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Dan Keusal | All Along

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Folk: Modern Folk Pop: Delicate Moods: Type: Acoustic
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All Along

by Dan Keusal

Thoughtful, reflective lyrics accompanied by tasteful acoustic guitars, a little bass, warm vocals, & lush harmonies.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Healing Heart
5:05 $0.99
clip
2. All Along
3:41 $0.99
clip
3. The Only Way Out
4:07 $0.99
clip
4. Somewhere Between
4:33 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
After more than 20 years of entertaining audiences from Vermont to California, Seattle-based singer-songwriter Dan Keusal offers his first CD, "All Along." The CD's compositions feature thoughtful lyrics that build bridges from everyday concerns to life's deeper levels.

The music is subtly acoustic, ranging in style from the flowing, alternate-tuning, fingerstyle guitar of "Healing Heart" to the rhythmic, jazzy title cut.

The full range of Keusal's influences can be heard on this album, from his early love of James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg, to his emulation of jazz guitar greats like Charlie Byrd and Joe Pass (who once gave Keusal an impromptu guitar lesson during intermission a a concert!), to the textured steel-string instrumentals of Eric Tingstad and Alex De Grassi.

A lifelong student of acoustic, modern-folk style guitar, Keusal also studied jazz for a year and a half at the Griggs School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia. On this CD, Keusal is backed by a stellar group of Seattle-based musicians, including Ken Calandra, Stephen Kayser, Mark Iler, Larry Murante, and Walter White.

Scroll down for 1) reviews in the media 2) notes and lyrics for each song 3) reviews from listeners! If you'd like to write a review of "All Along," scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page!

* * * * *

From Richard Middleton's Review of "All Along,"
in "Victory Review--Acoustic Music Review Magazine":

"Keusal is known for his thoughtful, contemporary folk songs, smooth fingerpicking, and gentle vocals, and all are showcased nicely on this intimate recording, which he co-produced with Janis Carper. The sound is warm and inviting, especially when he's joined by pals such as Ken Calandra, Mark Iler, and Larry Murante on vocal harmonies. 'Healing Heart' features some particularly nice three-part vocal arranging, as does 'The Only Way Out.' The latter provides some of the album's songwriting highlights, with a well-crafted chorus that encourages us to find the courage to face our fears: 'The only way out is in/the only way back is through.' The graceful simplicity of the melody and guitar arrangement here works beautifully. The title track features a bright, up-tempo folk-pop arrangment with jazz-influenced chord changes, some nice lead guitar work by Calandra and Stephen Kayser, and Walter White's solid bass. It also features Keusal's strongest vocal performance on the CD, where he relaxes and sings with greater command and a natural sense of phrasing. A fine debut from a talented and warm-hearted local artist."

* * * * *

Healing Heart:

I wrote "Healing Heart" in 1993 as part of the work for my master's degree in counseling. Instead of a "thesis," we were asked to do an "Integration Project," which had to demonstrate in some right-brain (i.e. creative, non-scholarly) way what we'd learned about or integrated in two years of graduate school. I wrote "Healing Heart" to characterize counseling and life as a journey, a journey in which both the counselor and the client learn from each other. The faculty and my classmates loved the song. Since then, I've been asked to play "Healing Heart" for weddings, workshops, and many other contexts. I think a good song exceeds the conscious intentions of its composer, taking on a life of its own and evoking things for listeners that the composer hadn't considered. For guitar players, "Healing Heart" is played by putting the guitar in "Open D" tuning (DADF#AD), then placing a capo on the first fret (so the song sounds in the key of Eb). Ken Calandra and Mark Iler had to twist my arm to let them try some harmonies on this tune; I'd always felt it was a solo piece. Listen to the CD (or the sound clip below), hear what they came up with, and you'll understand why I can no longer imagine this song without their harmonies.

HEALING HEART
Music & Lyrics © 2001 Dan Keusal (BMI)

On a journey beneath the guide
Of an ever-changing sky
I have paused to wonder
Inside? Outside?

For the grist grinds the millstone as well
The changer and the changed
And the writer is born from the word
Singer when the song is heard
I hear
My song
So near

Can there be a healing heart
In this heart of mine?
Brought together here with you
Gathering all the broken parts
Giving each their time
Treasures here I never knew

You are more than a mirror to me
In the alchemy of soul
Past the boundaries of either/or
I can open spirit's door
And find there
Right now
Right here

Can there be a healing heart
In this heart of mine?
Brought together here with you
Gathering all the broken parts
Giving each their time
Treasures here I never knew

For all that is gold does not glitter
Not all who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither
Deep roots are not reached by the frost*

Can there be a healing heart
In this heart of mine?
Brought together here with you
Gathering all the healing parts
Giving each their time
Treasures here I never knew

(* lyrics to the bridge are from a poem in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings)

* * * * *

All Along:

