Nick Bollinger reviews a reflective set from veteran Auckland folksinger Derek Lind.
Derek Lind is a singer-songwriter, based in West Auckland, who has been performing and recording his own songs for more than thirty years, and the title of his latest album tells, in perhaps the plainest possible way, where he’s coming from. It’s called Solo; a word that reasonably describes these front-deck ruminations, but which has a deeper meaning - one that emerges gradually over the course of the double album.
In 2013, during the writing of the songs that make up Solo, Lind lost his wife of 35 years, and a sense of that loss underpins the album, though only occasionally does it address that loss head on.
“I’m walking down a street named Tragedy/on the outskirts of a town called Faith/My friends say you’re holding up, you’re doing well/But my friend, that’s simply not the case”, he sings in ‘Over You’, and what I find so powerful about the performance is its gentleness. Lind really does sing as though he is just talking to an old friend, though of course what he has to reveal is devastating.
But this same conversational style runs right through the record, even in songs where absence is something implied rather than described. There’s a tone that pervades this album, something deeper than melancholy. Yet Lind does far more than just hammer on the one emotional note, and if some of these songs find him in spiritual contemplation, others concern themselves with the material world. There’s a welcome burst of anger in ‘The Valley Of Dry Bones’, where he surveys the social landscape and sees a country being sold, the poor getting poorer, and politicians compromising themselves.
If the record has a resolution, it’s in the final song, ‘Come To Me’. It’s a song of faith and of forgiveness – even, it seems, for politicians.
Songs played: The Only Song I Got, There Are No Words, Over You, The Sad Tourist, In The Valley of Dry Bones, Come To Me.
Solo is available on Someone Up There Records.