11/12/2014

New Age Instrumental Review: Rick Sparks-Endless

Release Date: October 1, 2014
Label: Independent

Rick Sparks began his journey into music at a mere seven years of age with an old spinet. Over the years he has played in churches, been a music DJ, a broadcaster and finally an artist with several albums to his credit. Pop, gospel and classical all make an appearance and he was heavily influenced by Vince Guaraldi and George Winston and grew to love New Age. His new album Endless is a mix of original compositions an Irish hymn and four Scottish ballads with a song from Bill Leslie’s hit album Scotland - Grace of the Wild. The cover was designed by starscape photographer Ben Canales and the theme of the album is God’s everlasting love, always endless, always present even when sometimes it doesn’t seem like it.

The album opens with Gordon Lightfoot’s 1970 piece “Beautiful.” It then moves into the piece “Dream Angus.” When I first heard the title I immediately thought of last night’s dinner of a dreamy looking steak sitting on my plate and as I closed my eyes, my spirit was indeed replenished and rejuvenated. Whether by the thoughts of last night’s bliss or the beautiful piano music drifting over me, I felt the peace Sparks was trying to convey. Sleeping dreams can be had while we are awake if only we allow ourselves to see the greatness in all that God has provided us; sound and substance, melody and rapture, or even just a steak with some very lovely sauce. Piano and eloquence is the champagne of life.

“Endless” is the title track for the album. Delicate piano strains twist and turn into a provocative and thought provoking musical narrative. God is the endless sky…the eternal force that keeps the universe ticking. No matter the name-because names are fleeting-the energy is there. Always and forever. A breath of life and a sparkle in the velvet darkness.

“Wexford Carol” is an old song that makes me think of the holidays whenever I hear it. Full of hearth and heart, it calls to mind the gathering of family and friends to take stock in all that is truly important in this world. Percussion, wind instruments, piano and a myriad of instrumentation bring this classic song of hope and the majesty of the human spirit to life.

“Loch Lomond” is pure magic. The ethereal nature of this piece was a shiver of delight. Vast and eternal as the starry skies on the beautiful album cover, this song is a blend of vocals, piano and various other electronica. The blend of music and effects crafts a piece that dips deep into the primordial mysteries of a loch in the wilds of Scotland and I wouldn’t be surprised if a wee kelpie were to pop up and say boo. Of all the tracks, this song was one that reverberated with mystery and made me want to look into the deep to see what would be watching back.

Rick Sparks is a musician with several albums under his belt. His love of music shows in every track on Endless and the blend of original works, cover songs and historic favorites make this album a wonderful listen. He is a professor of mass communication and a pianist at his local church.  If you want a respite from the world this holiday season have a sit down with Endless.It is a joy to the world. Kind of like pie…

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Endless, Loch Lomond, Wexford Carol, Dream Angus

Tracks:
01. Beautiful
02. Dream Angus
03. Endless
04. Be Thou My Vision
05. Portree
06. Wexford Carol
07. Wonderful, Merciful Savior
08. At Rest
09. Loch Lomond
10. Be Still, My Soul

 
Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer

November 12, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


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