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Home Again by Loren Evarts
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 5/21/2018
A great contemplative album
Loren Evarts is back after his success with his last offering Water and Light back in 2015, now some three years later, I am honoured to have the opportunity to once again review Loren’s work, so join me as I take you on another voyage through the genre of solo piano.
Evart’s doesn’t waste anytime setting the scene and this homely little number called A Day on the Concord River is absolutely redolent of the subject matter. This warm and welcoming opus is as delightful as the amazing art work on the cover of the album, we could easily be right there on the banks of the river with this charming piece.
I sat for hours the other day listening to this album and just gazing at the cover, it is so redolent of the contents within and if we listen to Dugong Dance, you will see what I mean. Now the only Dugong I know of is the mammal and if this is the case, the artist has created its soundtrack, if not, this is a smooth and deeply relaxing piece that has such a sweet melody that it’s going to leave you in total bliss anyway.
On Far and Away we have a totally different sound, this energetic little composition creates a mood of distance and movement and also has a sense of longing, mixed with a reflective disposition built nicely into the weave of the piece.
Ktaadn is up next, this slice of solo piano genius seems to take us on a journey of its own, perhaps through a woodland or forest, somewhere where one can feel at peace; when I gaze at the mountain range behind my home the music fits perfectly, and within its refrains I can feel now the power and glory of this vast vista of this outstanding composition.
I adored the quiet reverie of Sunset Island; I sometimes call our home that, as nearly every night is the perfect sunset and perhaps tonight I will play this tune as the sun goes down again. This is one of the most colourful pieces off the release, one that will leave a smile of contentment on the faces of all who listen to it.
As we move towards the middle of the album, we arrive at the doorway of a soothing piece redolent of the subject matter of its title, Evensong. As the sunset begins to wain and night clouds drift across the horizon, we listen to the perfect tones of this composition, to allow the energy of this moment to fill our senses.
We now find ourselves at the musical shelf entitled “the title track” and of course that just has to be Home Again. Time to gaze once more at the front cover of the album and you will be right there. Once again Evarts pulls off such a warm and friendly performance on piano as we arrive at our very own musical sanctuaries of sorts.
There is a slight reflective motif on this next piece called Outermost House, perhaps we are on the very borderlands of the village, and from here on in a wide range of free land can be seen falling before us. The performance here is sublime at creating a narrative of suspense and memory.
The happy refrains of Wedding at Sunrise is now upon us, it is as if we have safely navigated the night and our reward is the wedding, of course this could be a wedding of a different type, perhaps even the re-joining of the past and future, but none-the-less Evarts has created something quite breathtakingly beautiful here, with a really moving sense of rhythm as well.
Anything to do with lakes, rivers and storms always grabs my attention; I have a love for nature than can never be equalled. Here Evarts creates a portrait of Baker Lake and in just over three minutes manifests something so descriptive and artistic, that one truly feels like they are sitting by the lake itself, the piano at times also sounds like the windblown ripples across the water.
Nine Mile Bridge is our penultimate offering on this journey, it is filled with a narrative of deep and meaningful memories, while the piano flows like the river under the bridge, there is also a defined and distinct sense of deep thought here, it is as if one is trawling over old times whilst gazing over the bridge, there is also a moving and powerful energy about the construction of this track that needs to be carefully listened to as well.
So we arrive at the last doorway of the album we now fondly know as Home Again. Evarts finishes with the perfect ending track, through the music, one can see shards of sunlight move across the room and the light creates dappled shadows of memories as the piece plays out. The Good Life for me seems to sum up the whole album, and a sense of gratitude can be found solidly within the frame of the arrangement.
Home Again by Loren Evarts is another classic album in the solo piano genre; this release is the holder of many memories and reflections, and Evarts the master builder of those magical musical moments. This has to be one of the most contemplative albums I have listened to for a long while and one that I would recommend in a heartbeat.
Rating: Excellent
Home Again by Loren Evarts
- posted by Dyan Garris on 5/21/2018
Home Again
Loren Evarts is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger. His most recent release, ‘Home Again,” is a collection of contemporary solo piano compositions produced by Will Ackerman and engineered by Tom Eaton.
Loren holds a Master’s degree in music education, taught for several public and private schools, and is now an instructor for five colleges.
