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          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

 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

 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

 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

 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

 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

 Meadow Run  - Artist: Clarelynn Rose,   Label: Heartwood Music

Guitarist extraordinaire 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

 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

 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

 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

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