Words by Nathaniel Handy
When the folk-rocker from Mysore, Raghu Dixit, launched himself on an unsuspecting world in 2008, he didn’t take no for an answer. His combination of late-60s blues-rock, violin-driven folk rock, traditional sounds and huge grin made for a very accessible new Indian sound. This follow-up has therefore been eagerly awaited. From the opening bass thud, this is an album that conjures visions of early Led Zeppelin – only with a twist. This time the John Bonham bass beat is on a dhol drum and the country slide-guitar sound is a sarod. This is the great strength of Dixit – to meld two worlds of sound so effortlessly and with such joy. It is reflected in his guest musicians, who include Soumik Datta on the sarod and flautist Navin Iyer alongside US clawhammer banjo player Abigail Washburn and Bellowhead brass duo Brendan Kelly and Andy Mellon. The lyrics are once again a mixture of Kannada poetry from the mystic poet Santa Shishunala Sharif and material from contemporary songwriters such as Madhan Karky and Ankur Tewari. Dixit can teeter close to cheesiness – this is the man who gave us ‘No Man Will Ever Love You Like I Do’ – but he has kept it cool enough to keep us wanting more.