllMusic Review by

It's hard to believe that Celtic rock band Wolfstone have been around long enough for their lead singer to have a son with a music career of his own, but sure enough -- Kris Drever (son of Ivan Drever) has not only established himself as an in-demand session player, but is now also making quite a mark for himself as a solo artist. Black Water is as promising a debut album as has emerged from the British Isles in ten years. Some credit for its success is due to the all-star cast of guests who play (John McCusker, Andy Cutting, Ian Carr) and sing (Eddi Reader, Kate Rusby) alongside him. But mainly it comes down to his wise decision to keep the arrangements spare and crystalline, the better to show off both the dark beauty of these songs the reedy clarity of his voice -- not the whiny high tenor of too many Irish male singers, but a lean and strong high baritone that recalls Dick Gaughan in his prime. Two of the album's most powerful tracks are its first two: a gorgeous and regretful Sandy Wright composition called "Steel and Stone (Black Water)," and the equally lovely traditional song "Braw Sailin' on the Sea." Drever's voice loses a bit of its power on the otherwise fine "Green Grows the Laurel," and "Poor Man's Son" is played in a slightly weird and rather ill-advised pseudo-country style, but the album ends powerfully with two subdued and absolutely stunning numbers: "Navigator" and "Farewell to Fuineray." Very highly recommended.

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