Melissa Black has just wrapped a series of interviews in the US and has also scored several enthusiastic reviews for her recent EP release, The Eden Project.
Melissa told Indie Music Discovery in the US, “I’ve had an amazing experience recording my new album with Riversong Music at The Back 45. Andy and Scott are an incredibly synergistic duo in the studio. They’re not afraid to push the envelope and the entire creative process is inspiring. I have found my authentic voice and sound.”
The Bandcamp Diaries enthused, “Fallen Angel has a cool 70s throwback sound, which reminds me of artists like Fleetwood Mac. I love Melissa’s energetic vocals and the overall cohesion of the instrumental track!”
The Red Carpet Living blog said, “In a world riddled with destruction, when something pure comes along – you feel it in every pore of your fibre. Because purity and the really good stuff – is translucent. Just like Eden. Her voice is like milk and honey on the radio waves of empty rasp, forced empowerment, and seductive allure.”
Melissa Black – The Eden Project EP is out now on Riversong.
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REBECCA DANIEL AND FIONA JOY HAWKINS JOIN FORCES TO CREATE THE LIGHTNESS OF DARK – A POWERFUL MUSICAL EXPLORATION OF LOSS, MOURNING AND FINDING BEAUTY AMIDST LIFE’S SADNESS
Superb Classical Crossover Music, featuring award winning artists Rebecca Daniel (Violin/Voice/Piano) and Fiona Joy Hawkins (Piano/Voice) Will Be Supporting Their Cathartic and Healing New Album With A USA Fall Tour 2019.
Leonard Cohen once said, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
Australian instrumentalists Rebecca Daniel and Fiona Joy Hawkins place this insight on the back cover of The Lightness of Dark to illuminate their creative and spiritual vision behind the project –their first dual album after many years of live and studio collaborations. The two explore the many facets of life and loss, the search for something positive in the crippling shadows and the potential beauty that can emerge from mourning and sadness.
The Lightness of Dark weaves its lush, cathartic narrative via music with varying instrumentation depending on the emotions the two are expressing. The opening track “Heavenly Voices” blends string quartet (featuring The Kanimbla Quartet)with organ, piano and vocals. Other tracks feature solo piano (“Ghosts, Insanity, Angels”), piano/violin duet (“Elegy”), piano with quartet pads (“Lake of Contemplation”), string quartet only (“Interwoven Threads of Chance”), string quartet featuring piano (“Empty Moments”) and other combinations uniquely fitted for the compositions they imbue.
“We believe our album will connect with everyone because we all experience loss in varying forms,” Fiona says. “It can be the loss of youth, a loved one, a pet, your health…Life changing events where we are left to mourn because of loss. People only face their own issues when you lead them to a safe place to do this.”
Rebecca and Fiona have enjoyed a long history of collaborations and are looking forward to working with renowned Australian Producer Llew Kiek. They have performed over 50 concerts together including at the Sydney Opera House for the 2012 MusicOz Awards, New Orleans for 2014 ZMR Awardsand 2017 Sydney Women’s International Jazz Festival-and Rebecca has appeared on nearly every one of Fiona’s solo albums. The two have played together as part of Fiona’s Blue Dream Ensemble, and Rebecca produced the group’s album Live at the Q.
Rebecca Daniel studied violin and chamber music with Emanuel Hurwitz and the Amadeus String Quartet at The Royal Academy of Music. She worked with Trevor Pinnock and Simon Standage, and The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and was Orchestra Leader for Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music and Beauty and the Beast. She has recorded and performed with, John Denver, Bread, James Galway and the Chieftains, Will Ackerman, Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, Men at Work and INXS.
Rebecca cites John Lennon, Amadeus String Quartet and Samuel Barber as amongst her earliest musical influences. She also told us that a collection of 78’s from the 1930’s was her first music purchase. Her natural penchant for music was evident when she was very young. “I started singing as a baby, was given a violin at 4,” she says. “It was just expected of me to be a musician. But I only started writing a few years ago.”
Fiona Joy Hawkins, a Conservatorium-trained pianist, renowned for her romantic, melodic songs and lush arrangements, is a prolific composer who regularly tours China and the USA and is also a member of the Contemporary instrumental group FLOW (Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster, Will Ackerman). Fiona’s song “Grace’ is on a 2014 Grammy Winning album, and in 2016 she won two Independent Music Awards at the Lincoln Centre in New York. She has several Best Piano Album ZMR Awards and has worked with Producer Will Ackerman (Founder Windham Hill Records and Cookie Marenco (Blue Coast Records) for hi-resolution audiophile recordings.
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Fiona Joy (Hawkins) – New Album – Story of Ghosts
Having won many awards for her two previous solo piano albums, Fiona is destined to do the same with Story of Ghosts.
Fiona’s third solo piano album takes her fans on her journey of the past year of her life as she deals with a harrowing year in 2017 and makes no attempts to sugarcoat the emotional’s. The year included many friends and family members getting seriously sick, dying or going insane.!!
She bares it all over the course of these mostly grey-toned melancholy and vulnerable pieces, that draw on her classical background and impressionistic modern yet melodic composition.
‘There is a little madness in the music I write, it only pops out of the calmness momentarily, but enough to know that there is uncertainty in everything we hear, feel and experience. It’s much more classical and very connected to my roots” says Fiona .
“There’s a lot of emotion in it, that part was challenging. But when I get feedback from my fans that I’m touching their lives, and in some way making a difference, that makes it worthwhile.”
She uses the piano to weave interconnected tales with similar motifs – She opens the album with the uplifting and just whimsical enough “Song for Dunnie,” which she wrote for the funeral of Annette (Dunnie) Crossley, one of her best friends and business partner in her company Little Hartley Music. The lushly flowing piece represents a life full of vibrant brightness, good humour and joy.
“Story of Angels” moody hypnosis that leads to attempts to dance and then sudden dream-dashing stops into “Story of Ghosts” the deepest tale is told by the third story song. The contemplative “Story of Insanity” which alternates shards of light and night in a romp of anger tempered by gentle understanding. “Contemplating (Solo) which find Fiona deep in thought, seeking answers in the high notes as tension builds. “Blue Dream” whose high and low dynamics indicate mood swings that shift on a dime during crises. “The White Light” perhaps a place between worlds where high and low notes battle it out for our mortal hearts.
Fiona ‘s choice to work with producer Cookie Marenco reflects Fiona’s appreciation for high quality audio. “Even CD quality is unsatisfying when you’ve heard DSD or SACD, especially when played on a high-end system” says Fiona.
Fans of FLOW, the recently launched hit new age group featuring Fiona, Will Ackerman, Lawrence Blatt and Jeff Oster, will recognise the closing track “Before the Light” as the beautifully rendered foundation of “Arrival,” the opening track on FLOW’s self-titled debut. In the FLOW version, the darker edges of the piece get subsumed into a lighter hearted grooving vibe. Here it’s allowed to flourish in the shadows, exploring the heavy mysteries of life’s pain that occur before the healing – and wondering along the way if it will ever come.
Fiona recalls asking Ackerman once “What would happen if I ever got happy? Would the creativity dry up?” – since she’s built her artistry and fan base on her incredible musical embrace of sadness.
“No, Fiona, you will just start writing happier music.” He said, surprised at the answer “Maybe down the road, I’ll make a few happy songs”.
But for now, especially on Story of Ghosts we can enjoy the musical beauty and grace that she shares while working through the obstacles to make peace with the sorrow life has thrown her.
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Loren Evarts newest album Home Again
Home Again is the 6th original album, of this amazing contemporary pianist. It revisits several pieces previously recorded by Loren in the 1980’s, and eight new ones. It was produced by Grammy award winner Will Ackerman (Windham Hill Records) at his Imaginary Road studio in West River valley, Windham County, Vermont and was engineered by Tom Eaton.
Featuring Grammy-winning artists and Grammy-nominated Artists Eugene Friesen on cello (Paul Winter, Trio Globo), Rhonda Larson on many types of flutes (Paul Winter, Ventus) and Jeff Haynes on percussion (Pat Metheny, Pete Seeger), bassist Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel and King Crimson).
Besides Piano, Loren Evarts has been known to perform by singing, trombone, hammered dulcimer and organ.
