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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:
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  I Dream About This World: The Wyeth Album by Catherine Marie Charlton, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/6/2017
  Beyond Words by Dan Chadburn, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 9/19/2017
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Rowing in Eden
By Rebekah Eden
Label: Self Released
Released 7/1/2016
Rowing in Eden tracks
1. A Message from the Stars
2. Iachtach
3. Prince Caspian's Prayer
4. The Wind
5. Ramble On
6. There and Back Again
7. Light of Destiny
8. The Two Trees
9. A King's Farewell
10. In the Days
11. Wild Nights
12. A Message from the Stars (Virtual Choir)
To The Grumpy Muse
I was just introduced to the album and I was enthralled. Rebekah Eden's album Rowing in Eden has several themes and encompasses a number of genres. Yet, its delicate texture, haunting lyrics, and wondrous melodies seem to interlock perfectly like a musical jigsaw puzzle. She offers twelve orchestral based vocal tracks that range from the cinematic to the Celtic realms. The entire album is the soundtrack of an adventure. On one tune we might meet The Little Prince, and on another we might be on the road with Bilbo and company. There may be lions on one side of us and heroes on the other. Throughout are Rebekah's dulcet vocals that are reminiscent of some of Judy Collins' work. Her tone is warm and pure and very even. Although the songwriting occurred over several years, there is a unique cohesiveness to the album and I like that quality.

The recording opens with the cinematic tune A Message From the Stars and it has a choral reprise at the end of the album, so it literally comes full circle. Based on a poem by Arthur Earl Jones, it opens with the combination of flute and sitar and seems to be asking a musical question. It is answered nimbly by the symphony orchestra. It signifies the birth of our coming adventures.
"When darkness claims a victory in its fight,
to conquer all that’s free and true and right,
then be the sun, whose love transmutes the night,
for we are in this world to give light."

Iachtach means lamentation and it is that. The haunting pipes, the somber voice and the melody that is quite remarkable, is a soulful entreaty. There is no keening, but the cooing vocal is soft and comforting. It segues into Prince Caspian's Prayer seamlessly. This tune is like something out of a magical musical. Based on The Chronicles of Narnia's second book, it is a as if we are witness to the blowing of the horn that pleads for help and the great adventure that originates from the call. This was an absolute favorite.

Ramble On is an unexpected cover from Led Zeppelin and I've heard it many times, but not like this. Rebekah turns this rock standard into a fantastic ballad where we have time to explore Mordor and learn about those that abide within.

There is no doubt about the origin of There and Back Again as Rebekah with insightful lyrics takes us back in the enchanted realm of Middle Earth and the exploits of one very brave Hobbit. As the music plays out we look into the future, and we can see the fear, the fire and the victory.

The poetry of W. B Yeats is featured in a song called The Two Trees. I have a copy of Yeats' works and I reread the poem. To me it inadvertently intertwines with J.R.R. Tolkien's creation that the Two Trees of Valinor that brought light to the Undying Lands. Yeats' prose also suggests that there is light, but a spiritual light. Rebekah's ballad, beautiful, soft and flowing is a song in search of light. And she finds it.

Borrowing a few stanzas from Emily Dickinson's esoteric poem Wild Nights wherein a lover looks for love, Rebekah captures her album title and she sings the rhyme, but it comes on as more than just a yearning foray.
"Rowing in Eden
Ah, the sea
Might I but moor tonight,
In thee."

Her melodic vocal track is multilayered as if she answers her own echo, her sweet queries like ripples in a pond.

Rebekah Eden uses a restrained vocal flow that never overpowers her music, creating a tantalizing balance of music and lyric that is engaging as well and satisfying over repeated listenings. I literally, could not count how many times I enjoyed this album and it is in my permanent active collection.
Rating: Very Good +   Very Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lanann on 8/6/2016
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