Ryan Driver Feeler of Pure Joy

Noted Toronto, ON multi-instrumentalist Ryan Driver pours his whole heart into Feeler of Pure Joy, a gorgeous new collection of lovely folk songs. Driver remains a gift to his music community, playing understated roles in many past and present bands, including Deep Dark United, the Silt, the Reveries and Double Suicide. Though an inspired, eponymous jazz quartet operates under his direction, this is Driver’s first proper solo excursion within song-oriented compositions and he’s casually created an astonishingly multi-layered, emotive album. As expected, his distinctive approach to instrumentation, mixing in improvisational elements and unusual tools, infuses the whole album with an exhilaratingly uncertain haze, though nylon-stringed guitar and synths are the most prominent sonic markers. The real surprise is Driver’s fragile yet commanding voice, which is charmingly understated on songs like the Jennifer Castle duet, "You Are Beside Me,” and uncommonly powerful in falsetto on "Time and Trouble” and "Spinning Towers.” Matched by heartfelt imagery, Driver’s phrasing and musical vision make Feeler of Pure Joy a sly treasure. (Rat-Drifting)