Bert Deivert – I Ain’t Leavin’
CD: 10 Songs, 41 Minutes
Styles: Acoustic Blues, Mandolin Blues, Roots, Americana
Bert Deivert’s I Ain’t Leavin’ is a celebration of the mandolin: a staple of country, roots and Americana, but it’s taken a back seat to the guitar in regards to the blues. This Boston-born musician, now based in Sweden, brings it back with classic style. On nine original songs and an arrangement of a traditional tune (“I Can’t Feel at Home”), Bert lets his favorite instrument do most of the talking. That being said, he’s also a master lyricist and storyteller. Check out “Badge 623” and “I Heard the Dark Roads Call,” reviewed below. Though his vocals are conversational, this fits the mellow atmosphere of this 41-minute CD. If you’re looking for a party album, it might not fit the bill, but it’s perfect for a drive through the country at the start of spring.
Deivert’s 14th album is a rediscovery of songs left behind, and new ones telling stories of a long life playing music. How long, you might ask? His career began more than fifty years ago. He’s performed in 24 countries and collaborated with hundreds of renowned artists around the world: Peter Case, T-Model Ford, Charlie Musselwhite, Eric Bibb, Wanda Jackson, and Thailand’s national treasure Nga Caravan. Most of his fans don’t realize that he started out as a recording artist, producing original songs and releasing six albums on Swedish audiophile label OPUS 3 between 1978 and 1983. Some of his early albums are described on the Internet as “Loner Acid Folk,” but Bert wryly avoids commenting on these.
Joining Bert on lead vocals and instrumentation are his partner in life, well-respected Swedish fiddler Eva Deivert, and his daughter Emmy adding backing vocals on two songs.
The first four songs set a relaxing vibe, though “Stand By Me” is nowhere near as catchy as the tune by Ben E. King. Hit the “forward” button on your CD or MP3 player to “Badge 623,” detailing the tragic murder of his policeman grandfather in 1930. Blending tragedy and horror in seamless fashion, it pays homage to an honorable man who died long before his proper time. Eva Deivert’s fiddle adds an extra-poignant touch. Two tracks later, “I Heard the Dark Roads Call” tells Bert’s tale of hitchhiking to Canada rather than going to Vietnam: “Stuck on a dark road. Headlights shining on the tar. Sleeping under bridges – I wasn’t getting far. . .I met deserters and draft dodgers. They were far from home. Listened to some street songs, made some music for the throng.” When it comes to playing the blues, there’s no greater inspiration than life itself.
Though he’s in Sweden, Bert Deivert’s Americana shines on I Ain’t Leavin!