The Rattling Wheel is the fifth CD release from Australian singer-songwriter, Derrin Nauendorf. This came as a surprise to me from the moment I heard Derrin’s resonant guitar tones on the album opener, "Universe Demands." How had I not heard of this guy before?
Derrin’s story is a long and interesting one. He has been working relentlessly for the past five years. Since arriving in the UK, he's been booking all his own gigs, living in an old Post office van, and selling over 12,000 albums without any backing from a record label, manager, or agent. All the hard work now seems to have paid off with the music world finally beginning to wake up and pay attention to the noise Derrin Nauendorf is making.
The album is a blend of foot tapping, gutsy, blues acoustica and melancholy folky ballads. Nauendorf’s voice is reminiscent of fellow singer-songwriters, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan and, surprisingly, at times, Bruce Springsteen. Yet, he possesses a raw, explosive intensity that is unmistakably his own. Another of his trademarks, is his poetic, emotionally-charged lyrics. Some of the most affecting and fascinating I’ve heard in a long time, placing him in the same league as Neil Young, Tom Waits, and arguably even Dylan. The Rattling Wheel is Derrin’s first release with a full backing band, and this lends his songs an extra dynamic, complimenting each one perfectly.
The majority of the album is comprised of songs from Derrin’s back-catalogue, rearranged to better suit a full band sound, and re-invigorated so they almost seem like new tracks. There are only two new tracks on the album, and they stand up well against Nauendorf’s previous efforts. My personal favourites are "Universe Demands", "Shipwrecked", and "Queensland", but there is no weak link here and the album moves from strength to strength until its end. Then you play it again.
I really cannot praise this CD enough and if you are looking for the kind of songwriting sensibilities the current music scene is lacking, then look no further. The answer is Derrin Nauendorf.