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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Throughout the Autumn Light
By Robert Linton
Label: October Moon Records
Released 2/8/2011
Throughout the Autumn Light tracks
1. Throughout the Autumn Light
2. Drifting Reflections
3. Alongside the Silhouettes
4. Seasons of Years Past
5. Glistening after the Mist
6. Shifting to the Fall
7. Winds Swaying the Trees
8. Moments of Reverie
9. Sweet Dreams
10. Evening Sunset
Falling For the Music
It is almost summer as I write these words, but after hearing Robert Linton's new album Throughout the Autumn Light I am awaiting fall with baited breath. His album offers ten intricate acoustic guitar pieces dappled with muted sounds of English horn, cello, violin, ebow guitar and flugelhorn. These contemporary tunes are guaranteed to add color to your spirit after only one listen. I have to admit I played this one longer than I needed to, but not nearly as much as I wanted to. The music is that good.

I started reading Robert Linton's biography and when I came across the part that said he played piano, I scratched my head. I was listening to some extraordinary guitar tunes and not a piano note among them, but everyone has to start somewhere. He came from a family of musicians who played jazz and rock, and in 1993 settled down with a six string to make his magic. And magic it was. His latest CD, under the brilliant auspices of music legend and producer Will Ackerman, suspended time so that I could savor the fading warmth, the waning light and multi-colored season that we call fall, but what the poets referred to as autumn.

Throughout the Autumn Light takes in the mottled sunlight just before the fall...of the leaves that is. Autumn is an odd season, sometimes providing warmth in the late afternoon or a cool wind in the mornings. Like some enormous chameleon, Mother Nature changes her cloak and before you know it, her sister, winter is here. All she asks is that you enjoy the time in between. Linton captures that diminishing warmth with the help of Stephen Katz' friendly cello.

The cover of the album shows Robert standing with his guitar case under the shade of a tree, one of many in a row. Alongside the Silhouettes seems to be the perfect song for that image. The song is one of cooling shade and the promise of protection from the ravages of late summer's lingering heat and the coming winds, and yet you are still among a feast of color. Dig in.

Seasons of Years Past is a lazy song. Not one of lesser effort, but of languid intentions. I often have those times when I sit on the front steps and count the yellow hickory leaves as they fall to the ground. The tall tree itself reminds me of one thing, the scaly bark another. And each tree has its own story to tell, does it not? The one thing I do know is that I count my life in seasons, not in months anymore. This music is perfect for reflection.

I live on a hill so I am friends with the wind. Winds Swaying in Trees reminded me of Joaquin Rodrigo for some strange reason. Whenever I hear the wind in the trees, it sounds like the earth taking a breath. Everything moves in sequence. The leaves flutter and wave, the branches sway and then return to their origins. Then it happens all over again. Breathing. Once you have captured Robert's tempo, your heart seems to beat along with the music.

Moments of Reverie is the stuff that dreams are made of. The guitar and the violin of Tracy Silverman provide a pastoral quietus. The music allows for daydreams of the passing seasons and accountability of the years they took to accumulate. The melody is so beautiful, I could imagine the leaves changing colors before my eyes. I am an autumn person. I look forward to it like gardeners look forward to spring. I long for the cool mornings, warm afternoons and even cooler nights.

As it should be, Evening Sunset is the final tune on the album. The echoing purity of Jeff Oster's flugelhorn compliments Robert's gentle interpretation of sunset. It starts out with a sky full of copper and gold. A meandering breeze, the last chirrup of the crickets and a platinum crescent in the darkening sky tell us that it is the end of the day. Soon the stars will blink on and the night will be full of dark and beckoning me to sleep.

Robert Linton's Throughout the Autumn Light is one of those rare albums that I will never tire of listening. I will keep it on the rack and on the IPod and play it whenever I need a bit of escape to a world of relaxation and dreams. Forget three hundred bucks an hour for therapy. Listen to this instead.
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/15/2011
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