River Of Souls

Dan Fogelberg

Full Moon/Epic, 1993


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Nineteen ninety-three found Dan Fogelberg at an interesting place in his career. After arguably his worst CD, 1987’s Exiles, he had returned with a strong effort in 1990, The Wild Places, and had found renewed energy in making his music be about things he really cared about; the environment, peace, and other political and social causes. Those influences continued and really jelled in his 1993 release, River Of Souls -- which in my opinion is the best album of his later career.

On my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 River Of Souls, Fogelberg is telling stories. From “Magic Every Moment” to “Faces Of America,” it’s about people that he’s seen, things that he’s encountered, and he paints strong, easily seen pictures with his songs. Musically, he was experimenting, branching out; he dabbles in Caribbean and African sounds as well as his more traditional ballads.  The sound is organic, evolving, and powerful, with real conviction in the music, and is shorn of the occasional arranging and overdubbing excesses that Fogelberg was occasionally prone to. It’s simple, and it works.

There’s not a bad track on River Of Souls. There are a couple of traditional Fogelberg ballads, and one of them -- “A Love Like This” -- is one of the loveliest things Dan ever wrote. “Holy Road” and “Serengeti Moon” have strong spiritual and rhythmic elements that echo “The Wild Places”. “The Minstrel,” a paean to Fogelberg’s love of the sea and his boat, is magnificent and hypnotic.  If you tied me down and forced me to name a favorite track, however, it would have to be the title track. “River Of Souls” is a haunting, mystical, and flamenco-accented story about walking to the Otherworld and seeing what you find there, a shamanic journey set to music, and it’s absolutely breathtaking. And the anthemic close of the CD, “A Voice For Peace,” is one man’s defiant insistence that there is another way besides mindless violence.

The saddest part of Fogelberg’s death is that there will be no more music like River Of Souls. Passionate, powerful, moving, thought-provoking, and a damned enjoyable listen, this is easily one of Fogelberg’s best albums.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Full Moon/Epic, and is used for informational purposes only.