“Home Again” is twelve tracks, four which were previously recorded by Loren, plus eight new compositions. The piano used for this recording is a Steinway B. The album is mellow, smooth, and soul-soothing all through.
Loren opens the album with “A Day on the Concord River,” which nicely sets the tone for all that comes next. Here we can almost feel the light breeze on our face and see the sunlight filtering softly through the trees as we gently canoe along on this peaceful journey. “Dugong Dance,” track 2, is graceful and enchanting. The dugong is an herbivorous marine mammal related to the manatee and the dolphin. Legend has it that the dugong was an inspiration for mermaids. This song perfectly captures those feelings.
“Far and Away,” track 3, is a personal favorite. Dreamy and delicious. “Ktaadn,” a spelling variation of Mount Katahdin in Maine, is track 4. Mount Katahdin is the highest mountain in the state of Maine and has inspired various artistic works. This one is lush and luxuriant, and one I found myself listening to several times.
“Sunset Island,” track 5, is truly gorgeous. Peaceful and resplendent, this brings up images of a charming place untouched and unchanged by time. The elegant and reverent, “Evensong,” (evening prayers), was stirred by Loren’s many visits to medieval cathedrals in England.
Track 7, title track, “Home Again,” has a light, whimsical feel, and was almost named “Poohsticks” which is game from a Winnie the Pooh book The House at Pooh Corner.
“Outermost House,” track 8, is full and splendid. I really love this one. “The Outermost House” was a small beach cottage refuge sitting high atop a dune on Cape Cod and belonging to writer Henry Beston, who spent a year there chronicling life on the beach. One can actually feel that “beachy” perspective through Loren’s excellent composition.
“Baker Lake” and “Nine Mile Bridge,” although a bit more somber, are equally as likeable as the rest of the album. “Wedding at Sunrise” is perfectly evocative of a joyful day – any joyful day; a celebration of life. “The Good Life,” gentle, ultra-melodic, and contemplative, winds up the album very nicely. This composition prompts us, perhaps, to give some thought to what ultimately makes life “good.”
Comforting, yet not so “comfortable” as to be boring or insipid. Sophisticated and unique, yet completely unpretentious. Glamorous, yet elegantly classic and classy, “Home Again” by Loren Evarts, is an album you will want to come home to again and again. Beautiful and recommended
Time Not Forgotten by Rhonda Mackert
- posted by Dyan Garris on 5/21/2018
Time Not Forgoten
Rhonda Mackert’s fifth album release, “Time Not Forgotten,” is an absolutely exquisite collection of twelve original solo piano pieces inspired by some of her various lifetime memories.
Feeling yourself completely relax from the very first notes, this is solo piano to immerse yourself in, for sure, whether we are “Chasing Fireflies,” “Dreaming of Sedona,” or watching the “White Cliffs”[of Dover] disappear in the distance.
Rhonda, seemingly one with her piano, is a master of quintessential elegance in both timing and touch – a wonderful artist to see in concert – and “Time Not Forgotten” is forty-eight minutes of pure bliss. Uncontrived, and with a completely effortless feel to it, every song on the album is wholly memorable.
“Dancing Through My Memories,” aptly opens the album. This has a such a nice light flavor to it, yet with an artful richness and depth at the same time. Beautifully performed with ease and grace, “Walking Among Giants” expresses, perhaps, a reverence for life and the gifts of life. Track 3, is the title track, “Time not Forgotten.” Like good memories, the song sticks in our head long after it has ended. Pure, graceful elegance.
To say Rhonda paints pictures with her music is truly an understatement. We are there. It is almost impossible to choose one track as a favorite, as they are all so beautiful. I am enamored of “White Cliffs,” which is both flowing and lovely and one to return to again and again. As well, “Healing Places,” on track 9, is exceptionally beautiful and calming as one would expect special healing places to be. “Dreaming of Sedona” perfectly evokes the soulful essence of that majestic place. Track 11, “Skipping Stones,” is fine and delicate, with a melody that skips across crystal clear water to settle deeply and indelibly into our heart space. The album winds down with the perfectly gorgeous and timeless, “Free Floating,” which feels dreamy, yet grounded, and well-suited, it seems, for peaceful sleep.
Superlatively calming, the album, “Time Not Forgotten,” by Rhonda Mackert is a must have and recommended for any solo-piano lover, and anyone who wants and needs an unparalleled experience of utter serenity. You won’t forget it.

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