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Journeyscapes by Candice Michelle
Other reviews from Journeyscapes by Candice Michelle:
  Irish Mist by Richard Dillon, reviewed by Candice Michelle on 8/15/2017
  For the Willow Wept: Sunrise Edition by Keith Richie, reviewed by Candice Michelle on 8/10/2017
  Ovum by Chronotope Project, reviewed by Candice Michelle on 8/4/2017
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Into the Flow
By Joseph Akins
Label: HeartSong Music
Released 9/12/2017
Into the Flow tracks
1. Into the Flow
2. Pretty One for Unita
3. The Waterfall Waltz
4. Mystery Cafe'
5. Winter is Here
6. Memories of Far Away
7. Foster Falls
8. A Love Story
9. Ghost of Mill wee Hollow
10. Lullaby for Baby G
11. On Saint Simons
12. Cosmic Microwaves
Reflective, melodic comfort!
Not long ago I had the pleasure of seeing pianist-composer Joseph Akins in concert with fellow pianist-composer Michele Mclaughlin on their joint tour, where each performed a set and shared delightful and personal stories. Raised in a musical family in Chickamauga, GA and currently based in Chattanooga, TN, Joseph has been playing the piano since he was a child, having explored a variety of musical styles along the way. In addition to his career as an accomplished recording artist, Joseph is also a college professor and teaches music instruction. Having personally found him down-to-earth and expressing a great sense of humor, I can only imagine how beloved he is by his students!

Comprised of twelve original solo piano compositions spanning roughly 50 minutes in length, Joseph’s latest album, Into the Flow, is a delightful collection of reflective, melodic comfort. Some of the album’s highlights include the opening title piece, “Into the Flow”, which pleasantly reminds me a bit of early works by David Lanz. Evocative of sailing along a peaceful river, the composition gently rolls along in a forward motion with smoothly rounded edges. I’m also especially fond of the aptly waltzing, “The Waterfall Waltz”, which features chords that bear some reminiscence to the music of jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi – a comparison likewise noted on the similarly jazz-tinged “On Saint Simons”. As it often goes, songs inspired by the winter season tend to be among my favorite on a given album (particularly when it comes to piano recordings), as such is the case with the especially lovely piece, “Winter is Here”. A more classical-infused composition, it continuously cascades in a gently fluctuating and winding manner throughout while seemingly recalling that of embarking on a lone journey across a snowy landscape. Nevertheless, the final piece may be the one that lingers on in my mind the longest. Conveying a sense of cosmic wonder with the title, “Cosmic Microwaves”, this beautifully mysterious and reflective passage makes use of heavy reverb and digital delay on the piano – effectively bringing this wonderful listening experience to a memorably perfect close.

Emotionally touching but not overly sentimental, Into the Flow is easily one of my favorite piano recordings released this year. Although warmly positive in nature, a comforting sense of nostalgia is imbued in these compositions, often evoking personal memories of life’s most cherished moments!
Rating: Very Good +   Very Good +
- reviewed by Candice Michelle on 11/30/2017
 
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