By Jim Rowland

Artwork for You Can Get Dark With Me by Rich RaganyThis time without his Digressions, Calgary Canada born, New York City seasoned, and now ÜK-based songsmith Rich Ragany takes the solo path with new album ‘You Can Get Dark With Me’, an album that promises to get more up close and personal to the man than ever before.

After the big, dramatic productions of The Digressions’ albums of recent years, with ‘You Can Get Dark With Me’, Ragany has gone for a much more stripped down approach and to ‘deconstruct to reconstruct’.

Much of the core of these recordings started life as home recordings with acoustic guitar and basic mic technology, before transferring to a ‘proper’ studio under the eye of producer Andy Brook to add studio-grade bass and drums from Simon Maxwell and Ricky McGuire and some further experimentation. Finally, travelling back to Ragany’s original home town of Calgary, Canadian Country Music Award winning producer Russell Broom added some finishing touches to a few of the tracks.

With ten tracks clocking in at just over the 30-minute mark, ‘You Can Get Dark With Me’ is a succinct album further showcasing Rich Ragany’s considerable skills in heartfelt, soulful and often dark-leaning song writing. A distinct country twang courses through the album, from the up tempo rousing rocker ‘Empty And Free’ which opens the album, to the mid-paced anthems of ‘Shine Around Me’, ‘Reach Out’ and ‘Tragic Celebration’, to the softer and slower title track.

The rather fine punk-tinged single ‘A Pleasant Fiction’ benefits from a guest appearance by guitarist Ken Mochikoshi-Horne of Los Angeles punk legends The Bronx, whilst ‘Sierra Bonita’ and ‘We’re Alive Anyway’ both have a brighter, more pop-leaning feel. Cream of the crop for me is the excellent ‘The Great Nothing’, with clever, twisted electric guitar work and a punchy, harsher sound.

The slightly different approach taken with this album adds another string to Rich Ragany’s already impressive bow. The production may be more low-key and the music a bit less hard hitting, but the quality shines through.

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