Category: Featured Music

CD: Passionata
Artist: Denise Young

Passionata-by-Denise-YoungFor many people, the quest to find love and fulfill their passion in life is all consuming. Those who are fortunate enough to have found that path and set foot upon it are truly blessed. One such person is Denise Young. Her third and newest release, Passionata, is a reflection of that desire.

Continue reading

Craftsman by Bob Ardern

CD: Craftsman
Artist: Bob Ardern


CraftsmanCanadian finger-style guitarist Bob Ardern has a hard act to follow with his new album entitled Craftsman. That act is his previous release Wires Rosewood and Roots, which debuted at number 3 on the Zone Music Reporter Album Chart in March 2012, and was in the number 1 spot within two months. Continue reading

CD: New Horizon
Artist: Minstrel Streams

New HorizonThe word “confluence” can be defined as: “where streams flow together to form a river.” This is significant, not only in that it is connected to how the duo Minstrel Streams got their name, but also on a much more personal level. Matt and Rebecca Stuart were introduced as fellow musicians under “chance” circumstances to discuss a songwriting project, and to make a long story short, wound up not only creating a musical entity, but also becoming husband and wife just six months later – the ultimate confluence. Since they began playing together in 2008, the duo has released four albums, including their latest, New Horizon.

Continue reading

CD: Solo Piano Tales
Artist: Piotr Komorowski

Solo Piano TalesTo say that Polish pianist and conductor Piotr Komorowski has had a distinguished professional career would certainly be an understatement. Not content to rest on his laurels, however, he is constantly exploring and pursuing new creative frontiers. Continue reading

CD: Sacred Name Sacred Codes
Artist: J.J. Hurtak & Desiree Hurtak with Steven Halpern

Sacred Name Sacred CodesIn recent years the number of albums being released which center on devotional singing, chanting mantras, kirtan, etc. has been on the rise. This is a good indication that more and more spiritual seekers are looking to sound and music that goes beyond entertainment, and which can be used as a tool for inner attunement. A new entry into this genre, although based on very ancient teachings, is Sacred Name Sacred Codes by Drs. J.J. Hurtak and Desiree Hurtak, that features a musical soundtrack well known new age music pioneer and sound healer Steven Halpern. Continue reading

CD: Tapestries of Time
Artist: Ann Sweeten

Tapestries of TimeAs guitarist/songwriter Steve Miller sang in one of his many radio classics: “Time keeps on ticking… into the future.” The subject of time is one that has intrigued artists, musicians, and writers, inspiring them to create reflections of its mysteries. The new album, Tapestries of Time, by award-winning pianist and official “Steinway Artist” Ann Sweeten, is one of these. In her words: “The pieces on this album have to do with time in some concept or other. There may be a direct reference, a captured moment, an isolated experience or inspiration drawn from a particular event, the idea of infinity and limitless possibility.” Continue reading

The Healing by Char-El

CD: The Healing
Artist: Char-El

The HealingI must say that I have been a long-time fan of the otherworldly music of Ohio-based synthesist and keyboardist/composer Charles Thaxton who records under the name of Char-El.  So the news of his latest release, The Healing, was not only music to my ears, but to my mind and body as well, which I’ll talk about in a minute. Continue reading

CD: Out Of Nothing
Artist: Matteo Palmer

Out Of NothingAlthough I’ve been playing the guitar for almost 50 years, after hearing Matteo Palmer, I may never play again. Just kidding of course, but it was sobering to realize that at the tender age of 17, Matteo is already a more accomplished guitarist than I will ever be, although our styles are different. And the fact is that he is not just good for someone his age, he is amazing for any age.  Continue reading

Chakra Love by Mantrananda


CD: Chakra Love
Artist: Mantrananda.

Chakra LoveChakra Love is the debut CD from a Los Angeles-based duo of Vicki Howie and Jeff Bonilla who record under the name Mantrananda. The word means “the bliss of spiritual sayings (mantras).” Incidentally, for those who may not be familiar, chakras are the energy centers of the body as described in Eastern spiritual teachings. Continue reading

CD: River Serene
Artist: Timothy Wenzel

River SereneI must say that I’ve always had a fondness for “concept albums,” or recordings that weave a thread throughout. Such is the case with keyboardist Timothy Wenzel’s new release entitled River Serene. This album follows in the wake of his previous highly successful album, A Coalescence Of Dreams, which was ranked in the number 5 spot on the international Zone Music Reporter Top 100 radio airplay chart. River Serene is Timothy’s third release, and I have every reason to believe that it will be as popular, if not more so, than his earlier ones.

Continue reading

Sojourn by Jim Gabriel

CD: Sojourn
Artist: Jim Gabriel

SojournOne thing that has not been lost on pianist Jim Gabriel is the value of education  – both his own, and that which he imparts to others. With so much being said these days about the cutting of funding to arts programs in the schools, its gratifying to see someone like Jim who has done so much with his extensive education and is now giving back to a new generation, as a music teacher and choir director. Continue reading

Nocturnes by Dan Chadburn

CD: Nocturnes
Artist: Dan Chadburn

NocturnesNocturnes is the fourth album release from classically trained pianist Dan Chadburn, whose performance venues have included Carnegie Hall in New York, Symphony Hall in Boston and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Additionally, his choral compositions have been recorded and performed in the Concert Hall of The Kennedy Center. Continue reading

CD: The Undiscovered Horizon
Artist: Harrison Edwards

The Undiscovered HorizonDescribed as “a poet who expresses himself through his music,” Harrison Edwards is a multi-instrumental musician and composer, as well as being a novelist. His latest CD release, The Undiscovered Horizon, follows his previous three successful albums, each of which was in the Top 100 on New Age radio airplay charts. Continue reading

CD: Sedona On My Mind
Artist: Louis Landon

Sedona On My MindAmong the most awe-inspiring vistas I’ve had the pleasure of viewing are the red rock canyon lands of Sedona, Arizona. In addition to natural beauty, their energy has served as a magnet for spiritual seekers as well. One recent transplant to this primordial landscape is pianist and Steinway Artist, Louis Landon, who in addition to composing and performing music likes to spend his time hiking the rugged backcountry trails. While Ray Charles may have had Georgia on his mind, Louis’ latest album is inspired by the grandeur of his new home in Sedona. Continue reading

