Showing posts with label Adult Contemporary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adult Contemporary. Show all posts


Adult Contemporary/New Age Review: Richard Shulman-Life Seasons

Release Date: July 1, 2020
Label: Richheart Music

Richard Shulman has recorded 28 albums and collaborated on dozens more. The soon to be released Life Seasons is the next proper album.

I like the thought of the seasons theoretically and how it fits each individual's age and current life situation. For instance, the winter of your life would likely be your seventies or eighties dependent on your health.

I would consider Life Seasons as a new age album thematically but musically it is adult contemporary with different elements sprinkled in. Richard’s beautiful piano playing takes center stage and he creates each track like the colorful pictures on the album cover.

“Summer Solstice” is performed by Richard’s trio. The lazy season is given the proper treatment with some cool jazz-inflected laid-back sounds. In the same frame of reference “Bohemian Summer” is a nice jazz number to kick off your shoes and soak in. As the notes are created your mind is set at ease, imagine just floating on a soft billowing cloud.

As we move into the changing seasons “Pre-Autumn” segues into “Sweet Autumn.” The tides of the music change with the season as the paces slow down and speed up in different parts of the composition, intimating the real-life changes you can see when nature does its magic. As autumn ends then we go “Spinning Into Winter” with a nice vocal performance from Wendy Jones, to follow is a solo piano performance from Richard titled “Winter Solstice.” His solo playing is very elegant and appropriate for the distinctiveness of the winter season and all its beauty as it covers the mountains and trees.

“Winter Solstice Dream” continues our seasonal walk through one of mother nature’s most celebrated seasons. It is the most prolific track that includes a spoken word performance from Wendy. The dialogue is significant and reflects much more than the actual season. It goes beyond relating to us as humans and how we translate mother nature’s work. The track runs for 9:52 with a backdrop of Richard’s tinkling ivories leading down the path of realizations as the spoken word continues telling a fascinating story. It is an exceptional track and presented beautifully.

The cycle continues with “Hope for Spring” and the beginning of the thaw with “Early Spring.” Richard’s piano is alive and thriving with exuberance and a consistent rhythm.

Now that I have heard all of the piano instrumentations, I have the belief that the foundation of this music was derived from classical and morphed into a new age, contemporary, and jazz leanings type of listening. All of it made for a perfectly enjoyable listen from beginning to end.

Life Seasons
is quite the journey, offering each listener a taste of every season through the eyes and hands of many talented artists through the piano and other assorted instruments. Everything that went into this recording is just as dissimilar as all the seasons. That is the one element that I found the most interesting and relatable. Of course, every listener will find something different and that is what makes it so unique and special to those that choose to listen.

The personal for this diverse musical collection includes:

The Trio:
Richard Shulman - piano, all compositions and arrangements,
Zack Page - bass on all except #8,10, 13.
Rick Dilling - drums on all except #8,10,13

Vocal Quartet:
Wendy Jones - soprano #4,7,9,10,13 and flute on #7
Paula Hanke - alto #1,4,9,13.
Sherman Hoover - tenor #4,9,13.
Bob Bencze - bass/baritone #4,9,13.
Ron Clearfield - cello #1,7

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
June 5, 2020

Track List:

01. Life Seasons - 5:00 - vocal feat. Paula Hanke
02. Summer Solstice - 4:40 - trio
03. Summer Night - 4:02 - trio
04. Bohemian Summer - 4:13 vocal quartet
05. Pre-Autumn - 5:13 - trio
06. Sweet Autumn - 4:33 trio
07. Spinning into Winter - 3:30 vocal feat. Wendy Jones
08. Winter Solstice - 3:39 - solo piano
09. Velvet Shoes - 3:22 - vocal quartet
10. Winter Solstice Dream - 9:52 - spoken word feat. Wendy Jones
11. Hope for Spring - 5:20 - trio
12. Early Spring - 5:36 - trio
13. The Fairy of Mystery Blue - 3:14 vocal quartet

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Easy Listening Review: Paul & Friends-Journey of the Heart

Genre: Easy Listening
Release Date: April 2, 2016
Label: P&J Records
Nine years have passed since I had heard music from Paul Sammarco. I covered his Smooth Sailing album back in 2007 and as I recall it was a jazz flavored treat that I really enjoyed. I was hoping for the same kind of experience with Journey of the Heart. With a total of 12 featured tracks and an additional four bonus tracks there is a lot to take in. There was nothing to be disappointed about at all throughout this release.

The lead off and title track “Journey of the Heart” kicks of the album in an upbeat fashion musically and with the expressive vocals of Michael Klaus. This is easy listening or adult contemporary however it does cross over quite a bit into other areas as it is sprinkled with jazz, pop, some rock, kind of like a musical kettle of fish if you will. For these ears that is just fine and dandy. I appreciate the eclectic approach if it is presented properly. 

“Lost and Found” is such nice track, the acoustic guitar lines and piano conveys a touching message of life and some of the misfortune we experience and the other brighter things we may along that journey.

