Thursday, May 4, 2023

Metamorphosis By Terry Lee Nichols




Terry Lee Nichols

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It’s really good to once again connect with the music of Terry Lee Nichols, one can always look forward to a journey with the artist, this man is a master narrator of sublime music, and tales are most certainly told within his illustrious and crafted performances. Here on Metamorphosis we literally journey through time itself, from the roots on up, and I would truly urge you to purchase a copy of this album to enable you to understand the total concept and project of the sojourn.

The opening piece is Metamorphosis, the title track is a proud, yet explorative composition, the artists piano gifts us a moment of realisation and a desire to explore and the artists flourishing style builds with an excitable energy that is simply addictive to listen to, a true page turner of a creation.

So our journey begins as we move Out of Eden, I adored the colourful textures of this track, one that would grow and become even more impactful as we follow man’s journey from its roots to lands new and fresh, Terry has manufactured something that crosses the borders of a cinematic soundtrack here, with a hint of the classical, and those minor touches, it just adds such a flavour to the proceedings.

Water is life; we search for days to find a safe haven which will Let Us Rest Beside the Cool Waters. The artists piano is his paint brush and the wistful magician creates a safe harbour of sorts for us to rest by; the performance on this track is wonderfully artistic and incredibly fluent, but also quite touching and tender as well.

Now for one of the most fascinating tracks off the album called Grandma's Good Ol' Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits. Terry takes us across the pond so to speak with this piece, a rag styled bluesy number which has all the elements of an old style homely composition, the presentation contains a happy refrain, doubtlessly inspired by the artists grandparents culinary talents.

Metamorphosis by Terry Lee Nichols is a 14 piece album of many moods and colours, tracks like A Day in the Life of a Cocktail Pianist, the title to this track says it all, it evokes a memory for me, sitting in the piano bar at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, listening to a pianist pouring his heart out onto the keys, which in turn was hardly noticed by his wine drinking plane waiting audience, but then every so often a weary traveller would drop a few bucks into his brandy glass before heading off. The artist’s ability to evoke memories through music to be honest is amazing on what would be one of my personal favourites from the release.

Once Upon a Time is our next offering, Aristotle once said “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies” Nicholls quotes Hesse when he says “If I know what love is, it’s because of you” both valid appraisals indeed. On this creative arrangement, the musician plays from his heart to yours in an anthem that will remain emotively sublime for an eternity, a moving tapestry of sensitivity can be found here.

Bedtime Stories, it seems such a long time ago since I read my children night time tales, then to watch them drift off into a reverie of bliss, to see them close their eyes, smile and glide into wonderland, here Nichols creates the entire moment of time spent telling tales of magical creatures, good guys winning against bad ones, happy safe places in lands where all is calm and good, and does so all in just under four minutes, a story teller of great skill I hear you say.

The short form narrative of This Was Once a Love Poem is a delicate transformative arrangement that takes us lovingly into the arms of our next composition entitled The Dangling Conversation, the mood here is beyond the aforementioned transformative, and touches masterfully on a new beginning in the blooming stage, the performance here by Nichols is utterly sublime, played with passion and determination.

As we move deeper into the weave of the album we come across a colourful tapestry of tone and vibration entitled Barcelona, I reached over to turn up the volume on my speakers for this. For some reason this light seeking musical tale reminds me of my personal journey of immigration from the empty and stagnant realm of England, to the more relaxed, happy island of love in Cyprus, and as such, within this track the artist towards the end of the composition, seems to literally break free of the past, and brings about a total release, with a passion filled presentation which will leave your speechless.

Thinking Back, here lies a piece bathed in the energies of reflection, a doorway to a hall of memories, are they what we think they are, are our facts still right many years later, or have the memories been tainted by what was once and has now been lost, here Terry explores the musical narrative of manifesting music from memories past, and succeeds with a flourish, this has everything, joy, sadness, regret and gratitude, and all in an arrangement just under 4 minutes in duration, amazing!

I read the transcript that relates to this next track, and whilst I don’t live in the US, a lot can be garnered from the offering One Molecule Away from Madness. The madness of their last election of 2020, and the desire by some to return to the chaos of yesteryear, this song describes for me why I dislike politics with a passion so very much, musically this is a very clever track, you need to listen very carefully to this one as it contains, past, present and a worrying potential future.

The most charming of all songs can be heard on this very last manifestation, called The Long Goodbye. Nichols concludes this amazing new release with a tip of the hat to his father, and the immortality of love, a trait of tenderness we can teach that is positive and good, and one that should be unconditional too. This is a beautiful piece to finish with, and is solo piano at its very best and most expressive.

Metamorphosis by Terry Lee Nichols will take each and every listener on a journey that will enrich minds, inspire deeper thought, and thoroughly entertain all whose hearts are open for an epic musical experience. Albums of this standard and quality really do not come around that often, this is one to purchase, read all the liner notes, and just kick back and enjoy the trip to. Metamorphosis by Terry Lee Nichols is a solo piano soundscape of a masterful quality, in conception, creation, presentation and style, musical story telling at its apex best, and a must be purchase for any serious music aficionado.

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