CD: A New Age Of Classical Piano
Artist: Christopher Boscole

New Age of Classical PianoIn his previous album, Floating On A Melody, which I had the pleasure of writing about Christopher Boscole featured his original impressionistic piano compositions. However, on his latest release entitled “ A New Age Of Classical Piano,” he turns his creative focus to interpreting a sampling of works by some of the greatest classical composers the world has known.  Continue reading

Unlike the Stars by Vin Downes

CD: Unlike the Stars
Artist: Vin Downes

Unlike the StarsI’m trying to imagine the experience of having an album produced by one of your musical idols. I know that if Carlos Santana produced my next release, I would certainly have that dream-come-true experience. But for guitarist Vin Downes, that dream became a reality when he had the opportunity to work with Grammy winning producer and Windham Hill Records founder, Will Ackerman. Continue reading

CD: Music of the Extraordinary Voyages
Artist: larkenlyre (Matthew Labarge)

Music of the Extraordinary VoyagesAh, the lure of exotic adventures and far away lands… For Matthew Labarge, this calling has echoed throughout his life from his earliest years – first in books, and now in music. His latest album, Music of the Extraordinary Voyages, is in his words: “a collection of cinematic multi-layered sonic sketches inspired by the short stories and novels of Jules Verne, Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Each of the fourteen tracks is very different.  Hundreds of instruments, real and electronic, were used, as well as dozens of objects, instruments, and environments I recorded and sampled.  Each track is a unique sonic landscape unto itself, much like a great story.” Continue reading

CD: Call of the Mountains
Artist: Masako

Call of the MountainsRipples are still being felt in the wake of Masako’s self-titled debut release, which garnered extensive critical acclaim and radio airplay worldwide, as well as having provided the opening track on The Gathering, a stunning compilation album of music produced by Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman. In my feature article on Masako’s previous album, I gave some background about her musical history, so readers who may be interested can click this link to read more. Masako (pronounced ma-SAH-ko) is a gifted pianist and composer who seems to draw endless inspiration from nature and her surroundings. Continue reading

CD: Soundtrack to Life
Artist: Cosmo Frequency

Cosmo Frequency CDOn their hit song, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys sang about “picking up good vibrations.” Now, many years later, a new group called Cosmo Frequency is doing that as well, although on quite a different wavelength. According to one of the group’s founders, Paul Martinson, “We tune into the vibrations and positive influences which allows us to capture the music that surrounds us. Continue reading

CD: Winter Air
Artist: School of Irish Music

Winter AirWhile a recording of Gaelic or Celtic music is not unusual to find, one that was performed by children is. However, you would never guess by listening to it that many of the instrumentalists and vocalists range from age 9 to 18. All of the songs are traditional Irish tunes representing Christmas, New Years, and the winter season. Continue reading

Redemption by Paul Spaeth

CD: Redemption
Artist: Paul Spaeth

RedemptionFor some people, it is a long and winding road to get to the realization that music is going to be their career path in life. For others, however, the seeds of their musical inclinations sprout early and begin to blossom while they are still quite young. Continue reading

The Hours by Manfred Melcher

CD: The Hours
Artist: Manfred Melcher

The Hours CDI’m pleased to be one of the first music journalists to shine a spotlight on the debut album of a multi-talented artist named Manfred Melcher. I use the term “multi-talented” because in addition to being an accomplished finger-style acoustic guitarist and contemporary instrumental composer, Manfred is also an actor who has appeared on TV shows like Seinfeld, 21-Jump Street, Growing Pains, and more, as well as having a professional career as a psychotherapist and author of a book on that topic. Continue reading

CD: A Southern Sun
Artist: Joseph Akins

A Southern SunWhile the Nashville area, and Tennessee in general, is best known as the Garden of Eden for country music, many other genres of music grow and flourish there as well. A case in point is pianist and Tennessee resident Joseph Akins, whose instrumental music has been compared to George Winston, David Lanz, and Jim Brickman. Continue reading

CD: Carols of Christmas
Artist: David Hicken

Carols of ChristmasAs a prolific composer and recording artist, David Hicken has released a number of diverse albums over the years. The latest is a collection of his solo piano versions of Christmas classics that in addition to emanating holiday cheer, serves as a showcase for David’s formidable musical talent. His impressive abilities have been developed over a lifetime and include many distinguished achievements. Continue reading

CD: Tranquil Times
Artist: Darlene Koldenhoven

Tranquil TimesI must say that my curiosity was piqued when I received an all-instrumental album from a Grammy winning vocalist who sang as a featured soloist with Yanni in Live at the Acropolis (seen by over 1.5 billion people worldwide), and has sung backup for Barbara Streisand, Whitney Houston, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, and many others. Not to mention singing, vocal coaching, and performing with Whoopie Goldberg in the movie “Sister Act” – and, believe me, this does not begin to scratch the surface of her career as a vocalist. But on her new release Tranquil Times, Darlene Koldenhoven rests her golden voice and draws on other aspects of her professional skills as a pianist, synthesist, composer, arranger, orchestrator, and producer. Continue reading

Novella by Andre Feriante

CD: Novella: Ukulele Mosaique
Artist: Andre Feriante

Album Cover NovellaThe mention of a ukulele often conjures up images of swaying palm trees, sandy beaches, and women in grass skirts dancing the hula. However, the instrument far transcends this stereotype and is actually quite versatile in the right hands – in this case, the hands of guitar virtuoso Andre Feriante. Continue reading

Illumination by Peter Kater

CD: Illumination
Artist: Peter Kater

illuminationAs one of the most well known artists in the new age music genre, pianist and composer Peter Kater needs no lengthy introduction. With 8 Grammy nominations in the last 9 years, as well as scoring over 100 television programs and films including 11 Off and On-Broadway plays, he has certainly made a name for himself in the music industry. Peter’s iconic collaborations with Native American flute master R. Carlos Nakai, as well as numerous other recordings have sold millions of albums and brought him great success on the prestigious Billboard charts. Continue reading

