Most people remember Brian Vander Ark as the front man of The Verve Pipe, who broke through with the song The Freshmen. What most people don’t know is that he has been pursuing a rather prolific solo career. While his solo work is a little less rock and a little more adult contemporary/singer-songwriter/alt country (in the vein of the Old 97’s), it still maintains noticeable ties to earlier work from The Verve Pipe.
With “angel put your face on” (2006) Brian made an album that sounds very true to the musician he wants to be. This is in interesting contrast to the last record from The Verve Pipe which he very publicly bashed at the time as being the record the label wanted as opposed to what he wanted. It’s a shame though that so many people don’t know about the solo work, and among those that do there are a strangely large number that don’t know about The Verve Pipe connection until they see him play live. Granted he looks a little different now, no longer being bleach blond, but it is really odd that people don’t know the connection.
The highlight of “angel put your face on” is track 2, “Too good for this world”, a beautiful ode to the passing of a friend. Track 10, “The heart that keeps you” screams desperately to be covered by someone like Faith Hill who could bring worldwide attention to this solid songwriting like she did for Angie Aparo’s “Cry”. This record is just one entry in Brian’s solo catalog and I would encourage you to check out the rest. His myspace is http://www.myspace.com/brianvanderark, from which you can preview and purchase his work.