The Front Porch of Heaven
Kevin Keller – Kevin Keller Productions
Kevin Keller is one of the rare artists who can transition between styles/subgenres with ease while also maintaining extremely high-quality composing and performing. The Front Porch of Heaven shows his artistry at combining his superb piano melodies with keyboard embellishments, electronic enhancements, and the occasional percussive rhythm. Somewhat reminiscent of Tim Story (early period), Tom Eaton, and Marconi Union (circa Distance), Keller injects each track with something different in the way of melody, rhythm and atmosphere, including forays into more uptempo soundscapes. This is a gorgeous album worthy of hitting the repeat button often.
Dean Evenson, Scott Huckabay, Phil Heaven – Soundings of the Planet
Dean Evenson (silver flute, keyboards) simply never runs out of ways to bring new wrinkles to his albums, which by now no longer surprises, but continues to amaze me. Working with guitarist Huckabay (who also plays handpan), violist/keyboardist Heaven, as well as Doug Tessler on flutes and recorder and Dudley Evenson on harp, Evenson broadens his style palette on Healing Resonance, a many-hued musical tapestry. While the overall sensation is one of peace, serenity, and, well, healing, I found the actual musical variety between tracks enchanting (while staying wholly cohesive) as I explored the album over more than a few playings.
Damon Buxton – Many Miles Music
Damon Buxton is one of the most unique artists operating in the acoustic guitar instrumental genre today. His music is difficult to describe in words because he fuses assorted elements into his compositions while maintaining a singular “style.” His guitar melodies are instantly accessible and approachable but are also stimulating to delve into, which may sound coldly intellectual. Actually, though, these 15 songs are both intimate and laden with deep emotion, but without him employing cloying clichés. In addition, his technical artistry is abundant, however, he never calls attention to it, preferring subtlety over fireworks. Buxton is a true original.
Beneath the Sun
Chris Field – Tosca Road
Composer Chris Field is a leader in the area of composing music which is then licensed as soundtracks to film trailers. His compositions have been used for trailers for a wide assortment of blockbusters. As a result, it is both accurate and well-deserved to say that the 11 tracks on Beneath The Sun are cinematic in nature. The album features gorgeous orchestrations (performed by The Northwest Sinfonia) and each piece does indeed paint a musical “scene” if the listener allows her/his imagination to delve deeply into the melody. Songs can be powerfully dramatic, lushly romantic, or uptempo and fused with urgency. “Summerland” is particularly catchy!
Kendra Logozar – Self-released
Equilibrium is one of those special albums that you want to invite into your heart and cherish. Intimate and delicately beautiful, these semi-minimalist pieces should be listened to in as quiet as space as the listener can create, so that each note can be appreciated, every nuance noticed, and the attention to detail luxuriated in. The 14 tracks envelop the listener in a variety of subtle moods. With only one exception (the cheery midtempo “Hummingbird”), all the music here is custom-made for “quiet times” being soft in tone and sensitive in its emotional resonance. It’s a stunningly beautiful piano recording.