CD: TO See You Again
Artist: Cathy Oakes

Cathy 0akesAlthough pianist Cathy Oakes  is relatively new to the world of recording, she has taught piano and voice for over 30 years. She released her first CD, Like a Song, in 2012, yet in the brief span of time since then, she has been prolific, and her new release, To See You Again, is now her third album. One would hope that as an artist progresses along their creative path, that there is an evolution, a deepening of their work. And this certainly holds true for Cathy Oakes. Continue reading

CD: What the Winter Said
Artist: Kathryn Kaye

What the Winter SaidWith the Fall colors starting to fade outside my window, and a chilly wind stripping the leaves from the trees, sending them flying in every direction, I’m in a proper frame of mind to write about pianist Kathryn Kaye’s brand new album, What the Winter Said. And its not unlikely that scenes such as this inspired the music in the first place. In her words: “Although the inspiration for my compositions comes from a variety of sources, the strongest by far is nature. I’m moved by nature’s colors, sounds, and changing seasons, all of which blend with melodies and visual images from my past.” Continue reading

God of Drum by Get Tribal

CD: God of Drum
Artist: Get Tribal

God Of Drum coverIn my more than 30 years as a new age music journalist and reviewer, I’ve seen and written about a number of albums specifically created to attune the energy centers or chakras of the body and spirit. However, God of Drum by Kari Hohne, who records under the name of Get Tribal, is certainly one of the most unique. She describes the album as “a collection of percussion-based tribal music inspired by the thunder deities of world mythology.” Continue reading

CD: Perfect Imperfection
Artist: Tom Carleno

cover“It is our very search for perfection outside ourselves that causes our suffering.” ~ The Buddha

These words of wisdom are part of the reason behind the title of Tom Carleno’s brand new solo album, Perfect Imperfection – but more on that later. Let me first say a few words of introduction about this talented artist. Hailing from my old stomping grounds of Denver, Colorado, Tom is an award-winning composer and musician who performs solo as well as with the acoustic jazz group Perpetual Motion, which has been performing and recording for over 20 years. Continue reading

CD: Event Horizon
Artist: Chronotope Project

chronotope projectThe word “chronotope” is not one you will find in the dictionary. It is, however, the nom de plume, or nom de synth in this case, of electronic music recording artist Jeffrey Ericson Allen. By his definition: “Chronotope refers to the essential unity of space and time. The music of Chronotope Project explores this time-space confluence and invites the listener on ambient journeys of deep texture infused with gentle pulsing rhythms and soulful melodies.” Continue reading

Elixir by Yang Ying

CD: Elixir:  Music for Moving and Still Meditation
Artist: Yang Ying

ElixirThe idea of music as medicine is relatively new in Western culture, although gaining in popularity, particularly in the new age music genre. For the Chinese, however, the healing properties of music have been known for thousands of years. In fact, the Chinese character for “music” is a major part of the ancient Chinese character for “medicine.” Also, the Chinese character for “happiness” and “music” is one and the same. This time-honored awareness is the force behind a new album by Ms. Yang Ying, a master traditional (and contemporary) Chinese musician, as well as a longtime practitioner of qigong meditation. Continue reading

CD: Transcendence
Artist: Sean Christopher

TranscendenceIf ever an album title was perfectly descriptive of its contents, Transcendence, the new album by Sean Christopher certainly is. The word is defined as a state of being “beyond or above the range of normal or merely physical human experience, existing apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe.” Both musically and subject-wise, this recording definitely fits the definition. Epic in scope, the album is described as “a journey of the soul’s transition from Earth across the Universe to Paradise.  Continue reading

Concert: Fiona Joy Hawkins and Trysette

Two Grand I'm YoursTwo Grand, I’m Yours: The Best Of Two Musical Worlds,” is the name of the US tour featuring the grand piano and vocal artistry of Australian recording artists Fiona Joy Hawkins and Trysette. I was fortunate enough to catch their San Francisco Bay area performance at the historic Throckmorton Theatre in Marin County.  Performing solo sets and duets, the pair presented a memorable concert experience that drew enthusiastic response from the audience. Continue reading

CD: Notes From A Journey
Artist: Kristin Amarie

Kristin AmarieWhile many artists and musicians bring the particular flavors and influences of their native land to their art, Kristin Amarie is truly a “global citizen” and her music reflects the incredible diversity that has been her life experience. Her new album, Notes From A Journey, which features a guest appearance by David Lanz, provides the perfect vehicle for her to finally express the full range of her talent – from ethereal Enya-like incantations to lushly orchestrated compositions reminiscent of David Arkenstone, with echoes of the far corners of the world Kristin has inhabited. Continue reading

CD: The Road Ahead
Artist: Michael Logozar

The Road AheadAlthough Michael Logozar is living in one of the music capitals of the US, Austin, Texas, he is far from being a homegrown Texan. Born in Edmonton, Alberta Canada, he later moved to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, before putting down more recent roots in this southern hotspot. As a young child in Canada he took to the piano like a natural and began playing familiar songs by ear at the age of four. Sensing his natural abilities, he was soon enrolled in formal lessons and went on to performing Beethoven and Bach at regional festivals. However, the emerging Windham Hill sound, and artists like David Lanz and Michael Jones, “who expressed a clarity of melodic beauty and simplicity,” began to turn him in a new direction. Continue reading

CD: Light From Darkness
Artist: Erwilian

Light From DarknessListening to and reading about the Seattle-based band, Erwilian, I’m reminded of the MTV series “Unplugged,” when the group proudly proclaims: “nothing synthesized, everything acoustic. There is nary an electronic blip, bleep, or filter sweep to be found in the music of this all-natural instrumental ensemble. What you will find, however, are guitars, drums, percussion, recorders, hammered dulcimer, harp, cello, marimba, a vintage celesta, and more. Continue reading

