We haven’t heard from him in a long while but Derek Lind has a rich and lengthy history of album releases, his own and as guitarist for others’, largely grouped under the banner of Christian music. ‘Solo’ is his seventh. The title and the almost brutal intimacy of the cover photo both directly reflect on this double album’s content, written as it was following the untimely death of his wife of 35 years. This is an album of sadness and pain, of coping with enormous personal grief and of finding a way through emotional turmoil.
As deeply personal as it is, Lind’s experience and polished songwriting skills deftly avoid it being maudlin or selfishly introspective. His voice has gained gravel, which, along with the somehow elegiac everyday observations (bringing the washing in, school finishing for summer etc.) brings John Prine to mind. Actually Prine gets name checked (along with Mac Wiseman) on track two, the quite sublime The Only Song I Got. Wiseman earned a reputation as ‘the voice with a heart’, which is precisely what ‘Solo’ provides. Other fine musicians and long time friends helping out on this all-acoustic recording include drummer Kevin Adair, Guy Wishart (guitar and banjo), Hammond expert Alan Brown and Glenn Ross Campbell on his lap-steel. Jordan Stone oversaw the two-day recording session at Roundhead that produced the 16 tracks mastered by Steve Garden. The circumstances of this exceptional crowd-funded work, released on the second anniversary of his wife’s passing, can’t bear repetition, but we can hope that with it Lind will find a new lease of musical life. ‘Solo’ is a superb release.