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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Where Butterflies Dance
By Ann Sweeten
Label: Orange Band Records
Released 6/3/2016
Where Butterflies Dance tracks
1. A Trace Of You
2. Broken Wing At North Light
3. Elysian Fields
4. Love Among The Ruins
5. Veil Of Tears
6. Morning Mist At Chimayo
7. Sateo
8. The Hanging Road (Cheyenne For The Milky Way)
9. Where Butterflies Dance
10. Migration
On The Lighter Side
Where Butterflies Dance is New Age pianist Ann Sweeten's twelfth album and perhaps her most upbeat recording to date. Much of her previous material chronicled her personal roller coaster journey with pain and emotional upheaval. Listening to her latest, it sounds like Ann has finally had a chance to musically catch her breath and take time to smell the roses once again. Ann's music has a way of giving the listener a sense of comfort and optimism. This album has the same promise. Where Butterflies Dance was co-produced by Ann and Will Ackerman of Imaginary Road Studios and mixed by Master Tom Eaton. Joining Ann are Charlie Bisharat, Eugene Friesen, Akane Setiawan, Jeff Pearce, Trish Craig, Andrew Eng and Will Ackerman on Klein guitar.

A Trace of You opens with a demonstrative sense of yearning in a captivating piano ballad. You can imagine sad blue eyes staring off in the distance, hours that languish into days, and a broken heart that searches within its own depths for a memory.

Ann muses deeper than ever in the tune Broken Wing At North Light. It was ironic to me that as I listened to this particular song, I had left the front door open to the cabin and a chickadee flew in and got lost among the shelves, knickknacks, and windows. After she found her way out again, it made me realize that not all wings have feathers.

One of my favorites on the recording is called Love Among the Ruins. Once again we are exposed to a musical metaphor that not all ruins are made of stone and timbers, but sometimes hearts and souls. The soul in this one is Friesen’s doleful cello that combines with Setiawan's English horn to triumph over sorrow.

About 25 miles north of Sana Fe lies Chimayo, a sleepy place that has a muddled past. But if you look beyond the history, you can sense the place that was known for healing body and soul. Ann's rendition of Morning Mist of Chimayo has the positive feel of a sunrise with the promise of hope throughout the New Mexico day.

Where Butterflies Dance is the best tune on the album. Here is the lightheartedness I looked for, the assurance promised. Every note has the proverbial butterfly effect that changes how we see, better yet, hear, the world around us. Trish Craig's gossamer flute takes wing in this delicate tune and we are invited to follow up into the cerulean sky.

Migration is the final cut. Like the sky, it has an openness about it. The thought of great distances, perhaps to places unknown are concealed inside the notes. Ann’s uplifting piano and Eng's violin are the musical impetus that transports us from one place to another, with hope that there is something special for us at journey’s end.

Where Butterflies Dance is quite emotional, but the ten tracks always sound soothing for the most part. It is music in which bones and hearts mend at their own pace. Like a butterfly, this music for Ann is part of a transformation, a well-deserved change. May she always have the ability to dance on a sunny day.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/5/2016
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