There is a combination that once coalesced becomes magical
and unforgettable and seemingly timeless, this combination of bliss is the Native
American style flute, and the willingness with which the artist gives
themselves to the moment. On Creekside
Prayer, Stephen Darnell has
allowed his muse the freedom to roam his musical heart, and thus the
manifestation we are all presented with is simply transcendent.
The album is a collection of 12 solo Native American style flute
pieces, each and every one you will find has been created by the very soul of
the artist, and there can be no better place to start other than the quite
emotive and colourful offering entitled All
That Remains. Here lays a track that breathes a gentle breeze across the
face of the listener, immediately transforming them to another realm entirely.
The depth of this next offering is palpable; one can indeed
feel not only its textures, but the vast open and wide expanse that the music
and the F# Bass flute used. Desert Flower is a true
multi-dimensional piece, one that depicts a time of day, a heaviness of heat
and a slow ever onward growth.
The artist, and that is such a true description of Stephen Darnell, brings us the blank
canvas now from which all here was created from, as we give you the title track
itself Creekside Prayer. Native
American style flute never sounded so good and evokes memories for me of the
creek I used to sit by during my time in what is called Native America, through
the music I can once again see the dragonfly’s fleeting dance, and a small fish
rise to kiss the surface, this is one of the most idyllic performances and
presentations I have heard on flute for utterly ages.
Great Mystery is who we stand before now, and this
haunting and powerful embrace of nations and cultures, breathes a huge breath
of respect and a loving peace into a musical performance that is so deeply
commanding and influential. This is a sunrise track, a song to wake to and give
gratitude for another day ahead, this anthem styled opus is a major highlight
from the album.
The reverential Atonement
is next on our playlist; once more the F# Bass flute is used and
immediately gives us a structure to our tonal quest. The vibrational intent of
this track is profound, and within its unfathomable depths one can find
energies of great balance and stability.
I regard myself as a lover of water, be it streams, lakes,
rivers or oceans, all are givers and creators of life, especially for us. Here
on Pond Reflections we have a
fractal mirrored universe to dive head long into, the lightness of performance
using the Bm Flute gives us the listener a vista so utterly beautiful to view,
and the beauty of this is, with each of our own imaginations and through the
music, we can become creators of such events as well.
The seemingly solemn, but heartfelt refrains of our next
piece now drift across our senses as we listen to the next offering entitled Beloved. There is an almost timeless
feel to this offering that is specifically attractive, the crisp, yet mellow
tones gift us a moment of meditative magic to enjoy and delight in.
We now move deeper into the release and as we do so we come
across a track entitled Morning Owl,
as you might expect pertinent natural sounds join us in a veritable choir of
nature. Owl is a powerful animal totem and here the artist evokes the silent
wisdom in us all, this is a performance that awakens us not only to another
day, but to the potential that may lie ahead, and all around us.
Reflejos de Luna is our next port of call, which I
think translated means reflection of the moon. This crystal like presentation
is empowering and passionate and fills the listener with a bed of hope to lay
upon and a vista of great beauty with which
to use as a backdrop, this is a truly charming musical narrative to
We find in the darker regions of our flute journey in a track
entitled Embers to the Stars, here
Darnell uses an A flat Pueblo Styled flute and gifts us a composition that
illustrates a vast cosmic awareness, a star-field so grand and complex, in a
performance that is truly stunning.
The penultimate offering is the delightful and most moving A Sharing Moment, and of all the tracks
on this album, this one most of all reminds me of Nigel Shaw’s work on his Dartmoor
Roundhouse album. The Gm Drone flute is able to wonderfully create a true
heart felt convergence of harmonic bliss like never before; this is solo flue
playing at it very best.
The conclusion is given to us with this last offering
entitled Sea of Tranquillity, a
glance towards the moon and all will be found, the depth of this final creation
is so very meaningful and deep as only a performance with an F# Bass flute can
be. Darnell leaves us with an ethereal composition that draws the curtain down
on one of the best Native American styled solo flute albums I have heard for
many a year.
Creekside Prayer by Stephen Darnell is one of those albums I have been blessed to hear,
and I am so glad that the artist has opened up my senses to this release; it is
stunning beautiful and deeply meditative. Here is a solo flute album that when
listened to, time becomes meaningless, it has no boundaries or constraints. Creekside Prayer by Stephen Darnell is music from the heart
of the artist, to the open mind and unbound limits of your soul.