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Open Sky by David Nevue
- posted by Steve Sheppard, One World Music on 4/8/2014
Open Sky is an album full of memories
David Nevue’s brand new release Open Sky is a much needed reflective album, I listen to the refrains of David’s first track entitled Open Sky & rightly so the title is the starting piece of the album. It is a more upbeat composition, but has a gentle & purposeful musical posture to it; simply put this is an example of what is to come from Open Sky, an album that is well constructed & totally enjoyable.
I listen to a piece called The Sound of Sunshine. This is a delightfully warm composition, which has some very stylish playing by Nevue and a clever alteration of tempo within as well.
Nevue enters a more reflective style & this is actually what I like about Open Sky, it eventually morphs into a very deep, reflective album & there are indeed several tracks upon it including this one Dragonflies that really emphasises this entirely.
We move to Butterfly Dance, David Nevue has a wonderful ability to change a mood with a deft hand on the keys & here is a gentle but light track that lifts the soul. To show what I mean by that statement the next piece called For The Beauty of the Earth is an example of his playing style, that is so subtle but defined & this track gives of an air of beauty that describes the wonderment of this wonderful world we live upon entirely, in some parts I almost found this composition majestic.
So as you can see we have a real master of the piano at work here and on this next piece that really comes to the fore even more, with the track Forgotten Places, I found this a very emotional & moving composition. I could easily picture myself on the top of an old time worn ridge, a place that has seen so much history, but now the world has moved on & it has become a forgotten, but shall live in the memories of the single lone tree that stands like a monolith towards the sun.
Undertow was something special; it once more had that edge of darkness about it, so much so that one could not easily define the nature of the emotive style, this was so cleverly played that it could elude to a wave formation or pattern that the artist stands & watches across the ocean, or perhaps a far deeper meaning, one of the undertow of a relationship & the under currents that could be running within it? Whatever, Nevue has once more constructed a piece of true depth & emotional power.
Now we move onto an all time classic & one that takes me back to my junior school days, a very old English tale of a Scarborough Fair, originally sung in the Middle Ages, Nevue gives it a totally new & fresh airing & the style he plays this is both refreshing & respectful.
Now as I sit here & write the cold grey skies of November crawl all around me, their depressing dank skies hang like an old worn out over coat on a street urchin. Thankfully the artist gives me a track to alleviate those early winter blues with Summer Rain a light & sun filled composition that leaks radiant beams of hope out of each note.
Anyone who knows me would know I love a good storm & I have seen them all around the world, as the darkened skies roll in the heaviness begins to creep like a warm blanket over the Earth & rolls of thunder rumble over the mountains, like a distant overture & here Nevue almost gives us a sultry composition in Distant Thunder, a track that has depth & power, but also a track that has a very meaningful posture about it & at the very last part of this song, it like the storm, it leaves you hanging, waiting for more!
Now, having been in a tornado whist in Oklahoma, I have a special experience of that occasion, now if the musician is referring to this amazing phenomenon of weather, he has built a piece of music here that swirls like the spinning wheel blues of a Twister, the very track we listen to right now. This is a fine composition that builds with power and intensity & then like the real thing is just gone!
Once more the musician pays respect to an old ballad, a song that can be traced back to the England of 1600 & in a once more fresh, but respectful re-visitation of The Water Is Wide, he lulls us along with this traditional folk song that has also be sung in 1982 by the one and only Cliff Richard & even performed by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits as well, a real old classic that one.
However, once more all change as we move to one of my favourite tracks from Open Sky & it’s called Dark Afternoon, pretty much what we have here, but the mood in this piece is deep & very dark & this mood filled composition is superbly played and thoroughly emotive on every level, this is indeed dark waters we swim within whilst listening to this piece, a totally creative & brilliant piece.
From the darkness of the afternoon, there is a possibility of a return to a forgotten place perhaps? Echo Canyon, & here once more, the musician really portrays the title superbly through his music & style of playing & one can almost hear the echoes of ancient voices caress the Canyon walls as he plays.
We move on to a far lighter track called Stargazing now, so place Open Sky on your iPod, lay back & watch the star filled skies grow & enjoy a piece of music that is both beautiful, but also very calming, I found that in Stargazing, there was something very laid back but easy about this composition & a perfect place to insert this some within the album as well.
When I listened to Eclipse I thought I must be listening to a soundtrack to a film, this piece certainly has that way about it, I love the approach & structure of Eclipse and its gentle but relentless march across the skies until total darkness gives this composition a real edge & the way it’s played by Nevue gives us dear constant listener & reader a truly wonderful piece of music to revel in many times over, this was another one of my personal favourites from this album.
Finally we leave you with another old classic that I can remember Cat Stevens singing in the early 70’s in Morning Has Broken, also sung in my school assembly. Here Nevue slows down the tempo & creates a fine exit strategy to leave his latest release Open Sky. If you’re a fan of solo Piano, you will not want to miss this album & if you’re new to it, it may well be worth you spending some of your hard earned cash by purchasing a copy.
Open Sky is an album full of memories, filled with a stylish performance & filled with a bountiful supply of most excellent tracks that will not fail to capture your imagination and mood.
Rating: Excellent
600 Years in a Moment by Fiona Joy
- posted by Steve Sheppard One World Music on 4/4/2014
600 Years is a real masterpiece
Never before have I started a review with the words the End is the beginning, but as Fiona started her album as such, I thought I would as well.

