Bluesy, honest and often humorously clever, contemporary indie singer-songwriter and guitarist Ralf Dee’s latest album, Glück gehabt, or “Have Been Lucky,” was recorded entirely in German. But do fans need to speak the language of the song lyrics to really hear the music? Dee has created eleven new original acoustic tracks in a style that answers the question and more. Ironically, luck has nothing to do with it.
An Affable Style
The first thing that strikes you about Dee’s collection of songs is the deftly picked guitar work on each cut. The chord changes and timing are smoothly executed, while the lingering fretwork has an inviting Reverend Gary Davis-meets-Leonard Cohen-by-way of Harry Chapin quality, perhaps best evidenced on “Das kann doch nicht alles sein,” which loosely translated means “There Must Be More To It Than That.” There is more.
Of course, being a songwriter, the Pfaffenhofen, Bavaria-based artist, who plays a Cajon with a pedal during the album, brings a personalized view of things to the music, including the 4:29 “Herr Jentsch,” about an insurance agent selling various kinds of coverage that really is not needed. The background singing on the recording nicely accentuates the storytelling. According to Dee, the song’s tongue-in-cheek message ironically reveals how lucky he is that the agent “Cares so much about his [Dee’s] well-being.”
But the favorite of the bunch is “Dufte Zettel,” which has an acoustic Hot Tuna/Jorma Kaukonen feel. Love the close-up sound of the musician’s fingers moving on and off the strings. Another winner, “Der Akrobat,” evokes a Tim Hardin “Reason To Believe” appeal. “Verbranntes Land” (Burnt Land) is another folk-blues number. All in all, Ralf Dee’s Glück gehabt has a distinct unplugged manner that holds a listener’s attention. That alone, speaks for itself.