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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
  Souvenirs by Christine Brown, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 1/23/2015
  Aquarian Dream by Carmen Rubino, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 1/23/2015
  Letters from Far Away by Heidi Anne Breyer, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 1/23/2015
<<-later reviews | earlier reviews->>   <<- all reviews ->>
By Christine Brown
Label: Key Image Music
Released 8/21/2014
Souvenirs tracks
1. Rhythm of the Rain  
2. Souvenirs  
3. Shiver  
4. Prelude to Sunrise  
5. Chasing the Moon  
6. Aqua Abyss  
7. Silver Lining  
8. Silhouette  
9. Traveling Dreams  
10. The Hour Glass  
11. Morning Grace  
12. Stepping Stones  
13. Guardian Angel  
14. Cashmere Clouds  
This is How the Story Goes...
It was a rainy Wednesday afternoon. She discovered a box in the closet on the top shelf in the back. She took it down, dusted it off, and looked at the cards and photos and memories that lie dormant there.

That is how I would write a story based on Christine Brown's latest solo piano recording called Souvenirs. It is a collection of contemporary tunes that reflect her emotions and observations over the years. After nine previous albums, the experiences begin to accumulate and finally, they beg to be recognized, considered, and reflected upon. Christine does this through her sublime, flowing piano music.

I watched the rain's transition from the mountain to my rooftop. It began its pattering on my metal roof, softly at first, but then it made a comforting drumming sound. Christine's opening number Rhythm of the Rain was the perfect environment for my favorite pastime, watching rain fall. The music suggested that this rain was nourishing, kindly, and calming.

Sometimes souvenirs are not from a place you have been, but a reminder of someone you know. Such is the case for the title song, Souvenirs. The music is a poignant waltz, but it is hardly for dancing. It is a lament for a heart no longer earth bound, a free spirit unburdened by the physical. No, the dance in Christine's song is deep inside the soul, cherished and remembered.

Chasing the Moon reminded me of a night not long ago when I looked out the big picture window of the cabin and I could see the ghostly shadows of clouds flowing across a huge bright shiny moon. It cast an eerie blue light on everything when it came from behind the clouds, but it produced a peaceful feeling in me as I watched Mother Nature’s silvery skyscape.

We have seen it in pictures and movies. Nothing marks the passage of time more dramatically than an hour glass. In Christine's song The Hour Glass, there is no sound of a clock ticking, but it is easy to imagine it. Just like it is easy to imagine the grains of sand making a little pile on the bottom of the transparent cone, distracting us from the fact that with every second gone by, there is less sand in the top. Such is life. As our busy lives unfold, we forget the sand in the top.

After listening to the song, Silhouette, I considered its many meanings. Sometimes a silhouette can be ominous. The mysterious person behind you that you see in the reflection of a store window. Or the enemy that, at any moment, will surely put you in danger. But I thought of a different kind of silhouette. It is the outline of a person that you have been in love with forever. You can distinguish her across a crowded room or you can see him staring out the window from across the plaza. It is the profile that your heart can recognize from a mile away.

Christine's rendition of Stepping Stones is a musical reminder that every day we face challenges and we should celebrate any time we meet and exceed those challenges. They do not have to be monumental, just the everyday stuff that makes up living.

Guardian Angel got my attention for different reasons. First, let it be known that I am a believer. I do not mean an angel it is always a robed figure with wings that we cannot see, but feel their presence affecting our mortal lives. Sometimes I believe it is the neighbor down the block who cooked that casserole and saved the evening. Or the teacher that stayed later than she had to, insuring that geometry is not always going to be a mystery. They are treasured in our hearts and minds as other people that give of themselves for no other reason except that is how the world should work. One of my favorites on Souvenirs.

There are a few more pictures and a lot more memories, but we will save those for another rainy day. Suffice it to say that Christine Brown’s gentle music has given comfort where needed and hope where it should be. The fourteen tracks on Souvenirs do double duty. They all represent memories of one kind or another and each and every one of them is a gift.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 1/23/2015
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