|Dimensions||14 × 12.5 × 1 cm|
For the past 40 years, Ian Dearden has been a passionate musical performer. From his high school rock band to university folk clubs, in solo, duo and band configurations, Ian has performed and busked at clubs, pubs & festivals throughout Australia, UK, Ireland, Europe and the USA. Ian’s skilled guitar playing, heartfelt singing, and a repertoire that includes original, traditional and contemporary songs never fails to engage.
In December, 2014 he released his debut album, “What Took You So Long?”, containing 12 original songs in superb, harmony-drenched acoustic arrangements. With delightful vocal and instrumental contributions from leading Australian musicians and songwriters including Liz Frencham, Fred Smith, Mark Cryle, Caroline Hammond, Rhiannon Fenn and Mark Ziza, as well as London-based Polish classical cellist Evva Mizerska, this is the distillation of 40 years of songwriting and performing.
Review by Sue Robinson
After listening to this debut CD a few times I came to one inescapable conclusion: Ian Deardon is a class act.
It took him nearly a lifetime to compile this album, which traces his growth as a songwriter. His songs reflect the important milestones in his life, because, like any good composer, Deardon sticks with that he knows.
He started early. The CD’s first song, Freedom (Seems a Lovely Word), was written in 1973, Deardon’s first effort, at age 16. The CD’s lyrics reflect Deardon’s growing skills over the years and his early melodies are pretty and familiar, but enhanced by later subtle and beautiful arrangements, with Evva Mizerska’s gorgeous cello lines a standout. Incidentally, Evva’s cello was recorded half a word away from the rest of the musicians, in her home in London.
But Deardon himself is no slouch and his acoustic guitar work is impressive. The arrangements for his music are, in my view, simply beautiful. Instruments and voices are added when they contribute beauty or emotional depth to the melody and words. The introductions are crisp, clean and intriguing, pulling the listener willingly into the songs which follow.
Standouts for this reviewer included the acapella opening for Welcome to the World, a song commemorating the pending birth of Deardon’s first child, and the way the instruments gently join the song as its story progresses.
Praying, has a lovely guitar riff, is very singalongable and Fred Smith’s harmonica part gradually morphs from incidental rhythmic contributions to a quirky and highly indiviualistic solo. This song is a little gem, and should form part of many folk singers’ singalong repertoires. Deardon has helpfully included a full set of lyrics for all his songs on the CD.
The introduction for Headin’ South features some lovely inventive guitar licks, and the hook “Looking hard for paradise, searching for my dreams….”, works, hooking the listeners into a memorable chorus.
Trains features lovely spare guitar work and the lyrics lead you on a metaphorical journey as compelling as the one being described in the song.
Down by the Waterfall, has a joyful country-feel – another singalong staple of the future.
Evensong finishes off the CD with a simple message, we all united by the planet we inhabit. Whoever we are and whatever we believe in says Deardon, “we are joined, all of us daily” by the peace of twilight.
But it is difficult to pick an individual track because, unlike some folk CDs, Deardon’s sports a consistently high standard of playing, singing, composition and arrangement. There are simply no “fillers” in the song list. This is a carefully crafted CD, inviting the listener to travel with Deardon through a life of songwriting, looking along the way, at the things which concerned, moved or amused him during that life. And those glimpses all have the common touch, they are of things that concern, move and amuse us all.
You simply have to listen to this one.
4 in stock