Stunning album by Harrogate's king of keyboards Dan Burnett

Reaching higher ground - Musician Dan Burnett who has just released a wonderful new album.
Reaching higher ground - Musician Dan Burnett who has just released a wonderful new album.

Review: Flying Solo (album) by Dan Burnett

It’s still possible to catch the hard-gigging Dan Burnett performing in the bars of Harrogate but his stunning new album Flying Solo shows his music now belongs to the wider world.

Spoon-fed the blues, soul, funk and rock as a youngster by his father, who was also a successful musician, this intimate collection of original songs doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel.

What it does is show is how far this talented keyboard player, singer and songwriter has made those influences his own.

With Flying Solo, Burnett is now reaching higher ground.

Nominated for an award in the British Blues Awards for keyboard player of the year in 2016, Burnett brings his own searching personality to a quietly English version of New Orleans and Memphis.

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For the most part on this album, whose sub-title Songs From A Turbulent Decade speaks for itself, it’s just Dan and his keyboards.

Boasting a strong voice, a subtle touch and liquid fingers, Flying Solo is worth buying for its memorable opening track Good For The Wallet/Bad For The Soul alone.

Does it sound a bit like a bluesier version of Stevie Wonder in the days of classic albums like Talking Book?

Sure. But, like the rest of this well-measured album, it makes its points both musically and lyrically with intelligence. Never one to indulge in the over-emotive, rinky-tink wiffle waffle of a lot of the stuff on Jazz FM, Flying Solo shows Burnett to be a master of succinct precision.

Even Burnett’s impressive command of the keyboards is used sparingly.

Rather than a lot of woah woahs and clichéd soul cliches, Burnett’s songs question himself, the people around him and, in the deliciously barbed anti-Trump song Wrong Guy For The Gig, society as a whole.

And he has the good sense to pepper the deep blues-soul template of Flying Solo with lighter moments.

Lost sees his acoustic guitar skills brought to the fore in a lovely, echoing, windswept instrumental.

Gone In A Flash is a a jaunty toe tapper while the final track, Miss You Letter ends matters on a skiffly upbeat band.

Subtle, sophisticated, with Flying Solo Dab Burnett has moved streets ahead of the competition.

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