Friday, February 25, 2022

The Swan By Joseph Sullinger


The Swan


Joseph Sullinger

Written by

Steve Sheppard


At first listen I had fond memories of my past, as I remembered this as a classical piece, composed for cello and piano by Camille Saint-Saƫns, and a more graceful composition that pays homage to this great bird has never been seen.

Joseph Sullinger is indeed a true master of the acoustic guitar, and this is a fine opportunity for the performer to show off his wonderfully calming talents, his steady and careful approach to this piece is simply blissful and respectful; one could be by a mill pond watching a performance of this whilst Swans glided by and it would indeed be a soundtrack for the moment.

Sullinger has taken this piece, given it warmth and a tenderness that is utterly delightful, and thus manifested an arrangement that is so very charming to swim with in a pool of musical tranquillity.


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Opus 8 By Tim Neumark


Opus 8


Tim Neumark

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There are but a few pianists who have the creational abilities that Tim Neumark has, the ability to make you feel the music, and to literally take you there to that very moment of conception within the mind of the artist. Tim Neumark on Opus 8 will do just that and more on an album that is packed with reflective heart felt moments and emotive compositions.

Our opening piece is one of the most poignant I have heard from the artist and called Lockdown, this is something most of us have now experienced, some of us are still under pandemic restrictions, but it did give us a vast amount of time to consider our lives and were we leading them in the best way possible? This is a superb arrangement that explores those long days of gazing out of the window, while life was on hold; wind still blew through the trees, birdsong blessed the skies and rain still fell, but we had little more than a weak hope that we could be perhaps a part of it again, this mournful repose perfectly explores those dark times.

I must say this is one of my favourites from the album, probably because I have just released a piece about a Winter Sunrise myself, so a feeling of familiarity of tone and texture that lays within February Moonlight still speaks to me. A more fluent performance on piano you will not find, as Neumark almost brings a little Lanz into the proceedings at times, a slight romantic energy can also be felt here.

I remember this next one very well, a single back in 2019 and Bows in the Mirror tells the loving tale of the image of his two daughters in his rear view mirror of his car, this charming Waltz to this day still has a special place in my musical heart.

There is something quite mysterious about this next track called The Ghost, but with a title like that there would be wouldn’t there. The repeating motif that resides within this haunting offering is addictive; sometimes I also get a melody theme whilst creating, one that also disappears like a ghost when I try to repeat my efforts, a good deal of passion and intent can be found within this track as well.

A truly gentle narrative can be found on this next offering by Neumark, it is called Non Sequitur. Sometimes tracks come up like this this that have no connection to anything else and that is perfectly alright, it is also a perfect opportunity for the artist to just create, clean out the pipes, and here we find the resulting effort is a quite emotional song indeed.

The pace picks up with this next track entitled Shining Through; the rapid tempo is so redolent of the subject matter, a sun kissed offering indeed, one can feel through the performance that the artist is truly enjoying himself, and is perfectly in the moment and perhaps even inspired by a happy memory of summers passed, a wonderfully pleasing and warming presentation on piano by the artist.

As we creep over the half way marker we come across a charming composition called My Love, there is a certain delicacy about this performance that is so heart-warming, this is the style of arrangement that you would create for someone you really loved very deeply. Neumark plays from his centre of truth here and brings us a gentle embrace of a piano performance.

Still is an almost meditative song that stays with you for ages afterwards, the energy of this next five plus minutes is so very emotive and memorable. It is very rare to find piano creations that would aid meditation, but I’ve tried it and this one works, and is also probably the most ambient piece that the artist has ever created.

Another favourite of mine now, as we listen to Conundrum, the opening notes deliver that feeling right off the bat, as the piano moves its tones back and forth, giving us a dualistic sense of reality and perhaps confusion, and lays them down before us to question, but for once, maybe there is no answer to be had, a wonderfully clever performance indeed by Neumark.

Every musician has their break through piece, they may not realise it at that moment, but what they have created touches the lives of others with such power, intensity and emotion, this is what Yearning is for me, a composition of wanting to move on, or return to days of happiness, that moment of aloneness that allows us to communicate directly with our hearts, the most personal of issues are played out here, and in my view, the best composition within the career of Tim Neumark.