CD: Scotland: Grace of the Wild
Artist: Bill Leslie
Contact: /

CD coverEver watch the anchors on the evening news and wonder what their life is like and what else they do when they are not bringing you the late-breaking stories of the day? You might be surprised, as I was, to find that one of them, Bill Leslie, an anchorman and reporter at a CBS affiliate in Raleigh, NC. is a master Celtic musician. Continue reading

CD: The Next Stage
Artist: Louis Colaiannia

The-Next-Stage-CoverThe music of Louis Colaiannia (coal-ee-AH-nah) is like a tree – with many branches, as well as deep roots. Spreading out from a foundation of classical music with influences of Mozart and Beethoven, Louis’ current sound has grown into the genres of contemporary instrumental, jazz, new age, chill, world music, and more. His latest release entitled The Next Stage brings all these elements together into a unique blend that can be both relaxing and energizing at the same time.


Continue reading

Journey by Mythos

CD: Journey
Artist: Mythos

cover - JourneyI’ve been familiar with and have enjoyed the music of Mythos since the late 1990’s, so it was exciting to receive their new release, Journey. Although they have released a number of albums in their 20 year history, its’ been a while since their last one. Mythos combines the considerable talents of Bob D’Eith on piano and keyboards and guitarist Paul Schmidt. Continue reading

CD: Dreaming of Now
Artist: Shambhu

Dreaming of NowHaving had the pleasure of featuring Shambhu’s previous release, Sacred Love, which was nominated as CD of the Year, Best New Artist, Best World Music CD, and Best Acoustic Instrumental CD by Zone Music Reporter, I was very much looking forward to his latest album, Dreaming Of Now, which was two years in the making. Continue reading

CD: The Shimmering Land
Artist: Meg Bowles

The Shimmering LandFor the past two decades, electronic music composer Meg Bowles has been crafting what she calls “ambient orchestral soundscapes.” Drawing from her training in classical music as well has her work as a licensed psychoanalyst with a particular interest in dreams, shamanism, and Jungian psychology, the music is created to take the listener out of this world to another place, a deeper space. Continue reading

CD: Shanti Orchestra
Artist: Ricky Kej

Shanti OrchestraHaving recently had the opportunity to meet with Ricky Kej, I came away being extremely impressed with how much he has accomplished so far in his 32 years on the planet. Many people never get close to this level of achievement in an entire lifetime. He told me a fascinating story that perfectly illustrates the single pointed dedication he holds towards his music career. Continue reading

Open Sky by David Nevue

CD: Open Sky
Artist: David Nevue

Open Sky coverFor a pianist, having your music compared to the likes of George Winston, David Lanz, or Jim Brickman, can be a lot to live up to. For David Nevue, however, that accolade is not without merit. I’ve known of his music for years and have had the pleasure of writing about A Delicate Joy, which was the release before Open Sky Continue reading

Ax Inferno by Paul Speer

CD: Ax Inferno
Artist: Paul Speer

Ax InfernoAlthough the title Ax Inferno, may conjure a variety of images in the reader’s mind, “ax” as it is used in this context, is a slang term for an electric guitar. And this new release by Grammy nominated and Emmy winning guitar virtuoso, Paul Speer, is quite incendiary, and does indeed kick some serious ax. I first became aware of Paul from his collaborations with new age piano maestro David Lanz. Their Natural States and Desert Vision albums were among the early music reviews I wrote for a magazine back in the 80’s. Continue reading

CD: Twilight Serenade
Artist: Peter Sterling

CD coverTalk about going with the flow, that is something that harpist and multi-instrumentalist Peter Sterling has developed into an art form. According to Peter: “The tracks for Twilight Serenade were born out of one long improvisation as I sat at the harp and allowed the music to emerge without any agenda. The songs flowed out in sequence as you hear it on the disc. Continue reading


CD: Deep Theta 2.0
Artist: Steven Halpern

Deep Theta 2.0 coverDeep Theta 2.0 is the latest release in sound healing pioneer Steven Halpern’s best-selling Brainwave Entrainment series. This album follows his 2012 Grammy nominated CD, Deep Alpha, which was in the Top 5 on the New Age Chart of the prestigious Billboard Magazine. His new release is also a follow up to his original Deep Theta album, which spent 27 weeks in the Top 10 on Billboard’s New Age Chart. This level of success is totally unprecedented for music in the sound healing genre. But breaking new ground is something that Steven Halpern is well known for.


Continue reading

CD: Transformation
Artist: Sherry Finzer & Darin Mahoney

Transformation coverI’m sure that the idea of metamorphosis or transformation is one that most people can relate to on a personal level. Flutist Sherry Finzer and acoustic guitarist Darin Mahoney certainly can, and have chosen this as the theme for their first recording together. They describe this music as having been created to encourage listeners “to walk through the next door and change your life for the better.” Continue reading

CD: Instrumental Songs of Good Cheer
Artist: Lisa Lynne and The Elfin Love Tribe

Lisa Lynne CD CoverSometimes in life, what starts out as fiction begins to materialize to become fact. Such was the case for multi-instrumentalist Lisa Lynne and her once fictional Elfin Love Tribe, which has just released its long-awaited second album. According to Lisa, who is one of the top ranking folk harpists in the world: “I was always known for very ethereal music but my love for Celtic and Renaissance music was always very strong. Continue reading

CD: Reality of the Fantasy
Artist: James Sera

James Sera CoverFlowers in a musical garden can grow from many kinds of seeds. Some are seeds of love, joy, and bright sunny days, while some are seeds of shadow, sorrow, and searching. The music on James Sera’s album Reality of the Fantasy is like a mixed bouquet grown from a diversity of seeds. Written at a challenging time in his life, the solo acoustic guitar music James has created, is in his words, “a quest to find harmony in a world of dissonance and discord, creating a calming, soothing yet hypnotic quality to the music for the listener to experience. Continue reading