Loren has performed professionally in the Connecticut area of USA in a variety of musical situations for over 40 years. He has been grateful to have been involved in performances with artists such as Dave Weckl (Chick Corea), Gerry Neiwood (Chuck Mangione), Everett Silver (Chuck Mangione), Mike Davis (Rolling Stones), Danny Stiles (Bill Watrous), Fred Vigdor (Average White Band), Rhonda Larson (Paul Winter Consort).
About Loren Evarts:
I was in first grade when I heard a fellow classmate play the piano, and I said, “Hey, I want to do that, too.” Of course, I had no idea that you had to practice, which made me think twice about my choice. But due to frequent beatings from my mom, I persisted, Partially kidding!
I started playing classical piano at age 7, but like a lot of kids, I started listening to pop radio in middle school. Fortunately, I was allowed to stick in a few popular tunes in my lessons along with the serious music. In high school I started to get influenced by jazz. My biggest influences were bands like Chicago and Tower of Power, Elton John, James Taylor, Carole King, Jazz singer Al Jarreau, and jazz pianists like Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Liz Story.
What can a crowd expect at a live show?
My music is probably best described as a mix of new age, jazz, classical and world. It’s piano-based but sometimes I will add a percussionist, bassist or woodwind player for concerts.
What are your future plans for 2018/2019?
Well, I am an American so, like many of my fellow citizens, I am looking to survive until 2020(enough on politics). But otherwise, At my stage of the game, I just want to put out a good product, and I hope to write some new material now that my newest album has been released. And that means I have to sit down at the piano and start! I am always gratified when people enjoy my music. I no longer crave being a big star. It’s nice being in this place.
Let There Be Light is the New follow-up album
of multi-instrumentalist Tom Moore and
award-winning flutist Sherry Finzer
Heart Dance Recordings is proud to announce the new release of multi-instrumentalist Tom Moore and award-winning New Age flutist Sherry Finzer -
Let There Be Light
New age, ambient, meditational music
Let There Be Light is the follow up to the duo’s highly successful release of Whispers from Silence, which received worldwide airplay on FM, Internet Radio, SXM Spa Channel, and numerous airline placements.
This album’s music is an expression of a journey. It is about movement not only in our outer life, but equally on the inner plane. Light is the most omnipresent element in nature. The universe is made up of light, which then becomes vibrations and sound. The purpose of this album is to help bring “light” to the listener in as many forms as possible.
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From the very first notes, the music effortlessly leads us into a place that transcends space and time, effectively reaching its goal of translating the frequency of light into sound. The album is broad in its appeal, multi-dimensional in its scope, and through each song we find ourselves inside ourselves, and yet at the very same time beyond
Sherry Finzer Tom Moore
FLOW: A DYNAMIC NEW AGE IN MUSIC
Will Ackerman, Fiona Joy Hawkins, Lawrence Blatt and Jeff Oster Take a Open Approach to Musical Discovery, Embracing Friendship While Building Organic Songs for their eponymous new release–FLOW.
Forty years after Windham Hill became a catalyst for the global musical phenomenon, its bountiful legacy of best-selling solo works (George Winston, Liz Story, Alex DeGrassi, Michael Hedges) and Grammy-winning ensembles (Shadowfax)–extends into a truly new age with FLOW–a new four-piece ensemble comprised of Ackerman and three of today’s most acclaimed independent artists, Australian pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins, acoustic guitarist Lawrence Blatt and flugelhorn master Jeff Oster. All in, FLOW members have accumulated literally dozens of accolades, from GRAMMY® Awards, ZMRs, IMAs, IAMAs and a catalog of #1 albums in the genre.
FLOW, on Blatt’s LMB Music label, came together to record deep in the West River Valley in Southern Vermont, at Imaginary Road Studios, the longtime creative home base of legendary Grammy-winning acoustic guitarist Will Ackerman, the original founder of Windham Hill; the 282-acre property in Windham County has become a hotbed of acoustic excellence over the past 25 years.
Ackerman shared his thoughts on the process of recording with FLOW, saying – “There was a moment in the process of making FLOW with Fiona, Lawrence and Jeff when I felt a hint of panic that my pieces were being altered and transformed into something very different from what I would have done with them on a Will Ackerman record. It was in the moment just after this thought that I realized that FLOW was actually working… that I was experiencing real synergy. The group had become a creative entity unto itself and four dear friends had gathered to create something beyond anything they could have created on their own.Experiments don’t always work. This one worked!?”