Track one from her brand new album is a treat, it's the title of the album and 600 years in a moment is probably the ground breaking new release she dreamed of, this amazingly talented Australian artist just oozes class beyond the pale realms of the legions of the New Age Piano genre.

Her sultry voice leads us so gently into an album of majesty and grace, but a talent so rare and a track so crafted as the opener at some six minutes plus long is not only courageous but stunning.

Naked Love, track two is also an emotive and clever journey of mixed genres, a musical chef would throw in a little Jazz, mixed with some world influences, even a little gypsy feel now and then and with the constant piano of Fiona's which I must add is played to total perfection is a recipe for greatness.

The Journey, again this composition is a marvel, rarely to I rave about an album while in the writing process, but I find myself scribing away about this release with an eager heartfelt willingness to let you my dear constant readers just how good this album is and I am only 3 tracks in.

This is an upbeat, yet mellow and with the negative chords adds a little emotional feeling that lays like a dream of a distant far off love that is eager to be reached, there is everything to be adored about this track, the strings alone are a constant driving force, the bass reverberates around the musical heart, the drumming is like a constant pounding of musical emotion and here and all the while lays Fiona's stylish and purposeful playing, like a never ending reminder of this albums greatness.

Earthbound, this is a gentle place visited by Fiona's delicate fingers, it's almost like each note has been lovingly caressed by her heaven like fingers into an almost calming composition that has that gentle mother like hand of the shoulder saying everything is going to work out fine and judging by this album, that's a truism and a half.

Kevin Kendle once composed a superb track called Gliders, here we have Gliding, this track was sublime and the premise is the same, it really floated with a deftness and calm ease that eased us into the middle of the album, the crafted piano style employed here by the artist is clever and well-paced, one can truly glide and float through this piece with peace.

Tango on a Wednesday, when I first saw the title I wondered what we were going to be in for here! Not that there was any concern on my part, but the unusual title found its way into this day of musical interludes with a grace and charm all of its own.

With horn and passionate playing and some very delicate guitar this is almost a dance of instrumentation that once more shows Fiona Joy Hawkins skill of being able to morph from several genres at a time.

So we move with slight of hand and quickness of mind to the track Running On joy, a reference to her mood? I think so; Fiona has found herself through this collection of amazing tracks and each and every album she releases.

I detect a smattering of didge in here and bringing it back to her roots Hawkins with a wonderful mixed style of playing almost takes us on a journey through her life and to the point now it becomes so obvious with the harmonious combination of instruments and the world influence she is most defiantly running on joy.

Ancient Albatross took me back in time to the turn of the century, the late but great Jon Lord released an album called Pictured Within and this and if I may say quite stunning composition has almost the same energy as his soundtrack, of course a totally different piece and subject matter, but I am referring of course to the structure and emotive qualities within this piece, this one almost moved me to tears, you know those tears that one gets when they hear something so beautiful that words are an insult to such beauty.

A shift to another theme, another place and time, imagine yourself in an empty theatre, as the spot lights shift to the stage and scan the empty stalls around you, a figure of a young girls dances in the dust filled lights of the stage in front of you, her dance begins to become intense, this perfection in dance is evident and this show is just for you, on a long lonely distant highway in time, you have witnessed the spirit of the The Lost Ballerina, listen to this piece and let me know what you think.

Now to one of my favourite compositions from the entire album, I heard the story in our interview of how Fiona went on a journey to Antarctica and during her time, she composed this track entitled Antarctica! Having never been there myself I let my entire soul be engulfed in the music and I soon found myself transported to a wasteland of coldness beyond freezing, but within this very existence I felt a freedom that one can seemingly never have in a land filled with technology and other mind numbing devices.

Here Fiona has created a land not only of music, but also of a frozen land of escape and solitude, such beautiful strings combined with her passion filled deep emotive sculpting makes this track a must to listen to and enjoy in the warmth of you own sacred place.

Talking about freedom and by some amazing coincidence the track that is the penultimate one of the album is called Captured Freedom. Once more the strings come to the aid of the leading piano in such a way it is almost like a cry for help, the flute sold this for me, Fiona's craft is to create such emotional music that one cannot be moved by its very deep and meaningful nature, but with the flute coming in as well was the final and utterly brilliant master stroke that left us the listener wondering if we had captured freedom, of was our freedom captured.

The last track starts with a melancholy flute and is the climax to what has in truth been a breath taking album to review, very emotional and very heart felt and now we must take stock of all that we have heard as Fiona Joy Hawkins begins to draw the curtains on this musical sojourn, Forgiveness is a composition that almost teaches us the very lesson of the title itself and this is a gentle and loving and soul searching track to end with.

