|BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS
Reviews on the album 'Surrender to Win':
'Strong melodies and lyrics. A convincing album for the international folkscene.'
Singer/guitarist John Flierman and piano and accordionplayer Ed Veltrop form folkduo John O’Dreams for more than 11 years. With Surrender to Win they released their third album as a duo, the last one, Second Stage, was recorded in 1999. The recordings took place for one and a half year in a studio in Amsterdam. Therefore both men could work at ease in a relaxed atmosphere on this album and also invite several befriended musicians for their contribution.. Among them stars like Siard de Jong (fiddle), Daithi Rua (guitar) and Danny Guinan (guitar/vocals). Half of the 10 songs on Surrender to Win were written by Flierman and Veltrop themselves and they did a more than convincing job. Strong melodies and lyrics. On the album also songs from singer songwriters like John Spillane, Wally Page and Bill Caddick. Within a few seconds you forget the fact that John’s voice has a remarkable ressemblance to that of Luka Bloom’s brother (Christy Moore) No copycat this one! The mature sound of the CD is can be contributed to technician and musician Barry Teehan who also played guitar, bass and drums on several tracks.
I believe that John O’Dreams delivers a convincing album for the international folkscene.
'Beautiful easy to listen to album with heartfelt feeling for music.'
Singer/songwriter John Flierman and his musical partner Ed Veltrop developed a taste for beautiful songs to listen to, just like their hero Christy Moore. His voice, their musical style and enthusiasm compare with Moore as you can hear on their brand new album Surrender to Win. The singing and acoustic guitar of John Flierman forms the base of Dutch folkduo John O’Dreams, the colouring comes from the accordion, piano, Hammond organ and voice of Ed Veltrop. In addition they found themselves some great names willing to contribute as guest musicians: Siard de Jong (fiddle, viola), Danny Guinan (guitar, vocals) and Daithi Rua (guitar). Barry Teehan, a well known employee at Mulligans in Amsterdam, is responsable as technician for sound and mixing but also contributes as musician (bass, electric guitar and sampling. Where Christy Moore mainly chooses songs written by others, this folkduo tries to write more songs themselves. Half of the album Surrender To Win is filled with selfpenned songs to begin with opening track Road To Happiness. Veltrop wrote this song, in which he triest to stiff himself after some personal downfalls. Next jewel of a song The Birds (of Beslan) is for me the highlight of the album. People that saw the tragedy of the hostage children in school probably will never forget it. Flierman wrote the song and with a sensitive voice sings about birds overflying and witnessing the tragedy. Bert Kruijer (from Balkan orchestra Sultan) adds a melancholic accent on clarinet. I wonder what this song would sound like when sung by Christy Moore. It would fit excellent into his repertoire. Unfortunately the next songs suffer a bit from this craftsmanship in songwriting. The light jazzy Growing Pains is full of emotion, but it isn’t that prominent and the romantic song Fields of Love is too sweet for me. With an intro on Uillean Pipes (Isaac Alderson) for the song Endless Dream (which reminds me of the Belfast Child from The Simple Minds) John O’Dreams again catches my attention and so their convincing covers. It’s probably no coincidence that their choice of covers comes from singer/songwriters who are also in the repertiore of Christy Moore. She Scattered Crumbs from Ger Wolfe is delivered beautifully with the addition of the vocal by John’s daughter Myrthe Flierman and the tromba, a trumpet sounding like a tuba, by George Benedict. We hear songs from John Spillane (Johnny Don't Go), Wally Page (Chico Mendes) and Bill Caddick (John O'Dreams). In addition we also hear a song from some Dutch writers: My Land Is Too Green written by Erik Visser (Flairck) and Antoinette Hensey. This song was written in 1987 for Irish singer Mary Coughlan, who recorded it for her album Under The Influence. Although you can hear the influence of Christy Moore it is clear that John O’Dreams is no copycat. In their own way this folkduo tries to walk a somehow similar musical road, on which they don’t forget other musical influences (Shane MacGowan, Wally Page, Luka Bloom and Joe Jackson) Surrender To Win has been recorded at ease, the result is a beautiful easy to listen to album with a heartfelt feeling for music.
Mirjam Adriaans, rating: 8+
Reviews on the album 'Second':
'Better than the original?'
The album title makes it very clear; this is the second album of duo John O'Dreams, consisting of John Flierman (guitar, vocals & bodhran) and Ed Veltrop (accordeon, piano & backing vocals). John Flierman is the Christy Moore of The Netherlands and you'll only have to listen for five seconds to know why. The lads cover a lot of Christy Moore songs (no coincidence that their first album is titled 'Moore Songs'). Would this be the soundmix show ? Although this feeling is understandable John O'Dreams, with the help of guest musicians Siard de Jong (fiddle, bouzouki & low whistle), Peter Ebiesuwa Cadmus (African percussion) & Mark Gilligan (tin whistle), makes this an album worthwhile to listen to. John O'Dreams knows how to get and hold the listener's attention. Better than the original? Well, that would be a dangerous thing to say!
‘They're worth every guilder of the entrance fee'
Irish Music Magazine (Sean Laffey)
It had to happen, we've had Abbaesque, Ican Tina and in a more creative vein our own Jack L, yes folk's tribute bands. The common factor? Take up a foreign act's well known repertoire, dress up a bit and do your best imitation of folks who are no longer touring or just too expensive for the Parish Committee to book. John O'Dreams is based in Holland, he sings the songs made famous by Christy Moore, and he does it so well you'd need a very good hi-fi system to detect the difference. How he got the Kildare accent is beyond me, but he has it all right down to a line of Christy T-shirts as authentic as the original. Earlier this year John played a tribute night at Taylor's Three Rock Pub in Dublin. Five hundred people turned up and had a great time. It's not the real thing of course, but boy is it close, and from the unforced laughter on 'Don't forget your shovel' I'd say he's worth every guilder of the entrance fee. If he ever does a full tour of Ireland I'd recommend him to your local committee any day!
‘One of the Irish top duos'
Irish Bands Live UK
Can a couple of Dutch men play Irish music? Not only can they play Irish music, they sing a mean ballad too. John O'Dreams has built a reputation as one of the top Irish duos. John sings Irish ballads with a Kildare accent and it would take a good man to say he was not of Irish blood. Second Stage is an album full of wonderful well-established Irish ballads. Anyone can say we play Irish music, but these guys do it with style and add their own exciting sound in tracks like 'Biko Drum'. The album has a mix of tracks to suit every taste. I can honestly say I was not disappointed when I slipped the disk into the player and out came this amazing blend on instruments combining to make superb Irish Music. Both are excellent musicians. John has the great gift of being able to sing Irish ballads in the way they were meant to be sung, with passion and pride and a voice that would be envied by many an Irish man. Add to this the outstanding musicianal skills of Ed Veltrop whose backing vocals are outstanding to say the least and you have an album of great beauty.
'I was touched by their performance!'
Folkforum.nl (live review Folkwoods Festival, Eindhoven)
'I was very impressed by the performance of John O’Dreams. John Flierman suprised me with his music of Christy Moore. His timbre, drive and dynamic are very close to Christy’s. And like with the man himself you feel the shivers down your spine when you close your eyes and listen to songs like Cabaret, Ride On, Nancy Spain, Smoke and Strong Whiskey or The Two Conneeleys. Ed Veltrop accompanies him and I rather hear him on the accordeon than on stage piano. I was touched by their performance!'