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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:
  Where Butterflies Dance by Ann Sweeten, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/5/2016
  A New Dream by Lynn Tredeau, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/3/2016
  White Sun II by White Sun, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/3/2016
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When the Sea Lets Go
By Vin Downes
Label: Riverwide Records
Released 1/3/2017
When the Sea Lets Go tracks
1. Entwined and Lost
2. Evening in Berkeley
3. Morning Red
4. Dust and Drag
5. Just Before You Leave
6. Everything Ahead
7. When the Sea Lets Go
8. Streets of Sunday
9. The Right Words Are Simple
10. All You Left Behind
Waves Like Thoughts
I was in the perfect place and time to listen to when the sea lets go by the remarkable guitarist Vin Downes. I was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on the Island of Hawaii where I know there is magic being born every day just like the lava that flows from Kilauea. Downes is the master of contemporary guitar music and his ten tracks offer up nascent beauty that defines the genre. Although each track features a different theme, the body of work is cohesive in the sense that the tracks segue seamlessly into a story that is as fluid and as vast as the subject. There are no briny ditties here, just a flow of pensive and placid compositions that open the pores of the mind and allow freestyle dreaming to take place. I loved every track.

All the tracks and titles are in lower case letters. The first cut is entwined and lost. It is a passionate overture, one that invites the listener to prepare for an extraordinary journey of the soul. But be warned, this foray is not without its tribulations. There will be sadness. There will be confusion. But there will also be joy.

The next track is called evening in berkley and it is my favorite of the ten. There is a something tenuous, yet introspective hidden in the melody. It is perhaps a wonderful memory that keeps you going, but it is never very clear at what point it became reality.

I was just treated to a spectacular sunrise and of course, morning red was playing. Never was music more appropriate to this Hawaiian dawn as the sky burned with copper, red and yellow. The green line of foliage against the mauve morning sky was a miracle unto itself. It turned out to be a pretty good day.

Another favorite on "when the sea lets go" is called dust and drag. This one of the few instrumentals featuring another player and it this case it is legendary bassist Michael Manring that infuses a sculptural bass accompaniment that adds body and soul into the fray.

I thought that just before you go would have been a pleading, but not so. It was a gentle reminder that I was actually on the road in my concept of paradise. I tried to commit the landscape to memory, knowing I might not come back any time soon. The peace and serenity of Vin's tune connected perfectly with my tranquil mood. It reminded me that we are just mortal, but emotions are gifts not to be taken lightly.

As I listened to the title tune, as the sea lets go, I was driving along the Kona coast. The music made me pause. I parked and walked along the old pier to commiserate with the waves, if even from a distance. How many secrets are hidden among the waves? How many journeys have taken place, whether by choice or circumstances over this vast distance of water? What new worlds can be found across these salty plains of ocean even today? This tune was clearly another favorite on the album and I played it endlessly.

The mid-tempo ballad the right words are simple was a remarkable tune. The flowing melody brought smiles to my face and heart as the music echoed a sense of heartease, a word I do not use lightly. Things are right with the world if only a bit of risk is taken. All we need do is try.

Emotion and creativity meet like graceful ships on a friendly ocean on Vin Downes' "when the sea lets go". Downes finely tuned guitar work combined with his passion for perfection make this an incredible recording that is as timeless as it is thoughtful. His collection of highly refined tracks are enjoyable any time or any place, but they all share a unique sense of the introspective voyage. I give this a ranking I have never given before, that of Most Excellent, for it is one of the finest works I have ever heard.
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 3/9/2017
 
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