We all need our sanctuaries and I believe that with the track Escape the artist has created just that, there is something quite grand and almost majestic about this construction that I adore. The bridge within this offering manifests a truly special place, one that has allowed the music to manifest a grand soundscape.

The penultimate offering is entitled Earth Paused and the 4 repeating notes are redolent of the years of the pandemic lockdowns we have already addressed; this is the shortest offering on the album at just over 2 minutes, but one of the most poignant.

Our last port of call has been reached and it is entitled Hope (An Arrangement for orchestra), the only non-solo piano offering on the release. Here the artist uses a beautiful flowing symphonic gesture to conclude the album; this is Tim Neumark paying homage to another pianist in Michele McLaughlin with a colourful and orchestral adaptation of her piece Hope.

Opus 8 by Tim Neumark is a remarkable volume of work, one that I personally am very glad to have within my musical vaults; there are 13 wonderful compositions all with differing flavours, textures, components and tones. Neumark has created a veritable tapestry of solo piano magic here, and finished with a magical conclusion, in what in my humble view is the best work of the pianist and composer thus far. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Beyond the Dreamsphere By Hiroki Okano ft: Akira ∞ Ikeda


Beyond the Dreamsphere


Hiroki Okano ft: Akira ∞ Ikeda

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There is nothing greater in our existence than the world we live on, it allows us to walk on its back and breathe its air, drink from its waters, and feed from its fruits. Today we have a fantastic opportunity through the medium of this new album, the 6th in the project from Hiroki Okano ft: Akira ∞ Ikeda entitled Beyond The Dreamsphere, to sample the globe wide experience of Helio Compass Music, a sonic depiction of a year on our mother Earth from equinox to equinox in this 50 minute creation of natural beautiful bliss.

One wonderfully long form opus of a track weaves us through time and tide, through landscapes across the globe, from season to season, so let’s just allow the tones and textures of this quite breath taking tapestry of brilliance be our musical guide.

A wonderful build and progression can be found on the opening of this album, one that leads us gently by the hand to a sumptuous moment after 12 minutes of a blissfully peace filled manifestation, as synths and female vocals with a crafted bass line, build a sanctuary of calm and serenity all around us.

Waves roll up and into sea caves as the ocean cries; one must state at this point as someone who uses natural sounds on his own music, that these recordings are some of the best I have ever heard, and the production skill set to weave them into the overall composition is simply genius, and adds to the overall feel of the project greatly, simply put, you are 100% there.

As seasons change, sound changes also, birds prepare for natures alterations, as the wind blows summer from the leaves, at the half way juncture autumn is reached, and the more mellow tones of reflection can be found, and then at 26 minutes in, one of the most beautiful moments of atmospheric music can be found, as golden fields spread out across a landscape of fallen leaves, one of the most artistic and awe inspiring depictions of the season of mist is portrayed, and a veritable heartbeat of the planet can be found just two minutes later with the inclusion of a lush percussive segment.

When one listens to an album of this magnitude, I find it hard to understand the borders, destruction and greed we create for ourselves through our fears and ignorance. We all need to listen to the conclusion of this release, we need to be open and feel the height of passion that the artists have for our beloved planet, and it is my hope that one day, we will realise that where we live is a gift beyond gifts, and is as much a part of us as, we are a part of it, and each of us, much as a part of each other, perhaps more than we ever realised.

Beyond the Dreamsphere by Hiroki Okano ft: Akira ∞ Ikeda has to be one of the most moving and influential albums of the year, this is not just a brilliant musical creation, this album is an opportunity to allow you to feel, understand and be a part of what this existence on this world really is all about. Beyond the Dreamsphere by Hiroki Okano ft: Akira ∞ Ikeda is a soundscape so vast and creative, lovingly manifested by musicians who are not only clearly in touch with their own respective muses, but with the very heart beat of Gaia itself.

Adventures in Synaptic Exploration By Byron Metcalf


Adventures in Synaptic Exploration


Byron Metcalf

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There are three words that are truly prophetic, they can be found in the notes of this album and mean so much to us as a global people, Breathe, Dance and Move, something most of us can all do, but especially for a few years now have been unable to, now I believe is the time once again to heed the words, gaze away at the reality of the natural world and embrace life once again, the aid which will most ably allow us to Breathe, Dance and Move once more is called,  Adventures in Synaptic Exploration by Byron Metcalf.

