Although he's been a fixture of Nashville's indie music scene since the mid-2000s, Jeremy Ivey has largely assumed the role of collaborator, playing in bands like Secret Handshake and Buffalo Clover, and serving as guitarist and sideman to his wife, country singer/songwriter Margo Price. In terms of asserting himself as a frontman, the 41-year-old is a bit of a late bloomer, but his strong solo debut for the Anti- label is a testament to waiting until you're ready. On The Dream and the Dreamer, the Georgia native offers up nine thoughtful, tastefully written cuts that traverse '60s-inspired country-rock, folk sensibility, and indie pop melodicism, peppered with a few hazy plumes of light psychedelia. Recorded at Nashville's all-analog Reel Recording and mixed at the historic Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, the album manages to tip its hat to the methods of an earlier era without all the self-congratulatory throwback baggage that so many similarly inclined Americana artists feel compelled to flaunt. In the producer's chair, Price is tastefully understated and committed to presenting her husband's songs with an appropriate mix of finesse and grit. Her backing vocals throughout the album are apparent, though never showy. Opener "Diamonds Back to Coal" is a dark-hued rocker whose observations of socio-political tumult are most certainly inspired by the contemporary landscape, while the Dylan-esque "Gina the Tramp" unfolds like an epic poem for the sad American underbelly. Both songs convey a sense of timelessness, suggesting a retro proclivity, but ultimately occurring somewhere between obvious years and genres. Of the more overtly vintage fare, songs like "Worry Doll" and "Greyhound" ring with an unexpected air of tenderness and vulnerability. As a songwriter, Ivey is introspective, a bit moody, and frequently poignant, a dreamer and an observer who has apparently been socking away great original material for years and waiting for his moment.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger