RJ Lannan's Top Ten Albums for 2005
Once again the planet stopped its rotation for a day or two while
tragedy reared its ugly head. No one can ever get back their sense
of security from the elements after what the tsunamis, earthquakes
and Katrina and other tragic tempests unleashed upon us. The war rages
on and we pray daily for the safety for all. What we have left to
succor us are family, faith and music. We must keep one eye to the
heavens and one at our backs and pray we are prepared for our fates.
This music is the very best that has touched hearts and helped heal
our spirits, if only for a moment, as the planet continues to spin.
As usual, these choices are in no particular order, but I took
pleasure in them all. For more information on the recordings see
their reviews in the Sounding Board section.
- R J Lannan
Ocean: Songs for the Night Sea Journey - Artist: Jennifer Cutting, Label: Sun Sign Records
After an arduous seven long years,
Ocean: Songs for the Night Sea Journey, Jennifer Cutting's extraordinary
album of a nautical journey, sails into our hearts and spirits to bring us
joy, peace and pleasure. The Celtic-based melodies are so pleasing and
unique that we really have no fear that the world is flat. To the rigging!
Best track: My Grief on the Sea.
1 Voice - Artist: Seay
Label: Tuscan Sun Music
We were blessed with the exalted
voice of newcomer Seay this year. Her album 1 Voice is a wondrous blend of organic and Celtic
elements that produces some truly delightful music. There are songs for our every mood and our
many dreams. We await her next album with true anticipation. Best track: Angelica.
The Other Life I Dream - Artist:
Timothy Crane, Label: Eagles Nest
If strength in music could be
measured, then Timothy Crane would be responsible for a truly Herculean effort with
his album The Other Life I Dream. He is a purveyor of unusual clarity.
His contemporary music offers a portrait of lyrical beauty and deep serenity as he
infuses his passion and faith into every note. Best track: The Poetic Fields
Touch the Sun - Artist: Eric McCarl
, Label: Weaving Libra Records
Eric McCarl's third and final episode of his Trilogy of Light series
culminates with one of his best works ever, Touch the Sun. McCarl tunefully
awakens the strong spirit and courage that slumbers in all of us. He takes us
full circle though the onerous journey of life with the belief than we can
achieve. Inspirational. Best track: My Father.
Touch - Artist: Falling You, Label: Magnatune / Fossil Dungeon
Never was I more pleased than to be introduced to musical genius John Michael
Zorko's album Touch. Featuring six excruciatingly impassioned and inspired
female composer/vocalists and Zorko's amazing musical collaborations, the
unique consequence is almost impossible to categorize except to say that are
all outstanding. Best track: Less Likely to Believe.
West of Eden - Artist: Vance Sheaks, Label: Imagineer Records
Deeply romantic and
thought-provoking, guitarist and composer Vance Sheaks gave us incredible
beauty with his album West of Eden. Ethereal voice, guitar synthesizer
and a haunting score to many of the songs, the music will leave you breathless.
This album is far from the ordinary and most welcome to the soul. Best track: A Gentle Summer Rain.
Meadow Run - Artist: Clarelynn Rose, Label: Heartwood Music
Clarelynn Rose presents her album Meadow Run. It is chock full of pastoral
beauty with Celtic and World inspired tunes that feature her astonishing guitar
playing. She sweats the details to produce intricate themes that will lull the
spirit into a world of warmth and beauty. One of the best surprises of the year.
Best track: Night Tide.
Lingering Light - Artist: Jeff Pearce, Label: Jeff Pearce Music
Take a very unusual
instrument, The Chapman Stick; add some creative compositions that touch the
heart and mix in a bit of musical genius and you have guitarist Jeff Pearce's
release Lingering Light. Such a soothing sound was never heard until Jeff
touched the frets and we are rewarded with an album peaceful, flowing splendor
that really does take you away. Best track: In the Quiet Days Before.
Elements Series: Air, Earth, Fire, and Water - Artist: Peter Kater, Label: Real Music
Pianist and composer Peter Kater astonished me with his 4-disc series of albums
The Elements Series: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. I have enjoyed a lot of
acoustic music to date, but I have never heard a more consistent, more relaxing
and more seamless series that remains so true to the adult contemporary/New Age
genre. Best track: Earth: Celestine.
A Quiet Revolution: 30 Years of Windham Hill
- Artist: Various Artists,
Label: Windham Hill/ Legacy
The best of the best are showcased in this ground breaking 2-disc anthology by new
and old Windham Hill artists on A Quiet Revolution. You can musically follow
the birth, growth and maturation of one of the biggest and best labels in the genre.
Everyone from founder/guitarist Will Ackerman to legendary pianist George Winston to
newcomers Jim Brickman and the subdudes. This is musical history.
Best track: Aerial Boundaries.
2006 can only mean a
better year for the music that we love. No matter how many terrific albums are
released with their positive messages of beauty, love and spirit each year,
somehow it never seems enough.
True Peace in 2006.
-R J Lannan