Dan Craig Band - Alchemy
Record Label: Wirebird Music
Release Date: Aug. 30, 2010
One of the year's best roots-rock releases is from an unknown Colorado band with a generic and uninspiring name. And yet, Alchemy, the quartet's sixth release (in six years) is a potent, professional and deeply resonant collection of 10,
near-flawless Americana compositions.
Album opener "Sunday Morning," coasts from the very first note and never lets up. There's a freewheeling easiness here that far too few are able to master. When it ends a second past the two-minute mark, the fleeting experience leaves the listener wanting more. Thankfully, the profound "Touch is a Touch," follows and reveals Craig's true brilliance. Whereas many musicians tack on superfluous arrangements or overly emote, Craig seems to know understand restraint and swims his way through the piece exquisitely. After a dozen listens, it definitely gets cemented as one of the year's best songs. Similarly, the solemn "Solid Ground," draws on cello, mandolin and gorgeous backing vocals from Jessica Sonner to make its claim as the first half's most indelible listen. A mid-tempo meditation on hope, it's as tender as it is touching.
"Enough," begins with simple chords, gentle drums and the confession, "I am still enough for you to sink those lonely teeth into." Complemented by cello and Craig's raspy vocals, it's a stirring autumnal prayer about desperation and devotion that ends far too soon. The biblical yarn "Holy Moses," is arguably the disc's best, while title track "Alchemy," frolics with the same kind of precision, energy and passion that have made Britons Mumford and Sons so beloved the world over. Accentuated by a lilting cello, jangle acoustics and Craig's full-throated delivery, there's something undeniably magnetic about every passing second of said title-track.
The campfire singalong "Company of Friends," marries three-part harmony with old- school acoustic simplicity, while the rousing rocker 'Sheila, Don't Leave Me," offers up the disc's best chance at foot-stomping whimsy. The slow-rolling
six minute closer "Give It Away," ends the disc on a most hopeful not and firmly cements the Colorado native as one worth watching in 2011. And yet for all its charms and peaks, the jewel of Alchemy is Craig himself. He hangs on to vowels and spits out consonants with authority, belting with so much contained conviction one has to wonder just how personal and deep these songs truly are.
In the end, Craig and his cohorts have crafted a genius and gorgeous disc that points to the rise of a new talent.If this disc doesn't turn some heads, God help us all.