CD: Soul Rekindled
Artist: Richard Carr

Soul RekindledOn his latest release, Soul Rekindled, pianist/composer Richard Carr provides a musical glimpse into his spiritual journey after Hurricane Katrina. The story is told in a language he speaks fluently – solo piano. Although he now lives in St. Louis, Richard lived in New Orleans for 10 years and worked as a performer in the clubs, hotel’s, and restaurants in the French Quarter, prior to and at the time of hurricane, when 4 to 5 feet of murky water flooded his street in the Bayou St. John area. Since then he has picked up the pieces and gone on to do some amazing work in his chosen field. Continue reading

CD: Dancer and the Moon
Artist: Blackmore’s Night

Dancer and the MoonI’ve become quite a fan of Blackmore’s Night since becoming familiar with their music and doing a feature article on their excellent Autumn Sky album here on Music and Media Focus in 2011.  As I wrote at that time: “If the name Blackmore rings a bell, you may recognize it as the surname of Ritchie Blackmore who created one of the most recognizable riffs in rock history: “Smoke On The Water” and ascended the stairway to heaven of guitar stardom in Deep Purple and later in Rainbow over a career spanning three decades. The other half of the Blackmore’s Night name belongs to award-winning songwriter, vocalist, and woodwind player, Candice Night, an incredible talent in her own right.” I also had the pleasure of writing about Candice’s beautiful solo album, Reflections, as well.


Continue reading

CD: Dreaming The Afterlife
Artist: Sonaljit Mukherjee

Dreaming The AfterlifeThe talents of some musicians are cultivated from an early age through formal training, practice, recitals, and the like. Success on their chosen instrument is admirable, yet not surprising or totally unexpected after years of study. What is surprising though, is when a young person with no training whatsoever, is inspired by music they hear and teach themselves to play by ear with astonishing results. One of these artists is Sonaljit Mukherjee. Continue reading

On Water by Amy Lauren

CD: On Water
Artist: Amy Lauren

On Water coverThe beauty of nature has served as inspiration for artists and musicians throughout time. One of these gifted souls is pianist and composer Amy Lauren, who hails from Wisconsin. As the title of her latest CD implies, the element of water is a primary theme of the album. According to Amy, it is “based on the picturesque northern shoreline of Lake Superior and 
the surrounding Great Lakes. Vineyards on Lake Michigan, waterfalls 
in the north woods and other elements of nature combine with a beautiful Native American undertone.” Continue reading

CD: Past To Presence
Artist: Steven C

Past To PresenceComposer and pianist Steven C (a.k.a. Steven C. Anderson) has had a successful career in the music business for a quarter of a century, selling over 2 million records as well as performing and recording with a host of incredible musicians, including The London Symphony Strings at the famed Abbey Road Studios, Mannheim Steamroller, and others. Along with fellow artists such as Tori Amos and Victor Borge, he is also a proud endorser of the illustrious Bosendorfer pianos, which are considered among the finest in the world. Continue reading

CD: 600 Years In A Moment
Artist: Fiona Joy Hawkins

Album coverAlthough I haven’t met award-winning composer/pianist/vocalist Fiona Joy Hawkins in person, she feels like an old friend, with this being the fourth album of hers that I’ve had the pleasure to write about. The previous recordings include Sensual Journeys, Blue Dream, and Christmas Joy. With the press release for her latest album, 600 Years In A Moment, heralding it as “her most epic and significant album,” I was of course very much looking forward to it. And after hearing it in detail, I have to say that it definitely lives up to that lofty accolade.


Continue reading

CD: Timeless
Artist: Jami Sieber

Timeless“Even when you don’t think it’s a cello, it probably is…” This enigmatic quote about the music of electric cellist, vocalist, and composer Jami Sieber, refers to her “taking a traditionally classical instrument and morphing it into the source of a multi-dimensional range of expressive works.” Utilizing electronics and looping devices, she weaves sonic tapestries that transcend the expectations one has when they think of the cello. Continue reading

Various artists
Sounds from the Circle V

Sounds From The Circle VThe New Age Music Circle is an online community and social network with approximately 1500 recording artists and fans. For five years in a row, they have put out a compilation of member’s recordings and made it available to press and radio programmers on a 40-song mp3 disc as well as to the public as an iTunes playlist, which they can download individual tracks from. The Sounds From The Circle compilation is the work of new age music pioneer, Suzanne Doucet, who is also the creator and organizing force behind the community. Also contributing to this project is Beth Ann Hilton, a well-known LA music publicist.

Continue reading

CD: My Own Little World
Artist: Eichstaedt

eichstaedt_coverMy Own Little World is the debut solo album from guitarist Petra Eichstaedt of Munich, Germany. Since all of the songs are instrumental, nothing is lost in the translation and her six strings speak a universal language. Continue reading

CD: Primordial Sonics
Artist: David Vito Gregoli

Primordial SonicsIt was not that long ago that music from various countries and traditions existed mostly in their own strictly defined cultural context, and as Kipling said, “Never the twain shall meet.” In recent years however, the boundaries have begun to loosen and musical adventurers are experimenting with all sorts of hybrids and ethno-sonic fusions. One of these explorers is multi-instrumentalist/ composer David Vito Gregoli, known to his friends and fans as “Vito.”  He describes his latest recording, Primordial Sonics as: “Ambient Aboriginal Groove Fusion — Indian, Australian and Middle Eastern sounds infused with modern rhythms.”   Continue reading

CD: Voyage
Artist: Takashi Suzuki

Takashi Suzuki - VoyageVoyage is the third release from Japanese musician/ painter/ sculptor/ architect Takashi Suzuki following his critically acclaimed and award nominated Cycle CD, and his debut album, Resonance which was named “Best Ambient Album” in the 2011 ZMR Awards. Although he has begun to blossom as a composer at a later stage compared to the other art forms Takashi has spent a lifetime mastering, his music has been well received and he has developed a compositional style that bears resemblance to his minimalist painting style. Continue reading

