There's a bit of advice when it comes to writing that advocates sitting on an idea for just a bit longer, even when you are desperate to put pen to paper. Jeremy Ivey appears to have taken that to heart when the time came to record his solo debut. At the age of 41, he's shunned the notion of youthful creativity allowing maturity and time to enrich his work. As told to Rolling Stone “I feel like I’ve been learning how to write a song,” letting his ideas brew has certainly paid off. He's already recorded a second album and has a third in the works; it would seem that there's nothing to hold him back.
At only nine songs long, The Dream and the Dreamer could be considered short by typical LP standards, but the album flows perfectly and would only feel weighed down with unnecessary filler tracks: less is more. Despite the length, Ivey has a lot to say from the state of the USA and our modern sense of entitlement on the Neil Young inspired, and quite brilliant, Diamonds Back to Gold. Ivey reflects on his adoptive childhood in Story of a Fish. It's a revealing story of isolation and longing to find a place in the world, while Laughing Willy tears down cocaine culture in a similar way to Young's Needle and the Damage Done. Worry Doll goes old school country, especially with Ivey's wife Margo Price adding backing vocals.
Ivey doesn't hide the fact that he's also Dylan worshiper – although more vocally melodious, his songs capture the imagination just as much, and his turn of phrase is something that many modern Americana/roots artist strive for, but few achieve. Despite honouring his influences, he's careful not to box himself in on the album, giving enough variety where it counts and allowing those well mulled over songs to speak for themselves.
Groupie rating 4/5