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In 2018 my good friend Olav furnished me with a copy of Doug Rausch’s second album which had recently been released. Some months later Doug tracked me down and we started having regular contact. During that period, I mentioned that I hadn’t heard the debut, and if he would like it reviewed… So, although ‘Book II’ was released in 2018, ‘Rausch’ actually came out as long ago as 2009, and we are now in the 10th anniversary year. In some ways I find it incredibly surprising there was such a gap between the two, and in other ways possibly not so much. I have lost count of how many times I have played this album recently but know that it is a great deal many more times than I would normally for something I was planning to review. Doug is first and foremost a pianist and came to public attention when Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) heard a college demo and then asked him to perform in the very first Keyfest. This helped in attracting guitarist/bassist Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery) with drums provided by Joe Novolo and Doug everything else, while Rich Mouser (Neal Morse, Spock’s Beard, Dream Theater) was also involved. The result is an album, where piano is often at its heart, combined with some stunning guitar, and a mix of styles which should be said to be eclectic. Imagine Wheatus combined with Queen, mixing it up with Bowling For Soup, with some Galahad or IQ thrown in for good measure, topped up with a little Pallas, and you may get close to what this album is like. It is light, it is joyous, and every time I play it I enjoy it just that little bit more. The balladlike “B.P.M.S.” is acoustic, gentle, and totally irreverent. It is a Seventies album to its very core, and will be enjoyed by anyone who wants to search it out. Doug has a new website, so visit it, stream some songs and see what I making a fuss about. This is fun, and sometimes that is all I want from my music.
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