Seven tracks of a consistent intensity, a wonderful fluency and vibrant percussion can be found here, and we start on this exploration with the opening piece entitled Waves Of Preparation. This is the perfect opening piece, one that draws the listener into a world of movement, and apart from the idyllic percussion from the artist, one that also contains some truly organic digeridoo as well.

The following musical narrative is of course the title track Adventures in Synaptic Exploration, there is an addictive ancient energy here that manifests a vibrancy not felt for many a year, and Metcalf’s performance on this grandest of stages, the title track, is simply awesome, one that indeed creates power but also a myriad of colours and textures too.

The resonation of the drums on Burundi Dreams reminded me of a few years back and my global voyages to Pow Wows in the States, such power could be felt from the master drum, one could feel the earth shake from miles around, like a herd of running buffalos heading your way, here Metcalf brings that sheer volume, but also some beautifully crafted soundscapes as synths seem to swirl around us like the ancient spirits of the past.

One of my personal favourites from the album was the mystical and magical vibrations that could be found on the track Arrival Of The Elves. The scene is set with some quite breath taking soundscapes, a harmonic resonance hovers with all the intensity of an impending storm, the drums break in with a gentle approach and the track then builds with a careful, yet crafted progression, and slowly transmutes into a piece that is completely undeniable.

As we drift further into this inner dimension of sight and sound we find our next offering entitled Conscious Encounter, once more the artist sets the scene perfectly, and then produces a performance on percussion that is literally sparkling, vibrant and extremely inviting, so much so that as a listener you can feel the vibrations of this music within your chest, so why not turn the headphones up a notch, and simply enjoy the moment.

We now move to the penultimate offering of the album and this is called Leaning in to It, the deftness of touch here reminds me of another drummer and percussions supremo I know from the UK called James Asher. The electronic segments within this piece were delightfully sequenced and perfectly placed, making this composition a sublime one to allow the body to simply form its own movements and motions.

Natural sounds are added to the last track off the album entitled Water Dance Ceremony, this is a respectful and peace filled musical narrative, and was one of those pieces I could listen to for ages, as time would become irrelevant anyway, it has all the hall marks of a meeting of the ancestors and ancients through the tone and vibrations of this deep and meaningful arrangement; this alone is a master class on how to build construct and progress a track, apart from being the perfect ending to a superb album.

Adventures in Synaptic Exploration by Byron Metcalf is an album that will literally form a textured world of sublime percussion around you and never let you go until the very last note is played out. This release is an opportunity to embrace the energies of life, sound and movement; it is a release that embraces balance and harmony through motion, dance and a simple breath, and is in my view is the best work of the artist thus far.

Woodland Paintings By Diane Wheeler Dunn


Woodland Paintings


Diane Wheeler Dunn

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The Native American Style flute of Diane Wheeler Dunn has become somewhat of a sought after commodity on our radio station, her calming tones, smooth presentations and harmonic convergences of sound are quite remarkably beautiful, and here on this new single called Woodland Paintings that theme continues.

A mixture of a natural performance in a variety of pitches can be found here, this is music to raise the spirit and bring some of the beauty back to our lives. Diane Wheeler Dunn’s performance on this new single Woodland Paintings is transcendent and wonderfully meditative, and I am sure one that will be a big hit with the Native American Style flute community, and lovers of descriptive artistic music in general.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Pinned Down by the Rain By Mad Dog Blues


Pinned Down by the Rain


Mad Dog Blues

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There is no truth in music stronger than the Blues, and this brand new album from Mad Dog Blues called Pinned Down by the Rain makes me want to reach for my Harmonica and join the team which gives us some of the most earthy, real, and downright great blues music to thoroughly enjoy.

This super group of fascinating musicians gifts us a moody opener called Siren recorded at The Muse Performance Center in Lafayette, this album would contain four further tracks from that gig in the guise of Down So Long, a harmonica players delight and very reminiscent of the old style Blues of artists like Robert Johnson, Water In The Well, a track that has a sense of rhythm like a fresh summer sunrise, Pass My Hat, a song so deeply expressive and places on the dining table of music all that is good about the Blues, and the title track Pinned Down By The Rain, a great title, a superb song, and one that contains a sublime atmospheric energy created by a talented band of musicians.

