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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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The Promise
By Michael Stribling
Label: Leela Music
Released 8/9/2009
The Promise tracks
1. Bright New Day
2. Daily Living
3. Angular Reasoning
4. When Love Comes Near
5. Late at Night
6. Facing the Great Unknown
7. Forgotten Dreams
8. Love's Anticipation
9. Ascending Through Clouds
10. Expansion
11. Distant Shores
12. The Promise
13. At the Last
14. All in Good Time
Do You Believe?
Is it possible to go from the reality of mortal man to the existence of a true soul and on to the concept of an afterlife all within fourteen tracks of music? Okay, I am oversimplifying things to a great degree, but that is the synopsis of Michael Stribling's new release The Promise. Michael's success apexed with his breakthrough album Songs of Hope and Healing and he has released a number of albums to his credit. This New Age electronic artist boasts a multitude of degrees not only in the music field, but also in theology and marriage and family therapy. His influences are many including Igor Stravinsky, The Beatles, and Vangelis and every once in a while I can hear the echoes of Jan Hammer in his compositions.

The journey of his music begins with the Bright New Day. Many of the songs on the beginning of the album are high-energy tunes. My day starts off a bit slower so it took some time to catch up with him. His song reminded me that every day is a new opportunity to start fresh. Many of us do not. So let us take the hint.

At first, I did not like the tune Daily Living. I thought it was entirely too frenetic and then I got it. This is a deliberate representation of everyday life with its harried schedules and empty assurances of unwavering love, happy life and eternal friendships. There are no guarantees in life with the exception of faith.

The tempo seems to even out, if not slow completely on the tune When Love Comes Near. Time becomes our companion and we are given the opportunity to observe and appreciate. There is gentleness to the tune, an almost calming effect is present and we can take the moment to enjoy the love in our lives in all its manifestations. Loved ones, children, friends and even pets become a bountiful source.

Michael adds an element of otherworldly travel is the tune Ascending Through Clouds. There is a sensation of falling up when listening to the tune, but not to the degree of danger to our spirit. It is more like drifting or gliding. There is a slight wind, but there is no peril. Only the impression that as we ascend, we reach a level of clarity unbeknownst to us before the now.

Distant Shores is like a beautiful tropical island on the horizon of a shipwrecked sailor. There is comfort to be had in the shelter, the water and the nourishment of something green and growing. There is the sense of safety as we approach the rocky beach. From this coast, we can fish, gather food and use the new horizon as a focal point to our dreams. Distant Shores is hopeful.

The final cut All In Good Time is a reminder of patience in our spiritual lives. It starts out as sort of a spunky tune, but then the serious bass line kicks in and the energy of the song begins in earnest. In the mean time, it is a tune full of promise and I liked it just for that reason. I have always believed in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow even though many times the reward cannot be measure in metallic substances.

Michael Stribling does offer a musical path for us to follow in our life's journey. And like our lives, some of it is slow, some of it is high energy and somewhere in there is the stability we seek every single day. We have Michael's music to thank that we can achieve the balance and it is a promise we can give ourselves.
Rating: Good +   Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 4/7/2010
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