Ian McFeron from Seattle is a man on a mission. Not only does he manage himself, his own label, organise his own tour schedule, book venues, hotels and play constantly; last year it was over 200 shows, this year even more to come as we speak. He still finds time to record his latest album, Summer Nights, his sixth album in eight years. It was recorded over a ten day period, in East Nashville.
This is an accomplished album which with any luck, should see Ian McFeron get his reward. It is at times gospel, folk, even jazz and swing. It has a maturity which meanders, especially on the title track Summer Nights, toward a similar feel and vibe in terms of arrangement to those clever Van Morrison albums. On tracks like the stark and dramatic Hard Since You’ve Been Gone a great vocal performance, similar to that distinctive John Lennon angst and echo when he was losing his mind working with Phil Spector.
The opener, Shine a Little Light and You’re Still On My Mind also stood out for honourable mentions. The backing musicians also deserve loads of praise here as does producer Doug Lancio for garnering that warm, natural live feel as if the band were recording together as a unit.
It’s unusual for me to like anything that remotely sounds like David Gray, Jack Johnson, Paulo Nuttini or Ryan Adams but there is definitely a skilled artist at work here. There are many troubadours out there but unlike a lot of his polished slick contemporaries you get the feeling that with the relentless touring, travelling and 6 albums in 8 years, Ian McFeron is benefitting from doing it the hard way. He is the real deal and isn’t faking it.
Review by Charlie Brown