Randal L Meek
The sound of an acoustic guitar played from the heart must be one of the most expressive instruments to pay homage too, on this new 13 track release Randal L Meek plays from his heart to yours, and his new album entitled Longings will find a similar motif of familiarity within each and every one of us with an open mind to totally embrace life for what it really is, an experience.
I know many finger style guitarists, but when one speaks guitar you probably have to work down from the king, Mr Will Ackerman, with that being said it is a joyful thing to know that this marvellous album has been recorded and produced at Imaginary Road studios, by the master and his court of accomplished artists.
Waves of Makena was for me a perfect opener, I have just been for a walk to watch the winter waves of the ocean crash upon the rocks and what a sight it is, in summer time it is a glorious view and this wonderful presentation by Meek is simply idyllic, and its charm filled narrative resonates with me in that moment.
On Goodbye the masterful Charlie Bisharat joins Meek in producing one of the most emotive pieces from the album, and this gentle, if not tearful tune, is a reminder to say goodbye, and if you cannot do so, the minor refrains in this piece will ease that furrowed brow with a sigh, so that one may take solace in the good times once had. I must be totally honest, this is rare, but I was moved to actual tears by this incredible offering.
Surround yourself with quality and the result of your endeavours will be doubly so, to back that statement up listen to this next offering entitled Mo'olio Place, whilst I have never been to Hawaii I can imagine it to be not too dissimilar to the paradise I call home here in Cyprus, and the calm that this specific composition brings is something quite soothing and tranquil, and while we’re at it lets pay tribute to Will Ackerman, who features on this very offering.
I found this next arrangement fascinating, it is called Ice Tulip, and for some reason it brought back many memories of different styles and genres from over many decades, there was also a sense of happiness to this track that filled me with glee, a spring time reverie indeed.
As we move ever onwards we come across this next piece entitled Boulder Sunrise. This is a truly laid back offering, one that also contains the masterful expertise of a certain Eugene Friesen, this slow but ever moving opus crawls over the top of the ridge of the mountain as sunsets just love to do, with a maximum of artistic expression; also pay note to the beautiful angelic vocalisations from Noah Wilding.
For some reason I felt compelled to play this one on repeat for a while before writing about the said composition, I will be honest it transfixed me, I drifted away into this world of complete and utter serenity, if this is what Spirit Rising is meant to do then it succeeded, featuring a deliciously sensitive bass courtesy of Tom Eaton, this has to be one of my favourite pieces off the album, in a track filled with a mournful repose, but most importantly, hope.
I smile with joy, I love rivers and here we have a song about one and called River Dream, which is something I do; it does seem strange to me that a person like me who loves rivers, now lives in a country where there are none, until our winter storms, but I can dream, and I can do so to this charming offering, this is one of those halcyon moments of utter musical bliss that one finds from time to time.
Desert Cathedrals fascinated me deeply; I admire the artist that with guitar in hand, he originally created this piece whist sitting of a southern rock cliff in Utah! The added violin segment from Bisharat was stunning and added such a vastness to the proceedings.
There is always a point in an album that you feel that you are being taken on a brand new journey of sorts. I found this laying within the tranquil refrains of this next piece called Calm Skies. Ah such a blissful thought, just to lay in a summer meadow and watch the peace of a lightly clouded sky drift by on a bed of Jasmin wafted scents. Yes here represented for me a track of natural and outstanding beauty, one that also contained the skill sets of both Ackerman and Friesen.
I can usually tell if I am into an album or not by realising that I had forgotten to save the work I had done so far, so with that done it was back to my romantic reveries with the acoustic brilliance of Randel L Meek and this glourious sojourn into a whole universe of peace and harmony, which could also describe this light-hearted song called Prairie Dog Sky.
Our wonderful title track is up next and of course I am referring to Longings. I looked at the albums cover and thought to myself what a simple but so very effective piece of art work, I spent many months sitting on a bench looking out at the ocean just like this, while I ruminated over sad events in my past and turbulent troubles of yesteryear, all would eventually be solved, but I remember it well, and for me Meeks sublime composition is almost like the soundtrack for that very moment, a gentle performance, an artistic expression of longing, just one more moment perhaps, but thankfully music is the panacea that cures all ills and allows us to move on.
The penultimate track off this quite amazing new album is called Dave's Song, a dedication to a true friend no doubt and one performed with the lightness of an open heart and a gentleness of spirit.
The journey has been a long, but an incredibly pleasant one, and to conclude it we finalise our musical voyage with a track called Liliko'i, (Passion Fruit), this is probably one of the finest examples of Meeks utter fluency and colourfully artistic genius as a guitarist and of course a composer, a fine way to sum up this crafted collection of fine songs.
Longings by Randal L Meek in my view is one of the best acoustic guitar based albums I think I have heard for the last few years, each song is penned with such emotion and dedication to crafting just the perfect compositions to represent his own expressions. Longings by Randal L Meek is an album that I am proud to have in my collection as I hope it will be yours too, this is acoustic based guitar music at its very best.