As officially announced, the concept of FLOW had its origins in 2015, when Blatt invited Fiona and Oster to join him at Imaginary Road to create an album inspired by the iconic Windham Hill sound and ensembles. Ackerman had already produced several of Fiona Joy Hawkin’s and Oster’s albums plus Blatt’s recordings The Color of Sunshine, Emergence, and Latitudes and Longitudes featuring Oster on horn; Blatt and Fiona met while recording a special project on Blue Coast Music.
Oster remembers that each of them brought two or three songs to the project to which they added their parts under the guidance of Ackerman’s longtime production partner at Imaginary Road, Tom Eaton. The group likens Eaton’s multi-faceted role in the success of the project as that of The Fifth Beatle.
Reflecting on FLOW’s debut project, Oster says, “If you look back into any time of human existence, this need for peaceful breathing and listening has always and will always be deeply important. It’s not only New Age music, it is EVERY AGE music!”
FLOW made their official debut with an album release celebration at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on October 6, 2017. The group is booking concert dates this Spring, including a featured performance at the Zone Music Awards on Saturday May 12th at Roussell Hall in New Orleans; they are nominated for both Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.
“By Sari Cohen”
“These are four musicians who are all self-sufficient in their talents. They’re brilliant at making albums that are unique and musically successful as soloists. The lovely surprise is that they, we, all managed with grace and ease to come together and create something new and different from anything any of us had ever done before,” Grammy-winner Will Ackerman explains.
“By Angel Romero”
Flow is a supergroup of musicians who have been involved with New Age music for many years. The term New Age is used to describe a wide range of genres, from easy listening acoustic music to electronic meditation music. In this case, Flow performs peaceful and ethereal instrumental music with smooth jazz, folk, gliding ambient sounds and classical music elements.
Link to USA Tour Dates and Tickets
FLOW hope to tour Australia at select locations in 2019
Carol Albert releases her new album ‘ Fly Away Butterfly, a Jazzy, Soulful offering with some modern twists and talks to us about her early influences-
Tell us about the moment you decided to become a Songwriter and Performer?
It was never a conscious decision . I grew up with music in my church playing the Organ for Worship Services and Singing with the Oldschool southern “Singing Schools” of the South where we learned Solfege (shape-Do-Re-Mi ) notes which we sang to the music instead of lyrics to Gospel Songs. I took piano lessons as well while I was growing up. I didn’t decide to major in music/piano until my Sophomore year of College. It was after I graduated from College that I decided to play Pop Music in Clubs, Bars and Private Events as well as teaching private Piano Lessons.
How did my family feel about it?
My Dad publicly announced at a family gathering that he would give me 10 cents when I graduated from College because that is all my Degree would be worth. He always thought I should just be a school-teacher.
Tell us a little about your music and what a crowd can expect at a live show?
My music is a combination of Smooth Jazz, Ambient World and New Age Music. I intersperse Instrumental Piano and Vocals with other instruments like Saxophone, Guitar, Bass , Drums . With some really upbeat tunes mixed with more introspective Ballads that are Piano driven.
What is the first record you bought and why?
I bought the Album “Close To The Edge” by Yes because it was my 1st Concert to ever attend. I was blown away and listened to the record until the Grooves were worn down. Then Emerson, Lake and Palmer, The Moody Blues and Pink Floyd. The keyboards were so over my head I just listened over and over trying to figure it all out.
You are on stage with Hans Zimmer. What do you say?
i would be awkward and speechless but, having seen him this summer in Atlanta, I think he would be very earthy and friendly. I wouldn’t know what to say except “ I’m in awe of your work! “
What is the one thing you want/need that you think will make you a successful artist? Why?
What is success? is it making enough money to retire and travel around the World or is it having the ability to create music that is so intrinsically satisfying that it doesn’t matter if you ever do anything else? Success for me is reaching as many ears as possible and have people contact me saying “Your music is beautiful . it really touched my soul. We want to hear more.” Of course , making it monetarily feasible is always a challenge and some people equate success with how much money you make/made. Recognition is always a nice validation that your work is successful with monetary rewards.
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