Friday, June 28, 2024

Once Upon a Summer By James Michael Stevens


Once Upon a Summer


James Michael Stevens

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There is never a moment that goes by that isn’t enhanced by a James Michael Stevens album, his classic style of contentment, peace and tranquillity has flowed from this musical river of calm for many years now, and it just keeps on getting better and better, and now with this new release One Upon A Summer we are set for three months of absolute serenity in the sun through music.

The starting position is a piece called Candlelight Coasterra; this slow and tempered creation is a divine melody to highlight a romantic meal on the balcony perhaps, whilst Summer Wind is a grateful addition to the collection of fine manifestations, with its mysterious, yet cooling musical narrative.

Once Upon a Summer is a 10 track album of earthly delights and Riverside is one of my personal favourites from it. Steven’s pulls such happy and natural refrains from his piano, ones that contain many sun kissed memories by a river, I have many, so I am very grateful for this piece.

We have many here, I am referring to The Lark, and this is our next composition, our larks are crested but they still have a charming dance that is in perfect harmony with nature. Here the pianist draws a compelling and charming presentation that depicts the energies of this creature to perfection.

This has to be one of the artists most complex and clever pieces and called Falls at Catalonia, once more being the painter of sound he is, he gifts us a vista of glistening waters that are falling from the ancient rock face of a waterfall, a graphic and enticing piece indeed, especially in this heat we have at the moment.

Summer Tides is a soothing piece that once more draws a beautifully lush narrative down by the beach, the flow and presentation here is superb and wonderfully crafted, one feels that they are right there in the moment in this ever moving mantra of time and tide.

We drift into the lands of calm and serenity further now with this next offering entitled Sebago Lake. The creative tempo is a charm here, and this is an incredibly fluent piece that is without doubt one of the deeper and more moody creations performed by the pianist, but I love it.

Lonesome Lullaby is another heart felt piece that finds Steven’s in a reflective mood, another night on your own perhaps, and just the silver light of the moon to keep you company until the sunrise. This is artistically brilliant and I wondered if it could very well be worthy of inclusion into a romantic movie.

The penultimate offering is entitled Melancholique, this last but one offering starts off in a delicious minor key and takes us all on a sensitive journey of reflection like never before. The sheer depth and emotive nuances that can be felt here are quite remarkable.

The concluding offering is anthem like in compositional structure and as such is perfect as an ending manifestation, it’s called Serenade at Sunset Park, a perfect scene setting presentation as we say goodbye to the day, to the album and this blissful journey of beautiful solo piano.

Once Upon a Summer by James Michael Stevens is another in the long line of stunning solo piano albums by the master of tone and timbre, this time around he has gifted us music to reflect upon and enjoy throughout this hot and laid back season. Steven’s has been playing his tranquillity and atmospheric ambience on the piano for many years now, but Once Upon a Summer could well be his most compelling and creative one to date, why not check it out for yourself and end enjoy a summer of peace and serenity too, with the healing piano of James Michael Stevens.

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