In 600 years in a moment Hawkins has pulled off what I can only call a masterpiece in the genre she is in, but what is that genre, certainly here Fiona Joy Hawkins has crossed cultural boundaries and taken us on a journey across all borders and brought the world a classic album that each and every one of you should really go on and purchase now, for this is an album that has been crafted by the hands of a genius.
Rating: Excellent
All the Days of My Life: The Wedding Album by Vicente Avella
- posted by Steve Sheppard, One World Music on 4/4/2014
A Fresh Romantic Album
It’s been a while since I have reviewed an album to do with Wedding’s, in fact back to Stuart Jones release “Loves Dream” way back in 1996, that album at the time was as light and as fresh as this one is today.
Avella treats us to a light and at times emotional performance with the Johann Sebastian Bach classic Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, there is something a little extra about the way Avella plays this, it has an almost haunting quality about it, a sense of remembrance, the careful and light style, make this rendition a rather special start to an album filled with sparkling tracks, for that day, that those of us who are married will remember forever.
As many of you may know, I got married for the second time this June, so this as a subject matter that is still close to my heart, when you get it right, that union, that bonding of two who make a lifelong commitment is a very deeply special one. I remember seeing Chrissie on our wedding day and she looked amazing, Dressed In White has it all for that moment, it has that tinge of emotion, that lump in your throat feel and that happiness that reverberates across the universe that shouts, how lucky am I to be marrying this woman and like this track, she is and was beautiful, Dressed In White, track two off the album. This is a composition that transcends both light and dark in the myriad emotional whirlpool of marriage.
Romance (Cannon in D), this was one of my favourite compositions off the album, I love Pachelbel anyway, but here Avella seems to go above and beyond even that and there is so much in this track I found myself at times expecting it to burst towards Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters and The Hollies “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My brother”. This is a very cleverly played piece and Avella should be applauded for bringing us so much in the five plus minutes of this composition.
Track four and that heart in mouth time that most brides and grooms go through, The Bridal March. Here and once again Vicente Avella, places his own stamp upon this well know composition which of course can be taken back to Felix Mendelssohn and the year of 1842.
Here the artist brings his own fresh interpretation upon this work; there is a musical heart flutter within the latter part of this piece and a pause that makes this well known masterpiece become much more personal for the listener.
I remember hearing and reading about the Ode To Joy many years ago, but here Avella has once more made something amazing happen to almost time stamp his signature into the annals of time. I am sure that somewhere Beethoven is looking through the mists of time and smiling! This also for me has the feeling of travelling, the melody and pace gives us, the constant listener and reader a sense of perhaps a new journey through life?
All The Days Of My Life is a track that I eagerly awaited to hear, for one there is something about the title and yes I am one of those people who still think titles are important, for me they reflect the possible emotions of the person writing the music and give us a little insight into what might be coming next. Here the artist does not let us down, but a soft and gentle start leads us, hand in hand along the path of the life. I liked the light passages, a kindly reminder of where we have come from and the more assertive playing brings us to the now. This composition I found myself singing a lyric, it is one of those rare pieces of music that I think I could actually write a song to. You can imagine a couple sharing a moment here within this piece, which is an opportunity of reflection, consideration and contemplation.
After a brief and well played Romance Reprise by Vicente Avella, we are then given a real peach of a track called The One I love, this is heartfelt piece written with real intent and after a few listens I think it could easily be used as a composition for a television series, there once more is so much to this piece, it left me amazed at the depth of composition in this album and especially within this very track. I must confess this was one of my favourite tracks off the album; I especially love the mysterious ending, very ingenious.
Ave Maria is as you would imagine a beautiful arrangement; there is a certain essence of this piece being a moment that the newly married couple can walk hand in hand across the beach together, or caress each other by a warming log fire. This is a classical piece of rare beauty in a world tarnished by a monotonous so-called popular culture.
I liked the feeling this track gave me, personally it lifted my spirits, and mind you this composition over the years has caused much speculation as to whom originally wrote it, but that can for this album all be cast aside as Vicente Avella produces one of the finest renditions of this beautiful piece of all time, what a superb arrangement!
Spring, this is a track that signifies a journey for me, a voyage into a new spring day, new beginnings, fresh starts and a new life, here the artist literally transports us into a world full of hope and love, when we are strong as two and stronger as the one. This is a light and cheerful piece that is well played with compassion and care by Avella. This is the longest track on the album at 6:51 and illustrates just why Vicente Avella is one to watch, take your time with this piece and enjoy.
Wedding March, is the last track of the album, it is also a wonderful way to round off a very well played album. It is no wonder that Avella has had some very magnificent reviews of this album and his plaudits are from wide and afar. Now I don’t read other reviews before writing my own, but it seems I am in good company with Will Ackerman when he says that this album “utterly avoids cliché” absolutely correct and after listening to All The Days Of My Life I am left in no doubt what so ever, that this is the most original and fresh construction of an album in this genre, the man just has to be just like me, a romantic till his dying day, well done Vicente Avella, this is just the shot in the arm we all needed.
Rating: Excellent
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