Pinned Down by the Rain is a classy live Blues album created from favourite performances by the band from 2021; it includes segments from various venues that have the good sense to hire live acts, and to be able to hear innovative songs like Hear Me Crying and the longest piece off the release Never Lost Love, just shy of 14 minutes in duration and containing some crafted solo performances within one very full flowing offering.

Pinned Down by the Rain by Mad Dog Blues is a rarity today, true live Blues from the very heart and soul of the planet; played how only Blues can be played, from one heart to yours. The album contains classy performances by, and let’s mention the band:

Mad Dog Friedman on harmonica, Jeff Becker on mandolin, Clark Chanslor on bass, Sean Bennight on guitar, Big Willy Palmer on guitar and Mark Kaczorowski also on guitar, in an album that is raw, real, fun and most certainly shines a beacon for live Blues the whole world over. 

Touched By Mad Dog Friedman




Mad Dog Friedman

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There are many facets to musical styles and instrumentation I love, but there is nothing quite like the magical mystery tour one takes through the realms of a beautiful atmospheric Native American style flute, and it is this we can do now through the medium of Touched, the latest album by Mad Dog Friedman.

This sojourn of sorts starts with a mournful repose and a vast dimension of sound on the opening piece Echoes from Within, one that flows with sublime peace into the following narrative entitled Bruce's Blues, where a moody, but incredibly smooth performance can be found.

I adore the opportunities given up by the master key of the title track, the grand scheme of the entire album can be found here, and what a sublimely deep resonance can be sourced, one that echoes through the halls of the ancients with a blissful serenity of Touch.

Each and every track on this album has been crafted from its own mood and energy, and tracks like There There and Ashed are two fine examples of opuses that have been brought into this world via a vibrational intent, and allowing the flute to be the key element in their creations.

Honouring the third god in the Hindu triumvirate we move to a wonderfully organic presentation entitled Dance of Shiva, a happy and light performance can be found here from the artist, one that drifts into the welcome arms of a haunting reverie entitled Snow, a track that would go onto become one of my personal favourites from the release.

My heart bows to your heart through the track Namaste, a duel performance with echoes of spiritual flute floating back and forth in the distant dimensions of a gentle musical reality.

For me Sacred Scar was one of the top tracks from the album, one that reminded me very much of the work of Nigel Shaw on Dartmoor Roundhouse; a beautifully fluent and mysterious offering can be found here, one that will take you to a place of total stillness.

Angels Are Crying and Heart had so much to offer the listener, the former a delicate offering that hovered around the senses creating calm, the latter a deeper construction that gifted us a truly honourable meditative moment.

The short form cleverness of Flickering was wonderfully artistic, a track born from the moment with ease, while another masterful performance can be found on the resonations of a song of harmonic bliss entitled Triangles.

As we draw to towards the end of the release, I am minded of the quality of pieces that draw such an emotive response, as usually is the way with a solo flute album, and the composition Nothing is a fine example of that, almost imploring at times, but certainly an opportunity to go within the void.

Now and Again is our penultimate offering and another almost haunting reverie can be found here, but one that has an almost dualistic sense to its build and progression, whilst the concluding track entitled Baby Steps reminds me that even at the age of 64, it’s never too late to take up the challenge of learning to play the flute, I just hope I have enough time left to even get near the last sublime ending opus.

Touched by Mad Dog Friedman has to be one of the most original and organic albums I have heard for many months, birthed from the heart, mind and soul, here is a solo Native American style flute release that will delight fans of the genre, an album, that if you allow it do so, will take you away to a place of tranquillity and calm, to breathe again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Milo & Luna By Andrea Sertori


Milo & Luna


Andrea Sertori

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It’s not often I hear a composition created for piano that could easily be turned into a ballad, but on this brand new single from Andrea Sertori called Milo & Luna you have just that. This friendly little arrangement has a wonderfully warm and happy melody, one that you can find yourself easily whistling along to as it plays.