If you can remember 70s radio, if you are old enough that is, “Laughter in the Rain” will bring back a lot of memories of AM radio and those long hot summer days. “Create In Me A Clean Heart” is an instrumental to change the course a bit then “Yesterday’s Dream” is a bluesy folk song with a longing guitar strumming and harmonica calling out like a train looking for its tracks. With Sarah Sullivan on vocals it has all the elements for some fine home cookin’ ready to order blues. That is what this recording offers, constant change and so many different styles you just never have the opportunity to get uninterested.

I think the mixture of talent on vocals and the variety of instruments involved with each track is a sure fire winner. It is not an easy task to bring together so much talent and make it work just right and I would have to say that Paul Sammarco and Friends sure put their best foot forward on this fine recording. It is definitely worth a good listen or two, if you cannot find some tracks you enjoy something is missing, like a pulse! So find a comfy chair, get the fireplace going and turn it up, it will warm your soul.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Journey of the Heart, Lost and Found, Yesterday’s Dream

01. Journey of the Heart
02. Call Her Mellow
03. Lost and Found
04. Laughter in the Rain
05. Create in Me a Clean Heart
06. Yesterday's Dream
07. Bad Habits
08. Beautiful Day (Reprise)
09. The Lord, He Knows
10. Find Your Paradise
11. Out of the Woods
12. The 23rd Psalm, With a Children's Prayer
Bonus Tracks:
13. Have You Ever Seen (Background Vocals Version)
14. Drift Away (Background Vocals Version)
15. Just One More Time (Background Vocals Version)
16. Just One More Time (Lead and Background Vocals Version)   
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
Founder of:

June 1, 2016
Review Provided By Write A Music Review


Stream Feature: Sara Stevens - Promise

Sara Stevens just turned 15 years old and when you hear her voice you will be amazed how mature it sounds. I know we have all heard the term child prodigy overused in many areas of life however this young lady defines that term!

On the track "Promise" she sings about sending her daddy an angel while at war and while doing so sounds like one. 

This adult contemporary piece is a beautiful arrangement that highlights her incredible vocals. I can see Sara becoming a big star either as someone similar to Susan Boyle or finding her place in performing operas. Either way she is a success and will continue on that path.

Listen to this track and a future star at work!

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

More About Sara:

Sara Stevens Performing
Sara Stevens has the kind of voice you hear once in a lifetime. Crystal-pure in tone, soaring from warm lows to shiver-inducing highs, it combines natural sweetness with conviction and power.That voice alone is enough to make Sara a remarkable artist.  What’s even more amazing is that she is 15 years old. Sara is one of those undeniable talents who can make the most skeptical music professional sit up and take notice. “Most of the time, when people say, ‘I want you to hear this really talented 12 year-old, you go, ‘yeah, right,’” composer/producer Paul Schwartz, conductor of Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera, reminisces. “But I’ve never worked with anyone like Sara. Her voice would be surprising coming out of anybody. It’s one of those sounds that make the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up. 

She’s just fantastically musical naturally.”Whether she’s singing an operatic aria, a musical theater standard or a tune she helped to write, Sara’s ability to embody the soul of a song is a rare gift. More than just displaying technical excellence, she brings a deep emotional commitment to her music. You can’t help but be a little in awe of what she does. (Excerpt of Bio from artist webpage)


Adult Contemporary Review: Margo Rey-Habit

Artist: Margo Rey
Title: Habit
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Label: Organica Music Group
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Margo Rey’s style transcends many different musical genres and brings them all together as a beautiful amalgamation of sounds on her third album, Habit. Born in Mexico and working in the music biz since the age of 11 has helped her really fine tune her voice, and boy, does it show. Her voice is not only full and emotional on each song; she can also switch it up to fit within the different sounds of the music. She is a sort of chameleon of vocals - a very pretty one....READ MORE...



Tammy Allen From Me To You Review

Artist: Tammy Allen
Title: From Me To You
Genre: AC-Pop-Rock-Jazz
Label: TD Entertainment
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You know the old adage that it takes one person to say one bad thing for it to spread to ten people in no time? Well, imagine a world that was the polar opposite? Just think for a minute if every time someone said something negative that the one person that was receiving the message dismissed it and said something positive to ten different people during the course of a day. What kind of world would it be if everyone did that for just one day? I know this will probably never happen because it is not realistic, but it sure is nice to dream....READ MORE...


Laura Pursell-Somewhere In This Room

Artist: Laura Pursell
Title: Somewhere In This Room
Genre: Adult Contemporary-Rock-Pop
Label: Cloudshine Global Music
Somewhere In This Room CD Baby Link
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Somewhere In This Room is a work of art put into motion with the angelic voice of Laura Pursell. If you were to base this recording on the lengthy write up that Laura contributes in the CD booklet before you listen, there is no doubt you will perceive everything quite differently. I took the time to read the introspective outlook the artist has on her world and music, and found that the output of her work matches her philosophy...READ MORE...