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New Age CD Reviews By Diane Garris
Other reviews from New Age CD Reviews By Diane Garris:
  Homecoming: Songs of Comfort and Joy by Dana Cunningham, reviewed by Dyan Garris on 12/6/2022
  Whispers From Earth by Ann Licater, reviewed by Dyan Garris on 12/4/2022
  Close Enough to Perfect by Louis Anthony deLise, reviewed by Dyan Garris on 10/24/2022
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A Southwest Story
By Elizabeth Naccarato w/ Various Artists
Label: San Luis Music
Released 7/29/2022
A Southwest Story tracks
1. San Luis
2. Wild Horses
3. Sacred Land
4. Mi Hito, No!
5. Fandango (Torroba)
6. Brown Eyes
7. Spanish Dance No. 2 (Granados)
8. La Sierra
9. Shrine of the Stations of the Cross
10. The Vega
11. Dusk
12. Cowboys' Waltz
13. Flower Moon
A Southwest Story
There is probably something enchanting about every part of the country and perhaps about many places in the world, but in my opinion, the Southwest is particularly so for a variety of reasons. Here, in her 7th album release, Elizabeth Naccarato, through her music, has perfectly captured the rich tapestry that is this part of the United States.

A huge part of Elizabeth’s musical artistry comes from expressing her vision of places that speak to her soul. Here, she embraces, and beautifully conveys, the wide-open spaces, mountains, and wilderness of the desert, along with distinctly Spanish influences.
Hailing from Texas, Elizabeth began her piano studies at the age of six at the Dominican Convent in Houston. She won her first piano competition at the age of nine. Elizabeth was a Piano Performance major at the University of Southern California where she earned her degree. She is a three-time winner of the Hollywood Alumni S.A.I Scholarship, and was a writing member of the Lehman Engel workshop in Los Angeles, where she also studied acting and directing for four years with Janet Alhanti.

“A Southwest Story” contains 13 tracks – piano based instrumentals – with Elizabeth performing on piano, along with Grammy®-winning artist Nancy Rumbel (Native American flute, English horn), and Leon Christian (guitar). Additional guest artists are Melinda Leoce (percussion), Eugene Bazhanov (violin), Benjamin Lange (mandolin), and David Lange (accordion). The album was produced by Michael Gettel, mixed by Frank Bry and mastered by Dan Dean, with cover design by Kurt Reifschneider.

There is something truly special about Elizabeth’s piano performances here and that is that she plays with an ease and grace that is not necessarily typical or generic. This kind of elegant refinement is a rare find. There is nothing forced or halting about her style. Everything just flows effortlessly, and she is one with the piano keys. As well, the production throughout the album is stellar (Michael Gettel).

The album opens with the wonderful, “San Luis.” There is a beautiful melodic structure with great chord progressions, and I love the interspersed strings. Very nicely done.
Things heat up a bit with “Wild Horses.” Exciting movement perfectly captures the soundscape of magnificent wild horses running free.

“Sacred Land” features a beautiful flute solo opening. Pretty and poignant piano and emotionally evocative strings wind around each other in a sinewy dance. This is a magnificent, hauntingly beautiful composition and truly lovely in every regard.

The very fun and upbeat, “Mi Hito No!” as well as “Fandango,” feel so very alive and literally make you want to dance. The glissandos and impeccable percussion in “Mi Hito No!” make it extra special.

We can’t address every track here, so I will mention some other favorites. But none are to be missed, overlooked, or glossed over. This is a fantastic album.

“Brown Eyes” is sweetly melodic. A very engaging melody with wonderful percussion is found in the gently flowing, “La Sierra.” “Shrine of Stations of the Cross” is another with hauntingly beautiful flute and along with this, the gentle, reverent piano sets the soul at ease. Stunningly beautiful in every way. Charting at #9 on our New Age Notes Top 10 music chart in August is the quite lovely, “The Vega.” This is a gorgeous piano piece all through.

This extraordinarily beautiful album – you will want to get the whole thing – closes out with the splendorous, “Flower Moon.” Gentle, melodic, flowing piano soothes the psyche from the get-go and throughout. Emotionally stirring, with each composition thoroughly enjoyable, “A Southwest Story” is without a doubt one of the best albums I’ve heard all year.

Get it/listen here:

For more information on “A Southwest Story,” or to interview Elizabeth Naccarato, contact: Beth Hilton.
Beth Ann Hilton
The B Company

Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by Dyan Garris on 8/30/2022
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