The artist has been in full flow lately and it is always a pleasure to hear his creations, here on Milo & Luna we have a composition of tenderness with a kind construction, and is one of those pieces of music that is simply always going to make you feel good. I’m sure that fans and followers of the solo piano genre are going to adore this one.

Portraits By Brian Hagen




Brian Hagen

Written by

Steve Sheppard


We each live our lives in a sequence of moments, each one a portrait to an expression, a mood, a feeling, perhaps a person or event we hold dear or remember well, in the sequence of moments we call life. Here Brian Hagen most expressive piano works its classy magic, and manifests a veritable art gallery of compositions for us to enjoy, and each and every one a personal portrait of choice.

We could start with the sparkling and melodic progressions of Iridescence, or perhaps the warming embrace of A Time For Love, both pieces have such charming melodies and moods to drift along with.

Hagen is a pianist that is relatively new to me, although I have had him on my musical radar ever since the release of his You're The One album back in 2017, so its superb to hear new material from the artist, like the almost anthem refrains of You Are My Everything, and the charm filled musical narrative of Forever Love, two pieces both compelling and extremely heartfelt.

For lovers of solo piano and I know that’s many, your rich desires of plenty with be utterly satiated here on this 15 track album, especially with artistic expressions like After The Rain, a piece that for me retained a little Lanz within the energy of the arrangement, or Homage, a composition that it would be easy to create lyrics for.

There is so much here to enjoy, if you passion is piano, then you have made it to sanctuary, and offerings like the penultimate piece Starlight Dance will pacify that need with its gentle rhythms and movement, whilst Hagen concludes his new release with The Peace Within, a final song that was my personal favourite from the album, and is something I believe we all need right now more than ever, the mood and energy of this track said it all so wonderfully.

Portraits by Brian Hagen is a superb album, a musical art gallery of many thoughts, actions, energies and emotions that all fall together so beautifully and craft fully. Here is an album that will resonate with you and allow you to create your own musical portraits with each passing listen of this very classy album.

Acceptance By William Ogmundson




William Ogmundson

Written by

Steve Sheppard


For me there was an almost classical feel to this new single from William Ogmundson, but none the less, this composition is some of the deepest and poignant work in the genre I have heard thus far in 2022, its deep sense of mood spans a wide arc of emotions and temperaments.

Acceptance by William Ogmundson is a track bathed in a moment of reflective thought, and birthed into the world by a pianist that I truly believe is a modern day artist of sound, tone and feeling, and as such this new offering should be well received by his followers and fans alike, and lovers of really good solo piano music.

Enough's Enough By Angela Verbrugge


Enough's Enough


Angela Verbrugge

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It makes a nice change to get to review a Jazz single, but as I am a big fan of the genre it’s a total pleasure, this fun new single from Angela Verbrugge explores the music narrative of relationships, and the everyday issues of putting up with someone’s else’s stuff!

The creation of this arrangement is sublime, and the engine room of percussion and bass gives a perfect base for Verbrugge to enjoy her creativity on vocals, of which she has without doubt some of the best in the current Jazz genre.

Enough's Enough is a fun reverse look on romance, one that is effervescent, vibrant and bubbly, and should be much appreciated by lovers of the Jazz fraternity the world over.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Lover's Bridge By David Lanz & Kristin Amarie


Lover's Bridge


David Lanz & Kristin Amarie

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The beauty of a David Lanz & Kristin Amarie performance is something to always look forward to, and here on this new single a wonderful energy of romance is explored as two hearts beat as one upon the Lover’s Bridge.

Fluent, passionate and colourful at all times with the melodic strings from one of the best violinists in the business in Charlie Bisharat, and the added genius on Cello from Cameron Stone, whose skill set has touched the silver screen on Game of Thrones and Star Trek.

A more touching and heartfelt release will not be found this year, beyond impressive and sublimely magnificent indeed.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Melody Diaries By Lisa Cullum


Melody Diaries


Lisa Cullum

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I must admit I was delighted to hear the expressions of passion within this new release by Lisa Cullum entitled Melody Diaries; she has taken her skill set, added a whole realm of emotion, and created a vast yet poignant, and very reflective neo classical lilt to this new release.

