Dan Raza 'Self-titled' Auralee

There is an element of celtic soul infused into Raza's blend of wistful folk-roots, an gentle approach that is subtle and effective. It can have an immediate effect on such songs as Dark Side Of The Road, where he sounds like he would appeal to Van Morrison fans. His delivery is softer and his messages effective in their non-agressive stance. Produced by Charlie Hart, who also plays a number of instruments throughout gives a totally sympathetic setting for these songs. There are a host of renowned players involved in this London recorded album, guests include BJ Cole, Steve Simpson, Geraint Watkins and Ed Deane. All underscore the songs sentiments in a way that is wholly pleasant and easy on the ear. This is again an album that should be viewed as a body of songs. But, obviously, some songs immediately hit home such as the six minuets plus Home, Again which has a nostalgia for people and place returned to even if the person doing so feels an outsider on returning. In some ways Can't Go Back returns to this theme from a different perspective as does Rivertown which unfolds a tale of seeing old friends and old flames over a flowing track of low whistle, slide guitar and organ that is as thoughtful as the song's sense of the warmth - the warmth that is associated with meeting old friends. Can't Go Back is effective in its voice, guitar and kora setting that closes an album that has a warm, sunlit quality that will hit home with many who will take the time to sit back in listen in a world that is often at odds with Raza's quiet sense of place.