"All Along." I wrote "All Along" in March of 1985, while I was studying jazz guitar at the Griggs School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia. Back then I wanted to be the next Charlie Byrd or Joe Pass. "All Along" doesn't put me anywhere near that company, but the chord changes echo my love of jazz more than any of my other compositions. Lyrically, it reflects on some of my favorite themes--that "we're all part of a story," that uncertainty is a part of any good story, and that while community is an essential part of being human, the spark of soul can ultimately be found deep inside our own hearts rather than "out there" somewhere. For guitar players, "All Along" is in standard tuning, with no capo, in the key of E (although the key changes often, and I'm playing chords in positions up and down the neck). On the recording, my friends really brought this song to life--the lively guitar leads of Stephen Kayser & Ken Calandra, the soaring vocal harmonies of Larry Murante, and solid, swinging bass of Walter White all bring out the joy that is at the heart of this tune.

ALL ALONG
Music & Lyrics © Dan Keusal 2001 (BMI)

Yellow sun and breezy blue sky
Seem to fit the mood today
And though I'm far from feeling carefree
I know he's around

Lately life seems so overwhelming
It's almost more than I can bear
There's questions I don't have answers for
I need more time

But when I let go of my worry
And begin to believe there's something more
I still do not have all the answers
But I begin to hear the chord

You see we're all part of a story
It's unfolding all around us everywhere
Billions of people on a journey
We can't see to where

But enter in the master storyteller
As she gently unfolds every theme
And as we learn to trust we realize
Life is not the fragment it can seem

I'm not saying it's easy
Or that everything will always be so clear
When you feel that there's no meaning
Just hang in there

'Cause we have got to keep on reaching
Though when it comes to living there
The assurances are harder come by
Oh, that's why we need

Other folks to share the journey
To walk beside us in the darkness and the dawn
We might find that all the answers
Were hidden deep inside us all along.

* * * * *

The Only Way Out:

"The Only Way Out." This song, very simply, is about going into and through the hard places in life, and coming out the other side with a deeper wisdom. Written in the fall of 1991, it has become a favorite of those attending my performances. For guitar players, "The Only Way Out" is played in standard tuning, in the key of D. Harmonies by Ken Calandra and Stephen Kayser, and a subtly beautiful second guitar part by Ken fill out the arrangement on the CD.


THE ONLY WAY OUT
Music & Lyrics © 2001 Dan Keusal (BMI)

She sang with passion and she moved so free
I longed to know her, and to have her know me
But all I'm knowing is an empty space
A lingering lonely that I would erase

But the only way out is in
The only way back is through
The only way to move is to be where you are
Stay in the feeling it will not do you harm
It will lead you into your fear
Beyond what you now can see
Into the fire
Of your desire
Only then will it set you free

I am more inclined to turn away
To bury the feeling
When to me it says
"I must take you where you would not go
Into the empty, and there I will show

That the only way out is in
The only way back is through
The only way to move is to be where you are
Stay in the feeling it will not do you harm
It will lead you into your fear
Beyond what you now can see
Into the fire
Of your desire
Only then will it set you free
Only then will it set you free

* * * * *

Somewhere Between:

"Somewhere Between." The oldest of all the songs on my CD, "Somewhere Between" was written in December of 1983 to reflect the differences between my experience of relationship and the messages I was hearing about relationship from the pop culture around me. Romance is one of life's sweetest pleasures, but relationships take hard work too. The lyrics say the rest. For guitar players, "Somewhere Between" is played in standard tuning, capo on the first fret, playing chords in the key of D (i.e. sounding in the key of Eb). To keep the intimate, introspective feel of this song, I added to the basic guitar and vocal tracks on the CD only a single harmony line and a few bars of simple lead guitar (much of which is done with "harmonics," which provide the light, "chime" sounds at the beginning and end of the song).

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN
Music & Lyrics © 2001 Dan Keusal (BMI)

Love in my world is not like the love songs
You hear on the radio
Somewhere between euphoria and heartbreak
A real man and woman try to grow
Drawn by the things that are dear
Pricked by the things that divide
Each being fully ourselves
Without leaving us compromised

Started by romance, and drawn on by wonder
By sharing or fear or by need
Fed by a friendship embracing the time spent
The roots of love spring from the seed
Not just a glow that you feel
Love's a commitment to try
Facing a world that is real
And sharing a joy you can't hide

The love that we've shared has come through it's own cycle
We're back beyond where we began
A little less naïve, and wiser for the wear
Not sure if it's part of the plan
So we continue to live out our days
Trying to watch for the signs
Free to go on or delay
Or even to say our goodbyes

Love in my world is not like all the love songs
You hear on the radio
Somewhere between euphoria and heartbreak
A real man and woman try to grow
Drawn by the things that are dear
And now working through things that divide
Each being fully ourselves
And still sharing a joy we can't hide.

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Reviews


to write a review

Dave Walters

warm sincere superbly crafted songs
beautiful songs well sung and written.
an absoloute gem-there must be room for music as good as
this.
Dan's early influences were James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg
-anybody who loves that style of superb songwritng and
singing will love this...
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