The first part of this journey is now known to us as Endings, and contains a string section to simply melt into the abyss of emotion with, it reminds me of my past with my best friend, and our days in the country, sadly he is no longer with us, but the memories still remain, this is a truly heart felt offering without doubt.

Cullum’s piano is her musical paint brush and on Distance she manifests a wide open plain of music that stretches on and into infinity, there is an emptiness here, that whilst sad is also appealing in a performance that is so compelling, one which floats with a transcendent beauty into the piece Hope, a truly clever arrangement, one that lifts the listener up from the horizon, to gaze onward to possibly a brighter future; the performance here is strong and proud and played with a full heart and great depth.

One thing that is inevitable for each and every one of us is Change, here the artist creates an almost acceptance of that occurrence within music, and the presentation on piano and strings gives us a hint to allow that change to occur in the natural order of life’s rich tapestry.

This is an incredibly rich and colourful weave of sumptuous music that is finally brought to a close by the concluding composition entitled Beginnings and the circle of life continues ever onward. Cullum’s sensitive touch on the keys here is much appreciated; this layered gentleness manufactures a perfect ending piece, which lays a slither of hope that although this is the final offering, it may just be the beginning!

Melody Diaries by Lisa Cullum is a really pleasing album to listen to; its soft yet melodic energies are very appealing to the senses of the seeker of emotional yet reflective music. Here is an album that will move you, enthral you, and have you reaching for that repeat button when the very last note is being played, a delightful release indeed.

The Outfit By Craigology


The Outfit



Written by

Steve Sheppard


It’s smooth, it’s chilled and its cool vibes are floating across my headphones as I write, it’s The Outfit by Craigology, and the latest single by the artist. This wonderful new jazzy composition has a steady sensual beat and a mixture of classy keyboard effects and progressions to enjoy.

The melody line is one of those that hook you instantly, leaving it in your head relentlessly for the rest of the day. Craigology’s performance here is beautifully light, energetic but laid back, and sublimely cool with every note played, what is there not to like in this brand new single entitled The Outfit by Craigology.

Menuet Nocturne (piano solo) By Sharon Chen


Menuet Nocturne (piano solo)


Sharon Chen

Written by

Steve Sheppard


One of the most accomplished female pianists of her day in Sharon Chen has released a new single that has a sparkling performance contained within, and is I believe, one of her finest presentations to date.

Menuet Nocturne (piano solo) has such a delightful energy about its construction, this is a track that touches base with the classical, and dances hand in hand with some of the best solo piano performances I have heard this year with ease.

There is also a much crafted dynamic that plays out here as well, as Chen delivers a perfect passionate arrangement with such a clever flair to her recital, and is also one that contains a warm and compelling musical narrative to its arrangement as well, this is definitely one to watch, listen to and enjoy.  

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Pluvia By Retland





Written by

Steve Sheppard


Pluvia by Retland is some of the most mood felt and descriptive ambient music I have heard for quite some time, the hovering synths and sounds perfectly depict something we know all too well at the moment here, a good shower and a thunder inspired downfall of the most precious gift of rain.

Retland’s opus is textured to perfection; the layers of electronic mastery go to make up a fine slice of ambient tranquillity. The gentleness of production and performance make this one of the most crafted slices of music from this genre I have heard for a while, and gives us all a moment of bliss and a calmness of a perfected perception of music to play in a downpour, a wonderfully artistic presentation indeed, and one so very serene and tranquil to bathe within.

Time and Tides (re-vox version) By Dave Mohan


Time and Tides (re-vox version)


Dave Mohan

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Dave Mohan is back on the scene with another new song, a heartfelt ballad which has elements that remind me of a classy soft rock piece of sublime craft, mixed with a little classic James Taylor.

This moving and reflective song drifts across the heartbeats of an empty dance floor, as Time and Tides pass us all by eventually. This is one of those tracks that should become a familiar place, a musical sanctuary if you will, a place to go to remind you of good times once had, in a song that is sung with such tenderness by Mohan’s sumptuous skill set, and the delicate female backing vocal contained within, this is one that should be a sure fire hit with ease and a wonderful last dance gift for any loved one.

