reviewed by Elysse Cloma
When he was 18, Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Noah Derksen moved from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Vancouver, BC. His six-song album is a collection of work that describes his emotions, and draws inspiration from nature. On Man That I Am, Noah Dersken is bearing his all, attaching personal feelings to images of the natural world.
The album artwork on Man That I Am is a moody black-and-white image of a male figure (Derksen?) on a shoreline. It exudes a somber, yet sophisticated tone, which reflects the sense of depth and wisdom on Man That I Am. The intimate subject matter Derksen touches on is expressed through melodic, down-tempo folk songs that sound like lullabies. Complemented by tender string accompaniment and acoustic guitar, Derksen’s voice pierces with conviction and comforts like a serenade.
“Old Growth” features a soothing violin in the song’s chorus, evoking the melancholy that comes with realizing the mortality of even the oldest of trees in a lush, temperate rainforest. Title track “Man That I Am” is a mid-tempo folk song that waves goodbye to boyhood and being haunted by “old ghosts”. A careful guitar strums under Derksen’s sandy voice until an unassuming melodica solo caps off the song.
Serving as the soundtrack to coming of age on the beautiful West Coast, Man That I Am is a highly personal narrative of self-discovery.
Top Track: “The Man That I Am”
Rating: Young Hoot (Decent)