A few years ago I got the tip, about going to a concert by Michael de Jong. That recommendation came from Terry Lee Hale, he had just played a double-bill with Michael in Paris and mailed: "He has some really great songs I think but he sure needs a little bit of happiness to heal the wounds." In the meantime I managed to attend two impressive concerts by Michael and this CD "23, Rue Boyer" -named after the address of the club in Paris, where a part of the recordings took place- links up seemlessly.
Michael, alone with his acoustic guitar and his literally genuine lyrics, performs with so much direct emotion and honesty, that it's sometimes almost embarrassing. There are not that many people left nowadays, who offer us a glimpse into their soul... Just when the subjects are getting too heavy, one of these dry remarks or little funny stories put everything back in perspective. About American presidents for instance. Or about the ship "Rotterdam" and the three passports; if anybody deserves a good biography, Michael does for sure!
This album, digipack featuring portraits by no less a photographer than Paul Levitton, starts off with a new song, "For Everyone", but also the classics "Neutral Ground" and "Immaculate Deception" are played, together with "Park Bench Serenade" and even an intense version of "All Along The Watchtower". Yes, I could say I admire Michael, not only for his unmistakable musical and poetic talents but also for his ability to pull himself by the skin of his own neck from the misery, over and over again.
Written by Johanna J. Bodde, Dutch original of this review previously published on Real Roots Cafe, The Netherlands.