Moonstone By Al Jewer & Andy Mitran




Al Jewer & Andy Mitran

Written by

Steve Sheppard


This latest run of singles by Jewer and Mitran, aided by Hans Christian, has looked at the subject matter of one of my favourite themes, that of Crystals, and here on this latest release the trio gaze into the Moonstone, a very feminine Crystal that has sublime qualities of intuition, and is a promoter of calm and emotional stability among its many attributes.

Here on this new single the wonderful qualities of Christian can be heard on a simply delicious bed of Fretless bass, whilst the duo of Al Jewer and Andy Mitran serve up a percussive coolness, and a flavourful and enriching layer of flute and keyboards, this all shines so brightly in an instrumental sky to say that this new offering is one of the best examples of influential contemporary music you will ever find, a sure fire hit without doubt.


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The Moon Stays Bright By Trine Opsahl


The Moon Stays Bright


Trine Opsahl

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I have always been fascinated at the power of both the Moon and the Harp, and here on this brand new album by Trine Opsahl we have a combination of the two to bathe blissfully in. The Moon Stays Bright is a stunning new offering from the artist, and I do believe it is some of the most ambient and relaxing work she has created thus far.

The opening piece is the proud title track and it is indeed one of my personal favourites from the album. The Moon stays Bright is the perfect beginning of our Luna journey, imagine the softness of the Harp as the Moon rises high into the inky blackness of space, a perfect soundtrack from a moment of great beauty.

The best news of all is that here is an album that doesn’t shy away from the more long formed arrangements, and pieces like Moonscapes I gives us the perfect opportunity to simply drift on a vibration of tone that I personally found not only very relaxing, but quite healing as well, and at nine and a half minutes the longest track off the album, and yes, there is also a Moonscapes 2 and 3 later in the album.

The Moon Stays Bright has 13 pieces on offer and each and every one of them is an utter gem, like the ever soothing narrative of Return of the Light, a track that is played with such warmth and love it is almost palpable, or Do Not Simply Pass By Like A Dream (Duo), a wonderfully fluent duet with her daughter Josephine on Cello, this is a composition of great charm and quality, and for me also had a little Celtic muse within the weave of the music as well.

The Moon Stays Bright is one of those albums that would be easy to leave on repeat it is that good, it also brings so much calm and serenity and is a collection of great compositions that is concluded with the happy, loving and respectful final creation entitled Vigga's Song.

Trine Opsahl has manifested something wonderful into the world of instrumental music with the album The Moon Stays Bright, and I truly believe that it will remain a comfort and a musical panacea over many decades for those who embrace its musical genius, making this brand new release, one of the most beautiful and heartfelt albums of the year thus far with ease.

Pendulum By Kiki Cubb




Kiki Cubb

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There was something deeply compelling about this single from pianist Kiki Cubb entitled Pendulum, the sense of drama, the alterations and progressions in movement were extraordinarily fascinating.

The presentation, the changes in tempo were equally riveting, this was without doubt one of those tracks that you really have to play several times over to fully appreciate all the nuances contained within.

The musical narrative here is one that fans of the solo piano genre will completely adore and be taken along with, on what is a marvellous voyage of solo piano indeed.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Blue Skies Waltz By Annie Locke


Blue Skies Waltz


Annie Locke

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Annie Locke is a pianist who is so easily recognisable from the very first few touches of the keys, and from that point the sheer delightful tone of her performance makes its way to your heart and never leaves, an Annie Locke song is a panacea that makes the world a better place again.

On this new single Blue Skies Waltz, we have a wonderfully colourful musical narrative that is packed with movement, happiness in abundance, and a sublime sense of grace and charm, her presentation on this new offering is effortless and simply idyllic, and should bring a much needed smile to all of those who have the good sense to purchase this single, and make it part of your sophisticated collection.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

A Night at the Ball By Annie Locke


A Night at the Ball


Annie Locke

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There are few pianists who can play with such warmth and fluency as Annie Locke, her latest single A night At The Ball is out, and ticks both of those boxes with ease.

There is a real lightness of touch from the artist here, the music reminds us all of those heady days when we could all meet up in one room, dance, share a smile and laughter together, and enjoy an evening of socialised fun, something that has been all too rare for a few years for most of us.

