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The Portable Herman Dune - Vol. 1

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'The Portable Herman Dune' Vol. 1 is an acoustic anthology, the first of three parts, in which 22 years of songwriting are laid bare, stripped to the most intimate bone, to be released at intervals over the coming months. Though sonically naked, the songs are bundled up in emotion and loaded with life. Centre-stage are David Ivar's songs, with his 1954 guitar, his 1930s mandolin, and his voice, plus exceptional guests: Julie Doiron, Mayon (Ivar's life partner), Caitlin Rose, Jolie Holland, and Kimya Dawson providing vocal counterpoint. 'The Portable Herman Dune' is raw and straightforward, the songs played as naturally as David wrote them. His voice has become more gravelly after two decades of singing, and his guitar is without embellishment. The same guitar - his 1954 Gibson LG, - and one mandolin, a 1930s Kalamazoo A-shape mandolin that Ivar bought with Canadian Dollars from a show in Montreal, where he was stuck during the Travel Ban and played shows and recorded with his decades-long friend Julie Doiron. Some songs have accents of harmonica, upright bass, melodica, accordion, or piano, and two pieceshave the beautiful violin of Jolie Holland, with whom David was recording the soundtrack for Edouard Deluc's new Feature Film (Petaouchnok, meant for release in Nov.2022). Surprisingly, after years and countless performances worldwide with this minimal setting, it's the first time that we get such a sober treatment on a proper Herman Dune album. John Fahey, Elizabeth Cotten, Leadbelly, Nick Drake have always been favourites, and David learned to play guitar with Lennon's 'Working Class Hero' and Dylan's 'Don't Think Twice It's Alright'. "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should" is a principle Ivar often thought about while arranging and producing his own albums, "there's something to a raw song that you can't really beat," he says. "My favourite songs ones are the ones that made the cut as first takes. During the pandemic, I started to perform sets from my kitchen. A weekly rendez-vous with my fans simply called "The Sunday Transmission with Herman Dune." I'd typically do a 13-song set, read the horoscope, do raffles, and read poetry. It became the only way to express myself and do a set of consecutive songs. I got back in touch with my lyrics and voice. Playing from my own songbook was like re-discovering the tunes for the first time. Some songs really stood out as having gained strength and meaning, and I started thinking of recording them for an album. It felt like this was the way it should always have been. The more I recorded, the more songs I had on my hands, and I got more excited. I had more songs than could be listened to at once, and they were all so important to me, so I started thinking in Volumes." All the recordings were made live in David Ivar's wooden cabin of a studio in San Pedro, the harbor of Los Angeles. You can hear the old floorboards creaking, a dog barking, or the neighbours driving loud motorcycles.

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