CD: Center of The Circle
Artist: Peter Sterling

center-of-the-circleI’m pleased to see the growing mass acceptance of specifically created music that blends the latest research and technology with intuitive creativity to facilitate balance and well being in body, mind, and spirit. The recent Grammy nominations of these kinds of albums by Steven Halpern and Peter Kater are good examples of this trend. Another master of this kind of music is harpist Peter Sterling, whose Center of the Circle is a welcome addition into the field of high vibration healing music. However, it is certainly not his first foray into music of this type. Continue reading

CD: inhale slowly
Artists: Tim White and Joe Paulino

Inhale Slowly CDWith a title like inhale slowly, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect an album of serenely spacious music that is perfect for relaxation, meditation, yoga, tai chi, or massage. And that is exactly what it is – an hour and eight minute oasis of calm that is available 24 hours a day. The creative source of these tranquil tracks is Tim White, on bamboo flute, guitar, sitar, and esraj, and Joe Paulino who plays piano and synthesizers. Continue reading

CD: Awakening
Artist: Stephen DeRuby

AwakeningI would imagine that there are a relatively small percentage of musicians who actually make the instruments they play. Stephen DeRuby is one of them, with over 40 years experience as a musician and craftsman of beautiful high quality Native American-style flutes. Playing the flute however, was not his original musical direction. Continue reading

CD: All the Days of My Life: The Wedding Album
Artist: Vicente Avella

Vicente Avella CDAlbums with a particular focus or niche come in many varieties. From relaxation, meditation, yoga, spiritual attunement, Goddesses, healing, sleep induction, and more, the list goes on. Yet one of the more unique niche albums I’ve come across recently is Vicente Avella’s piano music for weddings, entitled All The Days Of My Life. Continue reading

CD: Journey of Soul
Artist: John Paris

john parisI’m sure there are many recording artists who have put a lot of time and energy into a project, only to listen to it at a later time after its been released and think, “I wish I’d done this, or I’m not crazy about a particular aspect of how this sounds.” And I’d imagine that a number of them would chalk it up to experience, leave well enough alone, and move on. Although pianist John Paris recorded and released his debut solo piano album Journey of Soul close to10 years ago some things about it just never felt right to him. So now, nearly a decade later, he wanted to rectify that, so he went back and re-mastered and re-released the album. Continue reading

Getaway by Lisa Hilton

CD: Getaway
Artist: Lisa Hilton

Lisa Hilton - "Getaway"Having written a feature article about Lisa Hilton’s previous recording, American Impressions, in which I covered much of her musical background, biographical information, and music education work with visually disabled children, I’ll refer readers who might be interested to that article, rather than reiterate it here. But briefly, Lisa, who has been called “The Lioness Of Jazz,” is pleased to present her latest release, Getaway, which is, incredibly, her fifteenth album as a bandleader. Continue reading

CD: The Luminous Pearl
Artist: Lea Scallon

The Luminous PearlIn an article I wrote about Australian recording artist Lia Scallon’s previous international award-winning album Crystal Keys, I mentioned how her career path had diverged from being an actress who shared the stage with the likes of Cate Blanchett, Glenn Close, and Liam Neeson to pursuing a path of creating spiritually focused music. The release of her new album, The Luminous Pearl, finds her even more deeply immersed in what she sees as her Soul’s calling. Continue reading

Event: AMBIcon 2013
Host: Hearts of Space
When/ where: May 3-5, San Rafael, CA

Stephan HillFans of ambient music rejoice! The ultimate event commemorating all things ambient is at hand, and that includes a mix of electronic, world, new age, classical, and experimental music. If there is any name that needs no introduction to lovers of this genre it is Hearts of Space. In honor of their 40 year (yes 40!) anniversary they are celebrating in grand style with a full weekend conference of events that is sure to draw attendees from far and wide.The man behind this production as well as the originator of Hearts of Space is Stephen Hill. Continue reading

CD: The Blue Rose
Artist: Al Conti

The Blue RoseOne of the things I like best about the albums of Grammy-nominated recording artist Al Conti is that they are what were called in the 60’s and 70’s: “concept albums.” According to Wikipedia: “A concept album is a studio album where all musical or lyrical ideas contribute to a single overall theme or unified story. In contrast, typical studio albums consist of a number of unconnected songs (lyrically and otherwise) performed by the artist.” Continue reading

Hokulea by AOMUSIC

CD: Hokulea

AOMUSIC_Hokulea_coverIn her timeless anthem, “The Greatest Love Of All,” the late great Whitney Houston sang: “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” The members of AOMUSIC obviously believe that too, and the group’s latest efforts take their commitment to new levels. In addition to their stunning new album Hokulea, they are thrilled to announce the official establishment of their non-profit organization
Continue reading

Artist: Leigh Ann Phillips

mikaelcoversmallWhile the healing qualities of music and sound have been known since ancient times, in our contemporary culture, music has evolved more as a vehicle for entertainment. However, a shift has been happening that has many people creating and listening to particular kinds of music for its therapeutic benefits. Continue reading

CD: Hope For Harmony
Artist: Kathyrn Toyama

Kathryn Toyama CD“Musical improvisation,” as defined in Wikipedia, “is the creative activity of immediate (‘in the moment’) musical composition, which combines performance with communication of emotions and instrumental technique. Thus, musical ideas in improvisation are spontaneous.” One such practitioner of this particular school of artistic creation is Kathryn Toyama. Although she is a classically trained pianist, for her: “the feeling is foremost and when it comes to me, I find that I must first open my heart, and then the music begins to flow.” Continue reading

CD: Crown In The Sky
Artist: Lis Addison

Crown In The SkyTo borrow a quote from a classic Crosby, Stills, & Nash song: “It’s been a long time coming…” What that refers to in this context is the fact that the seed for the music that appears on Lis Addison’s new release Crown In The Sky, was planted far in the past, and like a mighty oak or redwood, has taken a long time to grow into its magnificence. The use of the tree metaphor, in this case, is intentional. With her previous albums having titles like Grace Of The Green Leaf and Song Of The Tree, it is obvious that nature is an important element in the life and music of Lis Addison.

