The new debut album from Dan Raza

Dan has already established a considerable reputation on the UK singer songwriter and folk roots scene. His distinctive approach has won him many fans and led to his supporting Joan Armatrading on a recent European tour, as well as opening for artists such as Mary Gauthier, Badly Drawn Boy, Cara Dillon, Chris Farlowe and Slaid Cleaves at concerts throughout the UK and USA. He also had a song, Every Little Dog endorsed by Neil Young when Shakey chose it for his ‘Living with War’ website.

His live performances are noted for their strong emotional impact and his songs are informed by literary influences such as Ben Okri and also the influence of painters like Marc Chagall. Indeed, Dan’s songs receive colourful treatment on this his first album. From the enigmatic longing of 40 Miles to the vibrant energy of Cool Dark Night and No-One Shed A Tear, the intense originality of his writing is balanced by strong and varied musical texture.

Dan is of mixed Indian and British origin. Many of his songs draw on images from his turbulent childhood and reflect on a search for belonging that remains elusive. There is a wistfulness and yearning at the heart of his writing which reveals itself strongly in songs like Home, Again. The lyrics of this track look back on his journey since moving away from his native Bedfordshire as a teenager and see him trying to make peace with his roots. In a similar vein is Rivertown which follows one man’s restless spirit as he travels through the rubble of the past trying to make sense of where he’s been so he can see where he’s going. The song has an almost supernatural quality and lyrics that fuse otherworldly images with an undertone of loss: ‘help me sweep the ashes from the floor/help me see the way I did before.’ The record concludes with the beautiful closing track, Can’t Go Back, which features the West African Griot musician, Mosi Conde, on kora. Written in Texas while on tour, it was inspired by the themes of displacement he heard in so many country songs while there and the personal experience of leaving behind all he knew, to follow someone, only to see it come apart.

A chance meeting at a gig in South London led Dan to record his debut album with Charlie Hart, who has worked previously with Ronnie Lane, Ian Dury, Eric Clapton and Mose Allison. It features a stellar array of guest appearances from Geraint Watkins (Van Morrison, Paul McCartney), BJ Cole (Dolly Parton, Martin Simpson) Steve Simpson (Eric Bibb, Ronnie Lane), Frank Mead (Albert King, Eric Clapton) and Mosi Conde (Mory Kante, Salif Keita).

Dan Raza has waited a long time to make his first full album after earning plaudits from some of the most notable songwriters on both sides of the Atlantic. There is no doubt he has a lot of promise. This is the first clue to what he might do with it.

 “One of the best support acts I’ve seen in two or three years…an artist that makes you take note and listen to the songs.” Slaid Cleaves

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Artist Web link: www.danraza.com

Graham Robins – THE SHIPPING NEWS

THE SHIPPING NEWS is the brand new album release on The Global Sessions Label by singer songwriter Graham Robins emphasising his love of soul, blues, country and Gospel music along with the occasional dip into Celtic and Folk; all delivered in his signature rich deep voice. The album takes the listener on a journey into the heart and soul of a singer songwriter who has composed a well crafted collection of songs that underpins an experience and love of roots music in all its many forms.

Stand out cuts include the stunning title track The Shipping News, where Graham’s vocal delivery teases every emotion, guaranteed to move the listener, the pedal steel led Now All Of The Heartache’s Gone, the soulful Snow Blindand emotionally charged Roll Back The Years, but special mention must be made of the stunning Drown In Your Eyes which really shows a songwriter at the top of his game. This is an album of twelve killer songs, no fillers here.

Graham Robins truly is an outstanding singer songwriter and live performer, with two previous albums under his belt, SPIRIT WITHIN and ROLL BACK THE YEARS but with THE SHIPPING NEWS he has taken his recorded output to another level. Graham’s soulful voice and unique guitar style knit together perfectly wrapped around lyrics gathered from a lifetime of experience. Whether performed live or on record, his delivery becomes a passionate embrace of his heartfelt songs, revealing great depth and sincerity.

The album was recorded at the Echo Studios in Buckingham and was produced by Graham himself. Graham, who plays electric and acoustic guitars, harmonica and supplies lead vocals, is joined by guest musicians Stuart Buckle on Dobro and guitar, Dave Baldwin on keyboards (Van Morrison, Chris Farlowe, James Hunter, Larry Garner, The Norman Beaker Band), John Devine who supplies Uillean pipes (Wild Willy Barratt, Sleeping Dogs), Olly Dowlen on upright bass (Don Mescal, writer for Ronan Keating), Mark Burr on drums, Rol Walker on percussion, Cliff Weston gives us pedal steel, Cliff Ward on violin and not forgetting Jade Rhiannon Ward on backing vocals.

Graham Robins has been performing live and recording music since the mid 1960’s and has played at The Edinburgh Festival, The North Devon Music Festival, The Castlebar International Blues Festival and The Westport Arts Festival. He has shared the stage with numerous artists including The Waterboys, Seth Lakeman, Glen Tilbrook, Georgie Fame and Chris Farlowe. He was a 2008 Indie Award Nominee and tours the U.K. and Ireland regularly either solo or with his band and also with virtuoso guitarist and former Van Morrison sideman Ronnie Johnson. At London’s Borderline as part of Shana Morrison’s 2007 UK tour they performed together on Van Morrison’s Sometimes We Cry to great acclaim.

With influences that are vast and eclectic that go way back to the days of tuning into Radio Luxembourg and Radio Caroline, listening to Stax, Motown and Atlantic Records and with a love of artists with cross border musical links, it comes as no surprise that THE SHIPPING NEWS is an album covering many musical genres.

Graham Robins is constantly playing live shows up and down the UK and to support the release of THE SHIPPING NEWS will be touring the UK over the winter of 2011/2012.

Release date – November 7th 2011 on the Global Sessions label…

“Magical rootsy stuff, gloriously uplifting and with atmosphere by the spadefull!”

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