Artist: Ivas John
Album: Good Days A Comin’
Label: Right Side Up Records
Release Date: 06/06/2015
Ivas John is a young man with the heart of a venerable troubadour. His latest album, Good Days A Comin’, is chock full of authenticity, a stirring set of songs drawn partially from classic covers that probe the nation’s traditions, spanning the Appalachian coal mines to the expanse of southern railways.
A finger style guitar picker of exceptional merit, John taps some choice material — including songs written by Merle Travis, Tom Paxton, James Jett and Allen Reynolds — but remarkably, his eight originals, some of which were written with his father Edward, ring with a similar sounding pedigree. John invests a universal sense of sensitivity and emotion in each, regardless of whether it’s through the weary reflection of Travis’ “Dark As a Dungeon,” Reynolds’ “Wrong Road Again,” his own sorrowful ballad “Things Ain’t Been The Same,” or the stirring “Greenville Trestle High and the upbeat optimism of “Roll Mississippi.” Credit is also due to his band, a group of experienced veterans that includes renowned mandolin player David Davis; Fiddler Robert Bowlin, once with Bill Monroe; acclaimed fiddle and mandolin player Tim Crouch; and the celebrated folk duo The Gordons, who add dobro and harmonies. Nevertheless, it’s the spirit of the great players who aren’t present — Doc Watson, Woody Guthrie, Jimmie Rodgers, and Mississippi John Hurt — whose influences pervade these dozen songs.
The nimble performances within each of these sublime settings make this a joy to behold. These timeless tales resonate with reverence and wisdom, suggesting there are Good Days A Comin’ indeed.
– Lee Zimmerman