Open Sky David Nevue 2013 / Midnight Rain Productions 1.1 hours
"Open Sky" is the much-anticipated fourteenth solo piano album from David Nevue, and I truly believe this is his best work to date. The seventeen tracks on this album were composed over a fairly long period of time and show a more dynamic and darker side of Nevue’s composing style. His 2011 A Delicate Joy was a collection of light, joyful music and Open Sky goes into an entirely different direction. Not all of the pieces are dark or somber, though, so the album has an emotional balance. Four tracks are original cover arrangements and the other thirteen are original compositions. The CD also has an impressive booklet that includes extensive liner notes about the inspiration for each piece as well as photos by Nevue and his wife, Julie - a beautiful package! Some of the music on this album is more experimental than music Nevue has released in the past, and some of it has a more spontaneous, improvised feeling. Recorded at Joe Bongiorno’s Piano Haven Studio, the piano sound is perfect - warm, rich, and soulful.
"Open Sky" begins with the title track, a piece about freedom, exploration, and the exhilaration that comes from seeing and experiencing new things. The rhythmic energy of this piece gives it a sense of movement and of having fun. I love Nevue’s description of “The Sound of Sunshine”: “a celebration of those ‘wide awake moments’ when you feel truly alive, almost as if you were somehow standing a little closer to heaven.” “Butterfly Dance” was inspired while watching a butterfly “dance” its way around the steaming mud pits in Yellowstone - very light and free. The classic hymn “For The Beauty of the Earth” is given a make-over that renders it fresh and revitalized. “Forgotten Places” came from a family exploration of abandoned churches and ghost towns in Eastern Oregon. Feelings of loss and nostalgia for what went before make this a haunting and stirring piece - a favorite. I also love the lively, but somewhat ominous “Undertow.” Nevue’s melancholy take on “Scarborough Fair” is my favorite arrangement of this song since Simon and Garfunkle’s classic recording. “Distant Thunder” is quite different from anything Nevue has released to date. An improvisation from an earlier recording session, the piece is ambient and atmospheric rather than melodic and makes an excellent lead-in to what could become Nevue’s new signature piece, “Twister.” Dark and mysterious with an infectious, swirling left hand rhythm, I can’t wait for the sheet music for this one! I get a little tired of “The Water Is Wide,” but Nevue’s simple, heartfelt take on the beautiful melody has made me appreciate it again. “Dark Afternoon” is my favorite track. Composed as part of a Passion Play, it represents Jesus’ dark afternoon on the cross. Slow and spare, the notes sound easy enough, but the emotional impact is essential - gorgeous! “Echo Canyon” is dark and mysterious in a different way. The rhythmic left hand sets a tone that conveys a sense of majesty. “Eclipse” is a soulful and introspective piece inspired in part by an improvised duet with Joe Bongiorno - this one makes my fingers itch, too. Great stuff! "Open Sky" closes with Nevue’s sweet and gentle arrangement of “Morning Has Broken.”
Wow, what a great album! "Open Sky" is currently available from www.DavidNevue.com and will be available soon from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. I give it my highest recommendation!