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CD REVIEW: Ben Krahne, "Dare to Believe"
By David Lockeretz - 01/20/2003 - 05:03 PM EST

Artist: Ben Krahne
Album: "Dare to Believe"
CD Review: Depending on how you look at it, Ben Krahne is either twenty years too late or too early. His traditional brand of country music doesn't come out of much of today's scene--and that, of course, is not a bad thing.

It doesn't take an Einstein of a pop ethnomusicologist to discern that today's so-called country music has more or less taken the place of what, back in the 80s, was called pop. So it would hold true that amidst a scene of perfectly sculpted stars such as Faith Hill, Terri Clark, Tim McGraw and others who have replaced the idols of the 80s and 90s, Ben Krahne would be somewhat of an anomaly.

The good news is that there is tight musicianship on this CD and a good variety of material, ranging from swing blues to country rock to ballads. The bad news is that the songwriting really needs some work, and that Krahne's voice often sounds perilously close to that of Elvis.

Listening to these songs, one gets the sense that maybe Krahne doesn't get out much. The lyrics all cover very familiar ground and many of the rhymes are extremely predictable. His songs often sound like Jim Croce without the insight or (1980s) Brian Setzer without the attitude.

While pretty much the entire CD is incredibly happy, Krahne seems to do better with the slower, more introspective material such as the ballad "Indescribable, Undefinable Love", which comes off as thankful and grateful, rather than mercenarily cheerful. Perhaps the key is for Krahne to mix the influence of traditional country music with a more contemporary mentality; he needs to develop a more original sound to become a leading artist. With all of the changes that the music business seems to throw at its audience, sooner or later Ben Krahne's number will come up and his music will reach a wider audience who will learn that there was, in fact, life before Shania Twain.

For more information about Ben Krahne, visit www.benkrahne.com.


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