Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Secret Beach By Barbara Graff

Secret Beach
Barbara Graff
Written by
Steve Sheppard

Barbara Graff has returned with a brand new album, fresh from her success with her last offering Beginnings. This time we are drawn to somewhere I just adore to go, that’s of course my Secret Beach.

Graff has created a very personal album here; one that I am sure will resonate with the listeners. Her gentle and calming style on the opening piece is as delicate as the Sunrise it depicts, the subtle tones and soft tempo leads us into a world of glistening shards of sunlight on another glorious day.

Graff’s piano speaks volumes on this next piece entitled Carolina. There is a nice energy about this song that gives it a slight folk ethic to its energies and the musical narrative is indeed compelling. This is a track that grows in confidence and melodic charm as it develops, at times mysterious, but always incredibly warm.

Hope Springs is our next port of call and from its refrains comes a track so beautifully composed and arranged it would turn out to be my personal favourite from the album, the emotive qualities of this song are impressive, but even with those little reflective nuances, hope always seems to spring eternal from its construction, a completely mesmeric song this one.

Now we find ourselves walking through the sands of the title track Secret Beach, there are a few places here that we like to go to that could be named as such. This was in fact a single for Graff last year and it did pretty well; sitting here in the middle of the album it is the perfect fulcrum with which to move into the second half of the release with.

There are some compositions that just sit up and beg to be loved, and In the Moonlight is most certainly one of them. This is a wonderfully composed piece that seems to have many musical facets, at times reflective, but with a hint of romance as well. The performance is crafted and extremely listenable; one can also detect a slight element of the classical within the structures of this quite moving opus.

Now we are all up for some inspiration are we not? Graff gives us that moment right now in one of her most ingenious offerings called Inspiration, this is such an astute piece, one can never quite figure out which road it is going to take, but it doesn’t seem to matter as the composition grows and evolves all on its own.

We now finish Barbara Graff style, with a flourish as we add some further instrumentation to the keyboards used here, and finish with two versions of the same track, the latter being a bonus track with vocals and entitled Sweet Eclipse, the mood is upbeat as is the percussion, a truly clever and inventive way to finish and end the album.

Secret Beach is a wonderfully imaginative album and Barbara Graff must be pleased with her efforts, she has created several new songs, and manifested a wonderfully fluent musical narrative with which to deliver them with. Moments of reflection, emotion, calm, serenity and happiness can all be found here on an album that sparkles with vitality and positivity, an album well worth a recommendation.

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