Album: Elysian
Artist: Lynn Yew Evers

elysian-300x300If there was ever a perfect Sunday morning album, Elysian, the new release from pianist/composer Lynn Yew Evers is it – although it is equally enjoyable any time or day of the week. Her gentle piano melodies, accompanied by a host of world-class musicians, caress and soothe the listener into a peaceful and relaxed state. With production by Will Ackerman, Lynn’s heartfelt playing and compositions are as emotionally evocative as they are elegantly understated, providing a collection of songs that can be enjoyed over and over again.


Its been a while since I wrote about Lynn’s Dawn of Peace album back in February of 2012, so I was looking forward to hearing what she has been up to musically over the last few years. In my previous feature article I went into detail about Lynn’s musical background and achievements, so rather than repeating it all here, I’ll refer readers who may be interested to that article. However, I would like to briefly list just a few of the many highlights from her distinguished career, in addition to being a two-time Global Music Award winner and her latest album Elysian winning a silver award:


–  Performed, by invitation, for the King and Queen of Malaysia.

–  Performed, by invitation, for the Prime Minister, and dignitaries of Malaysia.

–  Nominated by ZMR for Best New Album of the Year

–  Nominated twice by EPR for Best Solo Piano of the Year

–  Twice won Best Album of the Month by The Akadamia of Music


In my interview with Lynn, I asked her for any personal reflections or back-story about the album, to which she replied: “Elysian is about my journey over the last 15 years. It started in Malaysia (where she was raised) with pain, sadness, heartache, the unknown, and finally a light at the end of the tunnel – a hope, a vision, a paradise to come.  Each track on Elysian represents a portion of my journey to the Spokane, WA. Now I see peace, beauty, happiness, and contentment. Each day shines, with glorious days ahead. I have a hope, I have a vision, I have ELYSIAN.”


She goes on to talk about her sources of inspiration and creative process: “In the mornings I sit by my piano542691_4450955321761_717081186_n with a cup of white coffee and look out the window. The coffee is hot and soothing. The view is scenic and peaceful. These inspire me and I play as the scenery moves across my mind: a bird, a deer, a car, a runner – I hear music in the scenery around me and a song is birthed. I see and hear music in nature and in relationships and these inspire the music I compose. The content, style, harmony, and melodies are natural and fit comfortably into both the New Age genre and the Contemporary Instrumental genre.” Although she cites Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff as having a profound influence on her playing and compositions in the earlier years.


With regard to her new release, Lynn shares: “Elysian is a perfect blend of harmony and melody that I hope will stir the listener’s innermost feelings of passion, romance, and memories of a distant love. Elysian is unique in that each composition is written in a different key, with each key representing a different mood, mode, temperament, and color. It is based on what I have heard, what I have smelled, and what I have felt on my journey.” As with her last album, Lynn has chosen to record at the iconic Imaginary Road Studios of GRAMMY winning producer and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman. Accompanying her are some of Will’s world-class studio musicians who I will mention as we discuss the tracks.


The term “elysian” means heavenly or blissful, and is certainly an appropriate title for Lynn’s heartfelt music. In the above-mentioned interview, Lynn referred to the album as a journey, and this is meant in the literal sense. In the album’s liner notes she describes the opening track, “As The Train Leaves” in this way: “… the start of an Old-train-station-KLincredible journey for a somewhat lost man who meets a humble pianist in a train station in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He asks her for directions, and then a drink, and what starts in the train station in Kuala Lumpur, moves to Ipoh, Malaysia, and then on to America, where the journey begins to unfold.” Lynn’s graceful grand piano playing creates a sentimental ambiance that is quite emotionally evocative and draws the listener into the voyage that is unfolding. Musical traveling companions on this track include frequent Will Ackerman collaborators Jill Haley on English horn (click the link to read my feature articles on Jill’s own recordings,) and also famed bassist Tony Levin, best known for his work with Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, and many more. Here Tony plays an NS Stick, which is an 8 stringed instrument on which notes are tapped with fingers on the fretboard.


Words I would use to describe the feel of track 2, “Remembering Love,” are “nostalgic,” “romantic,” and “wistful,” just to name a few. Lynn describes it in this way: “There are friends that come into your life with a sudden splash and fill it with joy every day… Sometimes, just as suddenly, they are gone.” Lynn dedicates this piece to KH Kong, “who left us too soon in the winter of 2014.” Lynn is accompanied on bass by Tom Eaton, a producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist at Imaginary Road Studios, whose own excellent album I recently had the pleasure of writing about. The third track, “Kindred Spirit” relates back to the narrative that began in the first track and is: “a testament to the commitment, the dedication, and the love of the somewhat lost man and the humble pianist.” The words I used to describe track 2 are equally applicable here as well, and the composition again features Jill Haley and Tony Levin.


With 13 tracks on the album, I won’t go into detail about all of them, but will point out some highlights and 2-IMG_1661_pp Lynn 5observations about her music. As I have described above, Lynn’s music is elegantly understated and evocative. Although it may seem an odd comparison, it reminds me of the taste of bittersweet chocolate. Her compositions are neither bright and sunny nor dark and melancholy, but often inhabit an emotional middle ground between the two. The title of a track called “Shrouded Hope,” seems to echo this contrast. Adding to the emotive quality of this song are GRAMMY winning flutist Wouter Kellerman and cellist Eugene Friesen, who is well known as a member of The Paul Winter Consort.


Unlike some albums that include a multitude of wildly varying styles and influences there is a comfortable consistency in Elysian from track to track, and I think I can safely say that if you like one song, you will like them all. That said, one track in particular that reflects a slight bit of stylistic diversity, as well as Lynn’s classical roots, is the unusually titled “Night Owl, In the Style of a Nocturne.” Also featured on this track is superstar violinist Charlie Bisharat who has played with everybody from Kitaro and Yanni to Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Elton John, and a huge list of top artists. Here, his sensuous violin adds a bit of a gypsy feel that is further enhanced by the ethereal wordless vocals of Noah Wilding and Tom Eaton on bass.


Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton, and Lynn Yew Evers

Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton, and Lynn Yew Evers

I also wanted to make mention of some of the other world class accompanists who add their musical colors to Lynn’s graceful compositions: Premik Russell Tubbs (Santana, Lady Gaga, Sting, and more) on wind instruments, Jordan Buetow whose albums with Erwillian I enjoyed writing about, and last but certainly not least, Will Ackerman himself on acoustic guitar. In addition to the duets and ensemble pieces, the album also features a couple of lovely solo piano compositions. I must also shine a spotlight on the stunning 20-page booklet that accompanies the album and includes a separate page for each song with comments by Lynn and a photo that reflects the essence of the song. I have to give Lynn a lot of credit for putting so much loving detail into this aspect of the project. Her music alone is impressive enough but this artistic enhancement truly takes it to another level. Also recognizing Lynn’s many talents is Will Ackerman, to whom I will give the last words: “Lynn Evers has the heart of a romantic and the hands of an artist. The combination is very powerful. Her music is like a walk through the most beautiful garden you’ve ever imagined; her compositions imbued with profound emotion and grace.”


Click the links below to hear samples and/or purchase this album: