Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Radiant Gratitude By Ryan Judd


Radiant Gratitude


Ryan Judd

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It is strange, I sit here at sunrise and listen to this amazing new single by Ryan Judd called Radiant Gratitude; this composition has the energy of a hopeful new morning within its construction. This is a piece of tranquillity that continues the theme of an acoustic healing guitar that Judd is now becoming very well known for.

The soft pastiche of synths hovers with the mournful repose of a late autumn mist, whilst the performer plays notes and plucks strings that seem to have a stunning texture all of their own, which in turn, leaves one in no doubt that this soothing style of acoustic performance is quickly taking Ryan Judd to a legendary status within its ranks.

On Radiant Gratitude the artist has manifested a tempo that is rich in texture and as delicate as the first petal of spring. Here lays another new arrangement that takes the listener on a cathartic journey, and concludes by leaving them in a serene meditative state that they will indeed feel most grateful for. Radiant Gratitude by Ryan Judd is beautifully brilliant and utterly peaceful; it is another piece of the jigsaw that is the rise of restorative and therapeutic music.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Dreams of Eden By Diane Wheeler Dunn


Dreams of Eden


Diane Wheeler Dunn

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard


Diane Wheeler Dunn is back with another new single, Dreams of Eden, a piece that I found deeply meditative to listen to, as her flute took me on a journey on dream clouds to a distant and far off land somewhere in another dimension.

Dunns performance as always is outstanding, in a piece a found hypnotic; a solo flute that relies entirely on the artist, no backing tracks or other sounds, just a solo flute and the intention of the musician to tell the tale and the dreams of another location, that of Eden.

Now I suggest, if you have the time, you go to Diane’s YouTube Channel and watch the very apt video that has been created to go with this release, it really does help take you on a magical journey to Eden, especially for those who find it difficult to visualise.

This is an amazing new release by Diane Wheeler Dunn, one that I feel is her best ever and one that she should be extremely pleased with. So if you love good music, then you are going to enjoy this one, a huge chart hit is definitely on the cards for Dreams of Eden by Diane Wheeler Dunn.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Vivid Dreams By Piano Lilium


Vivid Dreams


Piano Lilium

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Dreams are such an impactful subject to deal with, and even more so, to try and explain the machinations of the mind as it tries to solve the unsolvable can lead too much confusion on waking. Here in this expressive solo piece Piano Lilium tries to manifest that aforementioned feeling into music, and I must say I think succeeds brilliantly.

Vivid Dreams by Piano Lilium has a pace to it that is very much like the turmoil we find ourselves in, when in the dream state itself, this is superbly composed with quieter segments, then as things ease as dreams always do, change occurs, as indeed does this fine composition, the breath taking moments are now matched with a colourful melody, and concludes with a coda that is simply undeniable and almost climatic.

This is one of the most exciting solo piano pieces I think I have heard for ages, the energy is simply palpable and the entire composition is a roller coaster ride of emotive conditions, as such I have a feeling that fans of this genre are going to adore Vivid Dreams by Piano Lilium, and as such it should gain a really healthy chart placement.

A Place for Dreamers By Francis V


A Place for Dreamers


Francis V

Written by

Steve Sheppard


A new name for me, but a great place to start as I get to take a listen to and review a new body of electronic work entitled A Place For Dreamers by Francis V, a fourteen track mega work created by the Italian percussionist and composer, one that spans and crosses many genres, and self-described by the artist as a work that explores self-discovery, isolation, and boundless imagination.

The opening piece is rightly called Prelude and is a fine gentle introduction to our voyage of plenty ahead, this is quickly followed by Dreamers, and this features the classy vocals of Kelly Rose Moncado, for a wonderfully fluid starting song of quality, one with a slightly funky beat.

The next offering had a slightly mysterious feel to it and called Fish Out of Water, this smooth offering had a really chilled vibe to its creation and one could see it being a hit within that genre, with its textured percussion and delicate synth work contained within.

A powerful and moving track can be found next and entitled Beauty and Resistance; the minor nature of this offering is truly appealing and builds beautifully throughout the arrangement, reminding me slightly of the work of the UK’s Andy Pickford at times.

We now edge ever further to the centre of this project and as we do so we arrive at a piece called Devotion. One has to applaud the artist as each and every composition thus far has a unique quality that is so very pleasing to feel. Here one can perhaps detect a slight world music vibe to the composition, one mixed with a classic contemporary instrumental feel, and the inclusion of the spoken word sample by Steve Jobs and Secrets of Life was clever indeed.

The more emotional elements are also here in the opening of the piece entitled Every Moment With You, one that quickly expands its narrative into a more dance like prose, which perpetuates the offering and added to by "Qwinn" Brittany McQuinn, which in turn flows into a delicious middle placed arrangement called Finding Yourself in a Better Place, this would be one of my personal favourites from the album, reminding me of the days when the chill out genre gave us such musical gifts like the Buddha bar collections.

The Drowned World ushers forth our journey into the latter half of the album, and in doing so heralds one of the finest pieces off the release with its neo-classical over tones and exciting electronic and percussive persuading energies; this could well be a superb track for a future documentary, it has that cinematic appeal to its construction.

As we drift into the reverie that is Beyond the Horizon we come back in touch with the sumptuous vocals of Kelly Rose Moncado, a song that takes us over the impending horizon and onward to even more curious musical landscapes, such as the following offering entitled Walking Away, one that at its early inception reminded me of my track Wisteria House, but soon changed direction into a more anthem like, and darker composition.

Lost in Space, continues the deeper theme, one that strikes a delicious moody refrain and teases us with its smoothness, but one that also contains the haunting vocals of Myleene Gaye to add an extra layer of craft and cleverness into the proceedings.

Another change of course can be found in the more keyboard orientated composition Disconnected, a track that combines so many musical influences from smooth jazz to electronica and trance, that the entire composition becomes incredibly addictive.

Our penultimate piece is called Tarkovsky, a rhythmic pastiche of tone and timbre, and the final concluding part to this far reaching and vast album is entitled Endless, and is by far the longest track off the album by some length at just shy of eight minutes. However the piece itself is eerily ambient, deftly ethereal, and with ease one of the most inventive tracks I think I have heard to conclude an album for many a year, this is certainly one to take in many times over.

A Place for Dreamers by Francis V is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most fascinating albums I have listened to in months; this is a release that you will be glued to; just to perhaps listen to where exactly it is going to go next. This extremely artistic new compilation of quality tracks should be sort out by fans of multiple genres, and as such it may well have a few happy months of musical glory of the charts. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Lost Love By Chris Sarantakis & Andy Georges


Lost Love


Chris Sarantakis & Andy Georges

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It is so very nice to review a very classy world music track such as this, one that contains Bouzouki and guitar as well, this is music that we here in Cyprus bathe in, the passion filled structures of this brand new single will fill you with a desire to fly quickly to a much warmer Mediterranean country perhaps, but it will certainly have you reaching for the repeat button many times over.

There can be no doubt that Sarantakis and his Bouzouki are symbiotically joined, and after hearing this new single you will doubtlessly find that the doors of quality world and global fusion music, are forever wedged open and wide, and just waiting for your musical embrace.

The power and emotion in this new single entitled Lost Love are very palpable, deeply moving and redolent of a land where the passions of such love are fiery and full of a constant craving. The rhythm and vibrancy of this duet is stunning, both guitar and Bouzouki are played with such intensity and an ache in the heart to be heard, this is without doubt one of the most desirable global fusion singles I have heard for quite some time, performed by two musicians who clearly know there genre, and as such, Lost Love by Chris Sarantakis & Andy Georges should be a massive and addictive hit for the duet.

Hybrid - Part 1 By Lorna James


Hybrid - Part 1


Lorna James

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It’s back to the piano for prolific composer Lorna James, this time with a little added instrumentation the artist paints with tones and manifests a gentle repeating motif that is both desirable and calming, in her latest single.

Hybrid - Part 1 has a wonderfully uplifting energy about its construction, the fluency of performance is even more attractive in its ever present up lifting tempo, and it’s shining sunrise of a melody that permeates itself throughout the entire composition.

This short form musical narrative is like a journey through nature itself; one could with ease imagine the early hours of a late autumn morning, and the glory of a damp yet radiant sunrise approaching, the reflective and main body of the composition also works incredibly well together, and as such I see no reason why Lorna James with Hybrid - Part 1 should not have yet another chart hit on her hands.  

Monday, December 11, 2023

Katharsis By Fred Grenot




Fred Grenot

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It has been said that the power of music is a cathartic healing modality, it can help heal wounds of the past and assist in creating a foundation for a brighter future, music has that power and much more, it is the only language in existence that always speaks the truth, and this great beauty of truth is exactly what Fred Grenot has created here on this latest single entitled Katharsis.

Since his return to the music business, Fred’s manifestations have been nothing more than remarkable and utterly stunning in every aspect, this fluent new opus entitled Katharsis continues that narrative, the flowing peaceful synths bathe our senses with a tranquil vibration that is akin to lying in a warm gentle ocean, and allowing the curative waves to wash over you.

Fred’s music isn’t just good, it isn’t just wonderfully serene, yes he has aspects of Chuck Wild’s Liquid Mind, but he also has a special caring blend of musical intent that will one day see him rise into the higher echelons of healing ambient music like no other before him, and soulful, peace filled compositions like Katharsis, will be those beautifully tender arrangements that will help get him there. 

Friday, December 8, 2023

Onward to Christmas By Michael Regina


Onward to Christmas


Michael Regina

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I must say it is nice to hear an original seasonal song and with Onward to Christmas we have a new piece that lights up any festive tree. The energy of this new creation by electronic musician Michael Regina is a shot in the arm for the music styles that we hear at this time of year, something bright, smooth and uplifting is now in front of us.

Through its percussive beat and consistent tones, this new single literally breathes life into the usual weary Yuletide music market, the keyboards repetitive narrative marches us forever onward, and gifts the listener a sense of something exciting approaching.

Onward to Christmas by Michael Regina is a bright new offering by a musician who is really becoming quite prolific in the manifestation of quality tunes, one may find touches of an 80’s style within this latest piece, perhaps this might inspire memories of fond times past, regardless Michael has brought to the world at a time most needed, a little cheer with this new seasonal holiday composition called Onward to Christmas, and as such, it deserves to be a bit of a chart hit. 

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Coventry Carol By Shere Fraser & Manuel Galán


Coventry Carol


Shere Fraser & Manuel Galán

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There have been many versions of the Coventry Carol over the years and in my view it is a much underrated arrangement, however this is the brand new single from Shere Fraser & Manuel Galán, who have not only raised its profile by manifesting a truly warm offering, they have given to the world a piece that will doubtlessly be shared on my seasonal playlists this December in Coventry Carol.

Spanish composer, acoustic guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Galán, presents a wonderfully fluent and mood filled performance on the acoustic, one at the very opening segment reminded me of Blackmore’s Night in style, whilst Shere Frasers flute is ever present and creates the main narrative of this much over looked 16th century carol, one that was once performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors back in and around 1392/3.

Coventry Carol by Shere Fraser & Manuel Galán is in my view one of the best duet releases of this specific carol I think I have heard, its symbiotic partnership of tone and timbre gift the listener a pleasing aged feel and a sense of mystery going forward, and as such they should be very proud of their achievements in recreating this Christmas classic to such a very high standard.

O Come All Ye Faithful By Annie Locke


O Come All Ye Faithful


Annie Locke

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I can’t express enough how nice it is to write the words Annie Locke, yes, the pianist is back, and with a heart-warming rendition of a very famous seasonal carol, O Come All Ye Faithful, a creation that has been ascribed to many authors over the years and as far back as possibly 1604. Here the pianist brings the whole mood of the carol up to date, giving it that inimitable Annie Locke touch of great colour and warmth.

From the very first few notes Locke makes this composition her own, by offering us a combination of gentle and robust vibrations, this beautifully flows into one of the most fluent and attractive versions of this carol I have ever heard; the artist has always had a way of building on a solid narrative and like a musical sculptor, constructing charming like nuances that are literally palpable.

O Come All Ye Faithful by Annie Locke is what Christmas was waiting for, this magical uplifting rendition is the brandy upon the pudding, and the snap in the cracker, Annie has done it again, and her charming new release can take pride of place on your seasonal playlists as the star on top of your musical Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Stratospheres By Eric Heitmann and Patrick Zelinski




Eric Heitmann and Patrick Zelinski

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The latest album by former football star Eric Heitmann is now out, and it contains some of the most delectable piano and multi-instrumentation ever, his partner is musical genius Patrick Zelinski, a true supremo of a guitarist of all styles and flavours, and this mammoth journey of instrumental craft is entitled Stratospheres, which is our voyage of delight today.

The opening track is a very descriptive composition called Highland, the gentle strings and guitars pave the way for a magical moment at just over two minutes, as Zelinski’s classic rock guitar breaks into a Celtic styled opus, in what has to be said a breathtakingly clever start and almost Floyd like in intent.

The 7 is a mysterious and deeply woven track that hovers in the mists of musical time, the keys of Heitmann manifest a textured pastiche of tone and timbre to the composition, that in turn become its base and musical foundation, whilst the airy guitar from Zelinski floats in and around this most intriguing arrangement with a delicate joy.

We move to an enticing piece entitled Tavern Tale, once more that Celtic feel is there as the two musicians seem to drift into a past filled with broad oak trees and green valleys; this reminded me of the instrumental works of artists like Blackmore’s Night, but with the added uplifting percussive energies of others like pianist Matias Bacoñsky, regardless this is a truly addictive composition.

Wonder is our next port of call; this floating harmonic resonance of a track is beautifully composed and manifested into our realities with great care and tender creative skill, the soft compositional structures and melodic instrumental tapestry’s, build a piece that is both a pleasure to swim within and to drift off into a reverie with.

We edge ever closer to the mid-way segment with one of the most inventive tracks I think I have heard for quite some time entitled Among the Willows, the power and intensity here and the added whistling segments reminded me in parts of the heady days and Sergio Leone and Eastwood with a Fistful of Dollars, the pace of this creation was amazing and one that could easily be released as a single with some great success I would say.

Time for a truism, as it is always darkest just before the dawn, here on that very piece called Dark Before Dawn, we are gifted a heartfelt and deeply moving opus by the duo, one that does indeed highlight that 30 minutes or so we see each day before the beauty of another morning arrives, the symphonic gestures here were utterly emotionally sublime, a track of great texture and harmonic bliss.

Skies of Elysium is our next doorway of musical mastery. Homer once said of Elysium as a place where “No snow is there, nor heavy storm, nor ever rain, but ever does Ocean send up blasts of the shrill-blowing West Wind that they may give cooling to men” a pure paradise indeed, and this track is a testament to that aforementioned statement from the writer, tranquillity in all its aspects is created in this heavenly like composition by both artists.

We float into the open arms of this next piece entitled Trail of Redemption ft Ryan Dimmock on violin, and what a wonderful creation my ears have witnessed, an amalgamation of fluent strings, powerful piano and Gilmour like guitar from the amazing Patrick Zelinski, its music like this that constantly gives one hope that instrumental music is safe and well in the hearts of those who truly care.

I always get excited when I get to the title track, and as you can imagine I am now bathing in the masterpiece called Stratosphere. The title track is the perfect canvas for any artists to make a statement of fact and intent, and boy have they done so on this crafted manifestation. The slow and lovingly played piano of Heitmann is simple delicious, while the deft and intelligent build and progression we now move within is nothing less that spectacularly beautiful.

We now edge ever deeper into the darker waters of this great album with an acoustic beginning to a track entitled First Light. The construction of a song depicting this time of day has to take its time, and our artists do this perfectly, with a sense of artistic perceptive skill, and with the knowledgeable nuances contained within in, all of which brought back memories of a little remembered Roger Waters album called The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking

Graviton Fields, is up next and for those who are unsure of what this is you need to watch Star Trek. Once more, one has to say through some incredibly stylish keyboard, synth and instrumental magic; the artists have brought to life the region of space surrounding a body in which another body experiences a force of gravitational attraction. Adding the guitar into the mix adds a movement, percussion and crescendo manifest a sense of speed and intensity as never seen before on one of the most ingenious tracks off the album.

