BJ Baartmans
"Where Lovers Go"
by Johanna J. Bodde

BJ BAARTMANS   "Where Lovers Go"   (Inbetweens Records)

During his live-shows with JW Roy, Brian Webb, Rod Picott and Terri Binion I got to know Bart Jan Baartmans as a very nice artist. With his professional skills on various guitars and mandolin, his funny stories and winning smile he can captivate any audience! Also his original songs are always fascinating and although people have varied opinions about his voice, I love "hoarse and genuine", that's a sure fact. So various tracks on BJ's new CD "Where Lovers Go" -his sixth album- sound already familiar to me but seem quite different at the same time, due to this lush, looking-back-to-the-seventies production!
Mike Roelofs kept himself busy behind several keyboards, organs and synthesizers full of effects. Producer and engineer Leon Bartels added drumloops, while all the stringbending was done by Bart Jan himself. A very attractive contrast develops between those always somewhat cold & clinical feeling synthesizers and the virtuoso guitars with the playful mandolin and BJ's sensual approach of the sometimes explicit lyrics.
Yes, with an albumtitle like this, the subjects are: that love and that relationship and all joys and problems that they bring. The entrance of guests is also a pleasant surprise, Marjolein van der Klauw (Powderblue) sings a duet with BJ, while Iain Matthews, Brian Webb and Eric DeVries each participate on one track in harmony- and backgroundvocals. Fourteen original songs indeed, convincingly using the American idiom, some more and a few less appealing to me. "Jenny And Frank" comes straight from everyday's life, "Patty's Poetry" was inspired by Patty Griffin and the best one is found all the way on the end: "One Way Street".
(For the music lovers who understand Dutch or don't mind the fact that they won't understand the lyrics at all, I can also recommend BJ's recent album "Verpand"!!)
Written by Johanna J. Bodde, Dutch original of this review previously published on Real Roots Cafe, The Netherlands.