Here the artist creates a backdrop to brighter days to come, and plays with such a brightness of heart and spirit, which one can almost feel the energy of positivity being raised through her performance, in what is a truly sparkling return to the scene for a musician I have the utmost respect for.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Moths By Giovanni Aloi




Giovanni Aloi

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Moths by Giovanni Aloi has to be one of the most fascinating projects I have had the pleasure to write about for ages, the artists reflections on life and special moments can be found deep within the weave of each construct on this album, this is a release of mood, feeling, sensitivity and fragility, and it also happens to be an outstandingly beautiful to album too.

There are 10 tracks on this release that all deserved to be listened to in depth, maybe many times over, each composition is named after a Moth that has been found to be endemic, in what could at various points of time, be called home for the composer.

I found much here to listen too, much to reflect upon, and much ambience can also be sourced from this quite moving opus of sound and tone, moments of emotive genius like Thaumetopoea processionea, a piece that has such a depth of emotion that it floats within its sea of musical tears, and perhaps Ascalapha odorata, a sad creation that flutters towards the light of a thousand stars and simply fades into the darkness of a musical soul, a wonderful performance on piano and strings can be found here.

This combination of the Neo Classical and the electronic is something close to my heart as well, and here on Moths, Giovanni Aloi has something to be very proud of, bathe in the flight path of Daphnis nerii and drift with a performance that is beyond ambient, and with a slight sense of drama and passion too, or float with the concluding composition Lymantria dispar and enjoy the freedom that the presentation offers, with a hint of a minimalistic narrative, building to a steady electronic bed of vibrational wonderment, this is not only a magical example of the wondrous creative mind of Aloi, but a sublime way to end the album.

Moths by Giovanni Aloi is one of the most compelling and moving albums I have listened to for years, each composition id played with such passion, honesty and a depth of feeling, that it is truly impressive, Moths by Giovanni Aloi is musical genius, from the heart of the artist to yours and if there was ever an album that should be in your collection at all costs, then this is it.

half life By Catherine Fearns


half life


Catherine Fearns

Written by

Steve Sheppard


A new artist to me is always a good thing; I adore listening to new fresh material without any idea of what may roll out before me, and to my surprise I was gifted an opportunity to write a review for one of the most original solo piano albums I have heard for a long time, and called half life by musician and author Catherine Fearns.

This classically trained heavy metal artist adores exploring the avenues of extreme music, this on half life she does sublimely, with the fast paced almost chaotic opening composition entitled Children, and for those of us who have had young ones this music will work well with that narrative of busy, bustling and crazy.

Catherine explores motherhood, the passing of time and all the rich gifts and presents of learning that life just loves to throw up at us, and she does it so well, just listen to the track l'arve, a fluent and rich tapestry of tone and emotion, much like the flow of a full river in autumn.

Then you can bathe in textures of one of my favourite pieces entitled Fluid Dynamics, the cross classical motifs here were deeply fascinating, and somewhere I would like to come back too, then onward into another moment of intrigue entitled Salvage, a piece that contains a real depth to its construction, with moments of sensitivity entwined with the harder elements of tone.

This 12 piece album contains some of the most original solo piano work you’re ever likely to hear, and even a few memories of the late but still great Keith Emerson may drift into focus, like on the offering To The Core for example.

half life by Catherine Fearns is like the albums constructive creative source, an album that deserves to be explored, each of the 12 pieces on the release offer a narrative of time passing in a life that many will know well, each composition has been crafted with a reflective hand, and manifested into creation by an artistic flow that is simply undeniable.

Winter Rejoice By Julia Thomsen


Winter Rejoice


Julia Thomsen

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The soft harmonies at the start of this most illustrious of compositions sets the scene perfectly, the new single from composer Julia Thomsen entitled Winter Rejoice is another wondrous opus of proud melodies and crescendos that is simply impossible not to fall in love with.

Again Thomsen produces a film score standard styled arrangement, but one that drifts across the musical mind like a flurry of soft snow on a bright January morning.

Julia Thomsen has been in full flow lately, and each and every composition the artist creates makes me artistically fulfilled once listened too. On this new offering, the delights and positive magical moments of this time of year can be found nestling warmly under a blanket of tender musical tone called, Winter Rejoice.