I have heard a Heitmann capture my musical heart before on piano, and here he is, doing it again on the penultimate track off the album called Moonlit Echoes. Through this beautiful performance one could with ease imagine sitting on the roof of your home in the middle of a summer’s night and just watching the stars above, something I have done many times in my life, and I think this somewhat emotive track could have easily been the soundtrack for that event.

Our concluding musical narrative is Banners of the Lost ft Amy Wallace. This final parting gift from the artists is film score standard and has to be one of the most powerfully moving songs I have heard to end an album this year, Amy Wallace’s vocalisations and the symbiotic partnership with the orchestration were simply the best way ever to leave this quite stunning new album.

There can be no doubt that on Stratospheres by Eric Heitmann and Patrick Zelinski I may have just heard my album of the year, this in my view is a master work of stunning brilliance, it is an album that will rivet you to the spot, it’s a release that will demand to be listened to, and if in the 80’s you were a fan of David Lanz and Paul Speer, then you are going to fall head over heels in musical love with Stratospheres by Eric Heitmann and Patrick Zelinski.

I Wish You Peace By Cadence Spalding


I Wish You Peace


Cadence Spalding

Written by

Andy Rogers


As Christmas becomes increasingly a time for rampant consumerism, greed and cynicism, it is all too easy to forget what it is all supposed to be about, so it is refreshing to have this new single from Cadence Spalding, “I Wish You Peace”, that looks towards the true meaning of Christmas along with a wish for Peace on Earth (and wouldn’t that be a good thing right now?)

The single starts with a rush of excitement… Christmas Bells and a lush orchestration that I would describe as “Festive” and “Euphoric” before we get almost choral voices singing a Hallelujah refrain that returns at times throughout the track.

To give the song that traditional Christmas & Winter feeling the verses feature such familiar phrases as “Cold winters night”, “stars shone bright”, “Snow on the ground”, “a child is born”, and of course the angels who are there to “Wish you joy and wish you grace, wish you peace just like Christmas Day!”. So well put together and performed is this single that those familiar phrases come through without feeling like Christmas Clichés, which is not easy to do.  At the end the angelic chorus fades off into the distance and you are left feeling uplifted and full of the Joy of Christmas.

A wonderful Christmas single that truly evokes the Spirit of Christmas.

Monday, December 4, 2023

They Came From Afar By Richard Dillon


They Came From Afar


Richard Dillon

Written By

Andy Rogers

Christmas music can be tricky to get right if you are to avoid sickly sentiment or rampant commercialism.  This new single from Richard Dillon, “They Came from Afar” manages to convey the magic of Christmas while avoiding the obvious pitfalls.

It opens with the sound of wind and distant thunder … the music then comes in as the weary travellers approach; The music has a Middle-Eastern feel to the instrumentation with gentle percussion and the tune (to my ear) has the feel of the old Christmas carol “On Christmas Night” that really helps set the mood of the piece.

A short pause and then the music acquires a new, processional feel… you can almost see the wise men and their entourage as they approach across the desert and pass you by on their quest to follow the star … Gradually the music fades away as they go on their journey until at the end all that remains is the receding percussion and the return of the desert wind.

Another excellent single from Richard Dillon that captures the mood and deserves to do well in the charts.


Friday, December 1, 2023

River By Antonija Pacek




Antonija Pacek

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Those who know me well will know of my love of rivers, it seems somewhat ironical that I should retire to a country in Cyprus that has none, until winter comes that is, and then the fall flows from the mountains to the grateful lands below, hopefully.

However I have many great memories about rivers, they are the masters of time, and will remain so throughout our lives. This new single from Antonija Pacek highlights my thoughts, her prowess on piano on this piece is quite beautiful, and we can hear from her keys the trickledown effect of the water, the slowness and then pause of the currents, and then through the melody, the richness of a quickened flow once again.

River is a colourful and emotional offering from her hands and mind; this is a quite beautiful reverie that you will be able to listen to many times over as the years fall by, and this timeless mastery of piano by Antonija will be your release from stress and frustration, as you listen to this picture book performance and know that despite all that happens, still the river flows.