Dan Raza 2017
Indian-British troubadour makes a lyrical statement on a record that could be called sophomore if it wasn’t so mature.
When Neil Young featured this artist’s “Every Little Dog” on his “Living With War” website, it didn’t go to Dan Raza’s head; rather, it alerted the singer-songwriter to the exposure and the reach his works could have. As a result, the young musician refined his approach and arrangements to make them shine on a follow-up to his 2012’s debut.
Off to a humble beginning, with “Silent’s The Night Wind” cocooned in an intimate strum before it unfolds to a folk-spirited hymn to the quiet joys and Dan’s vocals grow in scope, his second album is full of warm welcome in a Big Pink way, although tracks such as “Don’t Shoot The Stars Down” channel distinctive English smile, and you half-expect your host to break into “Ooh La La” here – helped by the members of SLIM CHANCE. There may be a pastoral state of mind in “Back Down The Hill” which is embroidered with guitar lace and baroque piano, yet the Mozart-like strings open the heavy “Shadowlands” to much more dramatic possibilities.
Sometimes the flow is traditional, as suggested in the cosmic country ballad “Midnight And The Wine” where BJ Cole’s pedal steel shimmers, and in the almost chamber “Old Ways” that Gerraint Watkins’ organ interjections elevate to the level of timelessness, but, for all his misty-eyed romanticism, Raza’s no stranger to occasional razzle dazzle, “Payday” wiggling in a wild hoedown on a sawdust-covered floor to the accompaniment of fiery fiddles. The banjo-embellished fun is colored darkly in “Drifting” before optimistic tones seep into the song and take the record towards sunset, bringing about a sense of satisfaction. Simply titled, “Two” is that good.