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Music Review: Dan Craig – Alchemy

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So come on and let us hear the melody,
Of all those big mistakes.
Come on and sing it out,
Tell us what it’s all about.

Dan Craig’s sixth album in as many years is driven by lyrics that make you feel at home. It’s easy to feel as if you’re in the “Company of Friends,” the track from which the preceding lyrics came.

Extensive touring across the United States as well as abroad has helped the Denver, Colorado, native develop a loyal following.  His current tour schedule, however, only lists one upcoming show, no doubt due to the studio demands of yet another album due out in time for Christmas.

Alchemy, on the Wirebird Music label, opens with the mellow, mood-setting, “Sunday Morning,” establishing the setting for the nine tracks that follow: a quiet warm place to be where it’s “just like Sunday morning here with you.”  Then there’s a reminder that with Craig, you’re on “Solid Ground,” a place where even your failures make you feel free.

In contrast to other independent recordings I’ve reviewed this year, Craig and his band have assembled a dynamic collection of thoughtful lyrics and ten tracks noteworthy for top notch production values.  For some reason, I was expecting an “unplugged” solo effort and pleasantly surprised with an ensemble (including cello and mandolin) and background singers.

The title track breaks the gentle moods of the album with an edginess in the lyrics and an urgency in the pace that explores the possibilities of transforming something common into something special—the definition of “alchemy.”  “I am the silence of sound. I’m water and wine. I’m standing right on the line,” he sings.  “Alchemy” closes on an exuberant high note of realization that change is not only possible, but has happened.

In addition to himself, Craig’s band includes Geoff Burghardt on mandolin, Seth Donovan on cello, Mike Hall on drums, and Jessica Sonner on piano and background vocals. The August release of Alchemy was celebrated with an event at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver and is now available both from iTunes and Amazon.com.

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