Dale Rasmussen,
Raven's Wing
(Razzmusic, 2004)

Dale Rasmussen has a wonderfully seductive voice that is so well suited to his compositions on Raven's Wing. He notes that the album is a snapshot of the music that has been twirling around in his head for a while.

"Every Heartbeat" opens the CD and is a beautiful, laidback song weaving pictures as it progresses. He continues to mesmerize on the beautifully titled "Raven's Wing."

Each track on this album draws us deeper into the world of the writer and his thoughts. He is living proof that a song delivered in a simple, straightforward style can be every bit as epic as the many over-produced hits of the modern scene. For example, "In Your Eyes" is one of the best tracks on offer here. It is simplicity itself; thoughtful lyrics, easy arrangement and singing from the heart combine to jerk the tears. The album is worth buying just to have the thoughts and feelings of millions of us expressed so beautifully.

The amazing thing about this album as I listen to it over and over is that, although much of the sentiment centers on regret, it does not sound doleful and depressing. Rasmussen has a knack for telling our ordinary stories but making them if not happy, then at least pleasant. Nowhere is this gift more evident than on "Take Me for a Slow Dance." This album of 10 tracks will give you more joy and good feelings than many double albums. It is not a "slappy happy" offering. It is thoughtful, simple, spare and revealing as the best music should be.

Rasmussen wrote nine of the tracks but to my mind he rewrote another classic to give us a new song. Stephen Foster's wonderful "Hard Times" has been recorded by thousands of artists from the superstar to the touring minstrel. It is a song that I have loved in many arrangements from semi-classical to Irish traditional, but this is the best that I have not heard but experienced. It is a revelation to hear it sung as a beautiful simple folk song with guitar and a little harmonica. I want the world to hear this track.

by Nicky Rossiter
22 October 2005

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