dinsdag 26 januari 2016

Nero. Ian Fisher

With his album Nero Ian Fisher steps into a line long tradition of singer-songwriters, country (rockers) and roots musicians. The release of Nero on Snowstar Records is something new though. With Ian Fisher an artist is added to the stable of the label who originates from the U.S. and works from Berlin. Musically the German capitol has nothing to do with the what is on offer here. It is all Americana.

Nero appealed to me at the first listening session. I can present a few reasons for that. The voice of Ian Fisher is soothing in a dark kind of way. The music is arranged in a varied way and tends towards darkness. This can all be credited to the sounds added by multi-instrumentalist Ryan Thomas Carpenter. All things "western" come from Ollie Samland who plays U.S. things with strings like pedal steel and dobro.

Just listen to how 'Nero' opens, it is heart moving. Musical tears are shed by the pedal steel, without a single moment losing out to false sentimentality. There is a darkness that is real. Ian Fisher is being stared at by the abyss and simply stares it down. No matter how basic the chords may be that are played in the title song 'Nero', everything is in its right place. Fire, thoughts of fire, is what it is all about. A Nero in thought and then comes in the piano played by Ryan Thomas Carpenter. Sheer beauty in music.

Some fast finger picking is at the heart of 'Too Bad'. Around it a pedal steel, percussion, the harmony singing of Alexia Peniguel and the bass of producer Fabian Kalker are woven. They present the song the atmosphere that belongs when things are too bad. Intriguing, but distanced, fascinating yet resigned. It gives the song a sort of deepness that makes me come back and listen again. Searching for what? A ray of light of confirmation? I haven't made up my mind yet, despite so many listening sessions.

In nearly all songs Ian Fisher and his fellow musicians are able to do something like this. They manage to produce the right sounds of the basic guitar strumming, without hindering the vocal in any way. Ian Fisher's voice is always central, as is Ms. Peniguel's voice when supporting. The mix is spacious allowing room for all the instruments in such a way that each instrument supports the song and stands on its own as well. Fabian Kalker and Hannes Bieger (mix) deserve quite some credits here.

Listening to the at times very bare support of instruments, all mood and atmosphere, I totally understand how Snowstar Records found Ian Fisher. He simply belongs on this label. This is accentuated by the fact that Town of Saints' Harmen Ridderbos sings with Ian Fisher on 'Almost Darlin, while Heta Salkolathi plays the fiddle on 'All You Need'.

Looking at Ian Fisher's Bandcamp site he has quite a few releases to his name already. All went by me so far. This stopped with Nero. 2016 has only just begun, but already it has an impressive release tagged to it. Nero sets a standard in Americana that may prove hard to reach at for others this year.


You can listen to 'Nero' live here:


or buy on Bol.com

In April Ian Fisher tours The Netherlands. You can find him here:

13-04 Paradiso, Amsterdam
14-04 TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht
15-04 W2, Den Bosch
16-04 Vera, Groningen
17-04 Hedon, Zwolle

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