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Album Review

There's something intimate about putting two virtuosos together in the studio and allowing their musical geniuses to intertwine. The interplay and chemistry between the two players ultimately has more to do with the success of the project than one player's ability to deliver a hot solo. The Raven features the talents of guitarist Dean Magraw and multi-instrumentalist John Williams on an expansive set that covers both Celtic dance reels and folk-classical. Magraw's guitar supplies a steady thread from "Twin's Dance Party" to the title cut, while Williams' ability to switch from button accordion to flute to piano provides the duo with a great deal of versatility. The opener, "Twin's Dance Party/Sylvia's & Mikey's Reels," bounces along to the tune of a rhythmic guitar and lively accordion, while "Perdition Piano Duet" glides along to the intricate intermingling of guitar and piano. The combination of traditional pieces and original compositions, along with fresh arrangements, is a good mix. That some venders may file The Raven under easy listening is a misnomer. The album is quite mellow in places, but it never tempts one to meditate or go to sleep. Williams and Magraw have forged a fruitful partnership on The Raven, and the results are quite enjoyable. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Customer Reviews

Raven kicks, sizzles, and soars!

After seeing the Dreamworks film Road to Perdition, the haunting piano duet between Paul Newman and Tom Hanks stuck in my head. I heard that John Williams wrote Perdition Piano Duet and has been performing in acoustic concerts with guitar player Dean Magraw, so I basically bought the album for that tune. Man, there's a varied mix of stuff here between these two. Gypsy Queen is a barndance that kicks and almost sounds like it's from cajun country, but swingier. The originals are great workout, dance mix stuff especially Twins' Dance Party and Kilnamona. These guys really burn it up on LeNuit Savage and Alice's reel, and the title cut smolders and soars from ipod to headphones and back again. Adding to the lively vibe, the last 3 cuts were taped in front of an enthused crowd in concert and you can nearly imagine what it must be like to catch John Williams and Dean Magraw live. Raven is an uncommon gem that bears repeated listenings because of the nuances, tonal colors, polyrythyms, impeccable production, and shifting energies throughout the album. Williams and Magraw have mastered the duo art of allowing their formidable technique and styles to become transparent so that the joy and passion of this music can flow.

Great Live Performer

I just saw John at the UChicago Folk Festival and he was fantastic! Great music for all Anglophiles.

Raven, Dean Magraw
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