Not too many artists can boast a boost from a legend like Neil Young, who put Raza's song Every Little Dog on his Living The War website. Now Dan Raza is back with the appropriately named Two, following up from his self-titled debut album. Born in India but raised in the Home Counties, Raza's music is infused with traditional folk, but with a definite blues influence. Comparisons have been made with the likes of Van Morrison, and it's easy to see why.
Silent's The Night Wind is a great opener to the album, beautiful with a gentle melody that showcases Raza's emotional delivery. The rest of the record is impressively varied in terms of style, from the roots rock Pay Day, reminiscent of Ryan Adams, to the classic country vibe on Midnight And The Wine. He even closes out with the very Celtic sounding Galway Lights, which while not in the Irish Folk mould, is a peaceful and intimate way to end.
There are some real highlights on the album. The pick perhaps is Where The Rivers Divide, with it's almost Bob Dylanesque vocals. It builds wonderfully, as gentle and meandering as any country river, accompanied by some soulful organ work. Shadowlands is a passionate Neil Young type track, full of intensity. Drifting is a warm song for a cold day, giving you the music equivalent of stretching your feet out towards an open fire.
Two is a diverse joy, and yet very well balanced. It may not break any new ground, but this is a joyous listen with some glorious and impressive highs. There is real depth and strength of emotion on display which makes this an album to come back to. Dan Raza is certainly an artist worth keeping an eye (and an ear) on.
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