CD: Winding Down
Artist: David Nevue

windingdown_300It doesn’t take a crystal ball to know that we are in a time of tremendous change, upheaval, and turmoil. One only has to turn on the TV or read a newspaper. These changes have also been foretold in The Bible, the Hopi Prophecy, some Eastern religions, and more. While for many, the state of affairs in our world is cause for feelings of helplessness and despair, for others there is a sense of hope and a higher vision that guides their perceptions. David Nevue is one of the latter, and the unfolding of current events plays a role in the theme of his latest release, Winding Down. But more on this later, for now let’s gain some insight into this talented artist.


David Nevue is considered one of the premier solo pianists in the genres of contemporary instrumental and new age music. In fact, a number of the accomplished pianists I have written about look up to him as one of the best. This is the third album by David that I have featured, as well as a wonderful resource book he has written for independent musicians entitled: How To Promote Your Music Successfully On The Internet. The other two albums I’ve covered, A Delicate Joy, and Open Sky contain a fair amount of background info about David, which readers may find of interest. But briefly, David’s music has earned him numerous awards and accolades, as well as extensive worldwide radio airplay. And speaking of radio, David has created Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio, a free 24-hour internet radio program that is enjoyed by nearly a million listeners a month.


In my interview with David, he shared some of the stepping-stones that led him to where he is today: “Most of my early years at school were all about choir. In high school, I was heavily involved in school musicals and sung with the madrigal and show choirs. So, life before college was pretty much all about ‘voice.’ When I headed to college, I went in as a music major. However, I dropped my music major after my first semester – pretty ironic now.” Its also ironic that as much of a solo piano icon as David is now, his early musical influences were artists like Pink Floyd, Rush, Clannad, Kate Bush, Jeff Johnson, and Renaissance.


He goes on to explain: “Like many others of my generation, I was inspired by the music of George Winston. I wasdavid_nevue_concert_photo3 introduced to his music by my college roommate back in the mid-80’s at a time when I thought I wanted to play rock and roll. Before hearing Winston’s music, the idea of playing “solo piano” never occurred to me. But after hearing his music, I thought to myself: “I can do that. And that style of music became a vehicle of expression for me… and my musical identity.”


On the subject of identity, it is impossible to understand David, his music, and this album in particular without mentioning that he is a person of deep spiritual faith who is guided by and finds his higher purpose in the teachings of Christianity. These beliefs are intimately interwoven into the fabric of this recording and reflected in the liner notes with references to scripture. As he shares: “There is a deeper meaning behind the music, as there always is with my work. The tone of the album has been colored by my growing sense of the shortness of time. Major world events – geo-political, social and natural – are accelerating from crisis to crisis so quickly we can’t keep up. Time is becoming more compressed… its passage quickening. It’s as if our physical realm is caught in a whirlpool, winding down with increasing velocity toward the “end of the age.” (Matt. 24, Luke 21, Rev. 6 and 7, 2nd Peter 3). My awareness of this, and of what I know is yet to come, has created a yearning in me. The music on this album is a reflection of that yearning (Rom. 8:18-28).”


While the album is entitled Winding Down, there is a fascinating feature incorporated in the music that points in a different direction. As David describes it, each track is composed in a key that is a half step up from the track that precedes it. Although there were some changes and adjustments that happened before the album was finished, according to David: “The key from song to song never goes down – it always moves up. As you listen you are, musically speaking, being continually lifted up. That is by design.”


uraThe opening track entitled “The Acceleration of Time,” relates to some of what David was discussing above. I know that, for me, time certainly feels like it is accelerating, and I’ve wondered whether it just something we perceive as wet get older, or if it is more global and part of the bigger picture. But, as can be expected with this song, there is a definite sense of forward motion building from its more relaxed starting point in the first movement. While just about all the songs on the album are solo pieces, the sole exception is track 3, “Clockwork.” As David says of this song: “Four hands required!” The track was written, arranged, and performed by David and Neil Patton. It’s a passionate piece that reflects a diverse emotional spectrum.


The album’s title track, “Winding Down,” lives up to its name with a gently rolling melody that is a nice contrast to the previous song. I particularly appreciated David’s use of space on a piece called “Toward The Inevitable.” At almost 8 minutes in length, it is the longest of the 15 tracks on the album, and takes its time in unfolding, punctuated by pregnant pauses that build anticipation for what will come next. By this point in the album I was also aware of something David said in his liner notes: “I also made a determined effort to include little musical surprises in each composition… something that would turn your ear just a bit. If you find yourself saying, ‘I didn’t expect that!’ while listening to a song, then I achieved my purpose.” To which I would say: “mission accomplished!”


I loved the wonderfully mysterious vibe created in the intro to “Signs In The Heavens,” which imbued the piece with a cinematic ambience. A more wistful air characterizes the emotionally charged composition entitled “The Long Regret,” which evolves slowly and evocatively. Drawing from a Biblical phrase in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “Through A Glass Darkly,” paints a more somber portrait in sound that taken in context of David’s body of work on this album, reveals another facet of his extensive range as a composer. However, a change in the weather is felt on the following song, “The Four Winds,” with David’s left hand arpeggios and waltzing right hand melodies in ¾ time. A most warm and tender ambience is evoked in the next to the last track, entitled “Our Hope Is Here.” Its soft comforting cadence enfolds the listener like angel’s wings. And last, but certainly not least, is a lovely composition called “A Thousand Years And After” that provides an absolutely perfect ending to David’s musical vision.


And to further illuminate that vision in words, I will quote David’s statement: “With all the craziness happening in the world ENDTIME-TERMINUSright now, it would be easy to give in to fear. We must not do that. It’s important we don’t abandon hope, because in the end, hope will prevail. We must choose to overcome the fear. I believe that all things – even things we now perceive as evil – will eventually work to the greater good.” I do ultimately believe that, as hard as it may be at times, given the appearance of our world situation. But I appreciate David’s sentiments in creating this album. Winding Down is a complete body of work from a master musician and deserves to be heard in its entirety rather than as single tracks. The thoughtful and informative liner notes and artwork complete the package and add to the experience of the album. With his latest release, Winding Down, David Nevue has certainly reinforced his position as one of the preeminent solo pianists in the genre.







Links to David Nevue’s music:


CD Baby