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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:
  A Theft Of Fire by Tedd Arnold, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 8/22/2014
  Inner Circle by Peter Calandra, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 8/22/2014
  Music of the Extraordinary Voyages by Larkenlyre, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 8/8/2014
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The Gathering
By V/A
Label: West River Records
Released 5/15/2012
The Gathering tracks
1. Glastenbury, Vermont [from MASAKO]
2. Taoist Winds (edited version) [from THE OTHER SIDE]
3. Bread of Angels (edited version) [from A THOUSAND YEARS]
4. Mountain Laurel [from HEAVY AS A FEAHTER]
5. The Prophet [from THE LANGUAGE OF SPIRITS]
6. Feeling Sunshine (edited version) [from BLUE DREAM]
7. Serengeti (edited version) [from TRUE]
8. Intimacy (Into Me See) [from SOUL WHISPERS]
9. Porch With a View (edited version) [from GARDENS OF HOPE]
10. The Brightest Night (edited version) [from TOUCHED BY THE SUN]
11. Kim’s Song [from THE PATH AHEAD... AND STEPS THEN TAKEN]
12. Hide and Seek [from SACRED LOVE]
13. Carpe Diem [from TRILLIUM]
14. Anthem [from LONGING FOR HOME (SONGS FROM WAR)]
15. Livia’s Song (edited version) [from SOMETHING YOU DREAM OF]
16. Thyn Ayre [from ARRIVAL]
17. The Color of Sunshine (edited version) [from THE COLOR OF SUNSHINE]
18. Shalom [from WILL'S EMBRACE]
19. Dawn On Red Mountain (edited version) [from GREY SKY AND BITTERSWEET]
20. Forever (solo version) [from DRIFTING INTO THE SUBLIME]
21. Shades of You (edited version) [from CHASING TORNADOES]
22. The Wheel [from NEW ENGLAND ROADS]
What Goes Around...
Twenty years ago compilation albums were de rigueur. Labels like Narada, Windham Hills and Higher Octave all had occasional offerings of their artists' best works. Some were seasonal like Winter Solstice and some were collections by instrument or subject e.g. The Bach Variations and Passion - Music of The Guitar. It was a way for listeners to get a good sampling and make choices while being entertained. The tradition lives on in producer Will Ackerman's recording, The Gathering. The legendary guitarist and founder of Windham Hills present twenty two extraordinary musicians on various instruments to delight the new listener as well as the old. I was fortunate to review many of these fine artists, so I will stick to the ones I have not. Every track is worth hearing as they represent the contemporary instrumental music genre at its best. This is Ackerman's freshman debut of the West River Records label and frankly, he could not have chosen any better. I am not sure if this album is purely acoustic, but there are not a lot of electric-powered instruments involved. Another plus.

Glastenbury, VT by Masako is delightful glimpse into the Norman Rockwell age of America using solo piano as the medium. With a nod to George Gershwin, Masako's composition wipes away the years and takes you to a place at the foot of the Green Mountains. It is a bygone era when dusty back roads got you from here to there, neighbors invited you in for iced tea and evenings were an opportunity to visit and talk without the use of electronic devices. Masako's rendering is sharp and clear.

One of my immediate favorites on The Gathering is a song by guitarist Rudy Perrone called The Prophet. It is one of those tunes that, once you have heard it, just do not fade into memory and I for one really want to know the story behind it. Perhaps it is a tune of disbelief as in "I once met a man who said I would", kind of thing. The easy going tune is beautiful in its simplicity, but the principal behind it remains complex. I love a good mystery.

Todd Boston contributes a lighthearted tune called The Brightest Night. He uses gentle guitar and a sweet serving of violin, and the song sparkles intensely. It is a tale of the warmest breeze, the darkest sky, and the most dazzling stars that Nature could muster all in the name of eternal romance.

Pianist Rocky Fretz weighs in with a heartfelt tune titled Kim's Song. The solo piano ballad gently rolls along in your mind like an old time vignette. It is a walk along the path with hands held and fingers laced. It is the smile that lingers and that makes the earnest impression on the heart. This is the sound of a memory being born.

Livia's Song by solo pianist Denise Young is a lento waltz that uses baby steps for the most part. Gentle, sweet and warm this song is a dance on daddy’s shoes kind of song with pretty ballerinas and afternoon teas with friends that are stuffed rather than animated. The song is also somewhat nostalgic in its melody, but that is a good thing as it brings back memories of the superlative kind.

I could easily learn to play Forever, a song by guitarist Ken Verheecke. I say that because the tune is quite simple, but the implications are astounding. I have to admit that I found the song to be sad, but not in a way created by despair, but rather by melancholy. There is a subdued sweetness to the tune that suggests promises made and love formed in the deepest place of the heart. The song would be right at home as a theme to a love story or a daytime drama. I listened to this song so many times that I think I could play it the way it was meant to be…by heart.

And finally blessed with abundant innate talent, producer Will Ackerman contributes a tune from his New England Roads album called The Wheel. I always thought that the wheel is the part that touches the road and carries you endlessly to places uncharted. Ackerman extraordinary guitar playing paired with a lush violin score by Steve Schuch allows the mind make endless discoveries. This album is highly recommended.
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 1/20/2013
 
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