“Singing the River” reviewed by Ian Bruce

January 01, 2011
Ian Walker is someone who could have summoned any of his high ranking peers to write notes on these songs, if he was one of those kind of blokes. He’s so unassuming and I’m so made up that my notes will be some kind of foreword to this powerful collection. We do have a mutual respect and I worry that my words cannot express everything I want them to. It’s not as if they need to bully the reader into liking Ian’s work or to get him or her ready for some kind of shock.; some kind of warning perhaps! Nope! He has a huge fan base and rightly so. People expect quality from Ian and, once again, they will not be disappointed, You see, once Mr. Walker makes up his mind, you can’t stop him. He is a locomotive. A very powerful man who gently propels himself to the top of every chosen sphere with dignity, honesty, concern, humility and “faith”.


I think folks might consider one with so much faith to be some kind of weakling. Somebody who needs a crutch in order to plough through the muck that can be strewn across one’s path in this often cruel existence. Someone like Ian has so much faith. Faith in his friends. Faith in his loved ones. Faith in God. Even eventual faith in himself and a certain faith that no matter what the circumstances the light will shine through in the end. He IS a magnificent specimen who needs no crutch. He simply follows trends that he truly trusts. He IS a believer in every good sense of the word. True to form, he has recently coped quietly with deep personal grief. Unavoidable turmoil which needn’t be detailed in a tribute to this Phoenix. Suffice to say, from a spell of purposeful and necessary withdrawal he has bounced back with a unrivaled vigour. He’s not just his old self again. Oh no no no! He has amplified somehow. He’s massive and it rubs off on those physically, mentally and/or musically close to him. That said, Ian Walker is nobody’s fool and he is careful who gets close. His music is the “key”. Pick it up and give it a twist. You will be rewarded. As with his older and now classic work, this batch of material projects. From the pathos of “You Raise Me Up” to the darkness of “Still” and onto the thunder of the title track, it is a soundtrack to this massive turnaround and is now on record to bring a raised spirit to all who hear it. To all who are “open” and will listen. You will be moved! You needn’t be a believer in anything to enjoy SINGING THE RIVER. That’s already been done for you. All you have to do is settle down and enjoy…or…get on your feet and join in. It’s here to lift you in any way that you want. Any way that you will allow. Go with it! This package contains so many anthems.


Of course Ian is well known for his love of banjos. A questionable faith perhaps but he does clang out in a very convincing, communicable and musical manner. As you will hear from Ian’s live work, these songs work admirably in that simple setting. However, for this recording we’ve elected to punctuate and manoeuver the music in a way that we feel you should enjoy. We confess there’s a kind of self indulgence going on here and were having such a great time in the studio. The hope is that you will indeed be uplifted by the obvious camaraderie we believe to be captured herein. We have “faith!” NOW YOU HAVE FAITH… YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID!!! Ian Bruce