Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Creekside Prayer By Stephen Darnell


Creekside Prayer


Stephen Darnell

Written by

Steve Sheppard


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 enjoy.

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.

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