Continue reading

CD: When Dreams Come True
Artist Curtis Macdonald

When Dreams Come True CD CVR 500 X 500As a huge fan of both contemporary jazz and ambient electronic music, the new release by keyboardist Curtis Macdonald entitled When Dreams Come True is definitely speaking my language.  His music combines the best of these genres with elements of pop into a highly accessible style that can range from laid back to more energized. For lovers of this kind of music, Curtis’ catalog is a gold mine with this being his 17th album on his CMMP record label. Continue reading

CD: River Flow – Sanctuary
Artist: Catherine Marie Charlton

River Flow: SanctuaryA lot has been said about the importance of first impressions, and the stunning cover art on the new release by Catherine Marie Charlton certainly makes a good one. Although not surprising, as her previous release Red Leaf, Grey Sky won the award for “Best Cover Art” in the 2011 Zone Music Reporter Awards. It also won “Best Instrumental Album – Piano,” providing a good indication that a creative effort from Catherine not only has style, but substance as well. Continue reading


CD: New2theBrain
Artist: New2theBrain


New2theBrainNew2theBrain has to be one of the most interesting and imaginative audio amalgamations I have heard in a while. Elements of pop, jazz, rock, R&B, hip hop, and world music provide a vehicle for lyrics that can be both poetic and profound at the same time, while covering a range of topics including social commentary, politics, personal growth, consciousness, and more. The characterization of it as: “sort of What the Bleep Do We Know (the movie) in musical form with exploration of how our thoughts impact our reality,” is a good comparison.

Continue reading

CD: First Light
Artist: Craig Urquhart

craigurquhartI love this story…
Moving to New York City after receiving his Master’s in Composition from the University of Michigan, pianist Craig Urquhart (pronounced “irk-hart”) left some of his music with Leonard Bernstein’s Manhattan doorman; the Maestro called Urquhart back, and the two became acquainted. In 1985 Urquhart was hired as Bernstein’s musical assistant, and worked for Bernstein until the composer’s death in 1990. Continue reading

CD: Lovéren
Artist: David Arkenstone & Charlee Brooks
Contact: www./

LovérenEver since his debut album Valley in the Clouds back in 1987, David Arkenstone has been one of my favorite artists in the new age music genre. A three-time GRAMMY nominee, his grandiose style of musical story telling has encompassed diverse influences including ambient, Celtic, folk, world beat, electronic, acoustic, and more. His latest release is entitled Lovéren, and is a collaboration with operatically-gifted vocalist Charlee Brooks. Continue reading

Album: For Our Children: A Benefit for Sandy Hook
Various artists

600081612-1The Sound for Good record label has partnered with Healing Newtown (, a division of the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission, to help support the community by offering the new release, For Our Children: A Benefit for Sandy Hook available to everyone who donates just $1 (or more). Continue reading

CD: Hidden Journey
Artist: Scott August

hidden journeyAlthough Scott August began his musical training early in life on piano and cello, his interest in world music was sparked at the age of 10 when he was given an African kalimba. However, his instrumental direction took a distinct turn nearly 20 years ago when he visited the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico and was deeply enchanted by the sound of the Native American flute. Since that time he has embraced the haunting sounds of this unique instrument and it has become a major part of his musical identity. Among players of Native American flute music, such as Carlos Nakai and Coyote Oldman, Scott August ranks as one of the foremost in the world.  He has been nominated and has won numerous awards including the Native American Music Award.

Continue reading

Red by Isadar

CD: Red
Artist: Isadar

Red-Album-CoverGiven the meteoric success Isadar’s previous album Reconstructed has had – reaching the number 2 spot on the ZMR Charts (June 2012) and the extensive radio airplay, not only in the US, but literally all over Europe as well as Canada, Australia, Russia, and South Korea, I’m sure there are many listeners who will be eager to hear his latest release, Red. Continue reading

Rumbadoodle by Arun Shenoy

CD: Rumbadoodle
Artist: Arun Shenoy

Rumbadoodle-CD-Cover-000px-300x300Any description of Arun Shenoy’s current GRAMMY-nominated CD, Rumbadoodle would have to include the word “fusion.” Everything about him and this music is definitive of the term. Born, raised, and educated in India, and now living in Singapore, Arun’s music is an intriguing cross-cultural experience. As the title implies the predominate flavor of this mélange is Rumba flamenco, but is generously spiced with dashes of pop, rock, worldbeat, and new age that is sure to appeal to fans of artists like Santana, Ottmar Liebert and the Gipsy Kings. Continue reading

CD: Omnitopia
Artist:  Sotiris Gougousis

OmnitopiaMaybe there is something in the Grecian waters or in the Mediterranean atmosphere, but it seems like some of the finest electronic musicians in the world, such as Vangelis, Yanni, and others come from Greece. Why this area has spawned a scintillating synthesizer subculture is a mystery, but the rest of the world is happy to enjoy the fruits of their artistic labors. One of the latest electronic artists to emerge from this corner of the globe is Sotiris Gougousis. Continue reading

CD: Love’s River
Artist: Laura Sullivan

Love's RiverAs we enter a new year, having survived the much-portended end of the Mayan calendar, I’m happy to begin a new cycle with a feature article on a sparkling new release by an accomplished pianist and composer in the Contemporary Instrumental/ New Age music genre, Laura Sullivan. Love’s River is Laura’s 6th album and finds her in fine company with an all-star cast of accompanists, and four of the tracks being produced by Will Ackerman, the Grammy winning producer and founder of Windham Hill Records, as well as production by Eric Sullivan. Continue reading

CD: Family Values
Artist: Craig Karolus

Family Values CD CoverWhile the term “family values” has taken on political connotations for some in our culture, Craig Karolus’ use of it transcends all of that and expresses its purest meaning. Family Values is one of the most intimate and personal musical tributes I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. Continue reading

CD: Heart of the Universe
Artist: Peter Kater and Snatam Kaur

Heart of the UniverseSome of the qualities of the Age of Aquarius that we stand on the threshold of are harmony, synergy, and people of diverse backgrounds working together to bring peace and beauty to our world. So it is not surprising that two well-known musical luminaries such as Peter Kater and Snatam Kaur would come together to create a unique artistic offering like Heart of the UniverseContinue reading

CD: Attuning to Oneness
Artist: Paradiso & Rasamayi

paradiso and rasamayiWith today being the much-lauded 12/21/12, the end of the Mayan Calendar, and gatherings around the world marking the turning of an age, it seems like a most perfect and synchronistic time to be writing about the new music of Paradiso and Rasamayi. Entitled Attuning To Oneness – The Harmonic Ascension, it epitomizes the very essence of this global observance. The focus of their music is not as much on entertainment as it is on the healing qualities of sound and vibration. Continue reading

CD: Sensual Journeys
Artist: Fiona Joy Hawkins

Sensual JourneysOne of my regrets in the past few months is that I wasn’t able to attend the rare California appearance of Australian pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins, when she performed nearby in Berkeley. But I was delighted recently to receive in the mail a copy of her stunning new CD entitled Sensual Journeys. As I looked beyond the music to the story behind this release, what I found touched my heart. Continue reading

CD: Various titles
Artist: Danny Wright

Danny WrightFor many people around the world, the holiday season is a time of great joy and celebration. This is especially true for well-known pianist Danny Wright who has some very special gifts in his stocking this year, and much to celebrate. For one, 2012 marks his 25 year anniversary as a composer and recording artist. In that quarter of a century, he has released an impressive 36 recordings and has sold over 6 million albums worldwide! He is an award-winning Steinway Piano Artist who was twice named by Billboard Magazine as a Top 10 artist in the New Age genre. Continue reading

Pianoforte by Timothy Crane

CD: Pianoforte
Timothy Crane

imagesThe late great folk-rock musician John Denver wrote his most famous song as a tribute to the intoxicating effect of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Having lived there myself, I can attest to the veracity of his claim. Someone else who I am sure will agree is pianist Timothy Crane, who makes his home in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Golden, Colorado. According to Tim, who previously lived near Aspen,  “once you live in the mountains it’s hard to go back.” Perhaps it is something in that rarefied air or the natural beauty that has inspired creative spirits for ages, and Timothy Crane is no exception. Continue reading

CD: Chimes of the Spirit
Artist: Acoustic Ocean

As someone who loves both harp and guitar, the combination of the two is music to my ears as well as my soul. Celtic harpist Peggy Morgan along with long time musical partner Bette Phelan on guitar, who perform and record collectively as Acoustic Ocean, have released their third album of soothing instrumental music, entitled Chimes of the Spirit.   Continue reading

CD: In the Season of Fading Light
Artist: Jeff Pearce

Looking out my window at the sun slowly slipping below the horizon of the San Francisco Bay this mid-November evening, the music and the title of Jeff Pearce’s latest CD, In the Season of Fading Light, create a most appropriate soundtrack. As on the cover of his album, clouds tainted in muted yet luminous hues are breathtaking in their beauty, while they subtly signal the coming darkness of winter in this transitional time of year. And speaking of transitions, there is a major one to be found on this, the tenth album in Jeff’s extensive career as a recording artist. Continue reading

CD: Embracing Winter
Artist: Jim Hudak

Jim Hudak, whose last name means “the musician” in Slovakian, was born into a family with a 500-year history of music and composition. In his own multi-decade career he has gained deep insight into the intricacies of the music industry, not only as a musician, but also as a music rights licensing executive for ASCAP and SESAC. However, what Jim Hudak is best known for, and rightfully so, is his work as a solo pianist. Continue reading

CD: Somewhere In A Hidden Memory
Artist: Trine Opsahl

The great American mythologist Joseph Campbell once wrote: “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Such was the case for Norwegian-born harpist Trine Opsahl, who walked away from her career as a lawyer to devote her life to music. Continue reading

CD: Between The Shores Of Our Souls
Artist: Mirabai Ceiba

Described as “a beautiful blend of Kundalini Yoga mantra, sacred chants and world music,” the sound of Mirabai Ceiba is a uniquely cross-cultural experience on a number of levels. Their latest album, Between The Shores Of Our Souls, also includes inspirational lyrics based on the poetry of Rumi and Kahlil Gibran. The album’s subtitle, “Songs of Love and Longing,” bears witness to the focus of their creative endeavors. It also expresses the energy that resonates between the two principle people in the group, Angelika Baumbach and Markus Sieber, who are a couple from different worlds brought together by fate.  Continue reading

O Christmas by Isadar

CD: O Christmas (solo piano)
Artist: Isadar

Fresh on the heels of his highly acclaimed chart-topping CD, Reconstructed, Isadar gifts us with a sparkling new album of holiday-themed instrumental music for solo piano, entitled “O Christmas.” Given the proximity to his recent release, one might assume that this one was quickly produced, but in reality O Christmas has been 7 years in the making.  Continue reading

Believe by 2002

CD: Believe – A Spiritual Romance
Artist: 2002

Question: what do the words magical, visionary, and grandiose and have in common?
Answer: they perfectly describe the new album, Believe by 2002.

Debuting at number 8 on the prestigious Billboard Chart, the CD is subtitled: “A Spiritual Romance,” and is the latest of 14 albums by the husband and wife duo of Randy and Pamela Copus, collectively known as 2002. Now celebrating 20 years of recording together, they are one of the most enduring and highly regarded groups in the new age music genre.  Continue reading

CD: The Maiden Of Stonehenge
Artist: Michael Brant DeMaria

With this being the fourth CD by Michael Brant DeMaria that I’ve had the pleasure to write about, the one thing I’ve learned to expect is the unexpected. Michael, who is an award winning composer/ instrumentalist and three time GRAMMY nominee is not an artist who is easily pigeon holed. His music can vary stylistically from one project to the next – each reflecting a different facet of his seemingly endless and diverse creativity.  From the earthy ambience of his Gaia CD to the ethereal electronic explorations of his recent album Bindu, Michael never fails to surprise and delight.  Continue reading