||Life goes in cycles and phases, with many changes, transitions, and “passings.” Passings,” David Franklin’s 10th album, is a 15-song collection of soothing acoustic guitar and piano. The contemporary instrumental soundscapes have elements of jazz, New Age, and experimentalism. The album also features the renowned, fretless bass master, Michael Manring, on 9 tracks and also features his son, Alex Franklin (a.k.a. Owl Licks), on 2 tracks.
Born and raised in New Jersey, David is a lifelong musician, multi-instrumentalist, and composer, as well as being a licensed psychotherapist in Northern California. He believes music is one of our most powerful tools for healing. Over the course of the past 45 years, he has evolved as a musician through rock, folk-pop, avant-garde, experimental and ultimately to instrumental, contemplative music. So, here we are.
“Passings” is a collection of songs written about the many transitions and endings that occurred in David’s personal life over the past few years, such as the death of both his parents, his children leaving the nest, and pandemic related changes, to name a few. But “Passings” is not just about David. The music conveys a sense of profound peace that pours out softly onto us all, as well as seeping deeply into the collective soul.
With 15 tracks on the album, we can’t address them all here, so here are some highlights: The album opens with one of my favorites, “I’ll Never Hear My Father’s Stories Again.” Far from morose, this is a melodic, flowing, and upbeat tribute to his father and their time together here. We love Michael Manring’s bass here too, which wraps beautifully around David’s guitar and keyboard performance. Really beautiful. Following is “The Meeting Tree,” which features Alex Franklin on guitar. This is upbeat, happy, and harmonious. Very nicely done.
The brief, “We All Become Ancestors,” features super-heartfelt piano as well as Michael Manring again. This is gorgeous in every regard, sensitively played, and contemplative. “The Zebra Song” is another “feel good” tune, which we like very much. Here we have Michael’s awesome bass performance along with David’s guitar and a truly great rhythm. Actually, there is nothing on this entire album to not love. It’s all excellent.
“Dancing in Memory” has got some lovely, dreamy piano, great structure, and is reflective on many levels. Another for the playlist. The album, with its music for self-connection and healing, closes out with “A Musical Essay” (for music box). This incorporates a programmable music box, which gives a lullaby feel to a kind of edgy song. Very interesting, and a good close to this very enjoyable, uplifting album. Wonderful, all.
Get “Passings” here: https://davidfranklin.hearnow.com/
Official artist website: https://www.davidfranklin.com/
David Franklin: Acoustic Guitars, Piano, Synthesizer & Programmable Music Box
Michael Manring: Fretless Bass
Alex Franklin: Guitar on “Another Perspective” and “The Meeting Tree”
Warren Kahn: Mixing and Mastering-and some great ideas, at Banquet Studios, Medford, OR
Robert Birnbach: Photo of David Franklin
David Franklin: Cover Art Photo
Michael Manring’s fretless bass tracked at his home studio; David Franklin’s pianos and guitars tracked at his home studio, Oakland, California.
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Beth Ann Hilton
The B Company
Los Angeles, CA
Windy Campbell, The B Company