||Hailing from a musical family, David J. Peña is a multi-instrumentalist and composer whose musical journey began at the young age of four. As he developed as a musician, he honed his musical skills as a drummer, pianist, guitarist, and bassist. These days he composes primarily from the piano, where he brings to life scenes that spring from his imagination and then he transposes this rich imagery into lush musical soundscapes that are wide, expansive, and have a distinctively cinematic feel.
His newest album is “The Journey,” which is 10 tracks and about 40 minutes of gorgeous, melodic piano with stunningly beautiful orchestration.
The album opens with the uplifting, “The Sun Will Rise Again.” This piece has a wonderfully catchy melody and speaks to the hope that we must try to carry with us even when things in life seem bleak and challenging. The sun always comes out again. It does. This is a truly great opening to the album with some very nice build and an optimistic feel.
Following is the equally upbeat, “Kaleidoscope.” The piano is beautifully played here (and throughout the album), and the tune conjures up images of the bright colors of life, which perhaps depend upon your perspective and what you’re looking at and through. Love this.
There’s an important and quite touching inspiration for, “Tribute to W. Tx Pianist Doug Smith.” A fan of David’s music wrote him and said his music was reminiscent of the late West Texas piano player, Doug Smith (who was considered a true treasure in his home state). As David researched Doug and his music, he discovered that Doug had been involved in a car accident that rendered him confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. Craig Hospital created a device that allowed Doug to still play the piano. What an amazing story and equally amazing song. Here we have that beautiful melodic quality that shines through all David’s music, along with the very pretty orchestration that make the pieces so emotionally evocative. Doug and David are now forever entwined through this graceful, resplendent composition. It’s a touching tribute.
For all those grieving the loss of a loved one, “You Took My Heart With You,” will deeply touch your heart. I wish there was a video for this one, because the “movie” in David’s imagination perfectly covers what the music evokes. The underlying story behind the music is about a father and daughter who together own a horse ranch. The father sudden becomes ill and dies, leaving the daughter to contemplate how to move forward without him. This is so emotionally moving in every way.
The title track is epic in scope and reflected on the cover of this outstanding album. The story is about a soldier beginning his journey home from war. Contemplative, rich, lush, and melodic, this one is epic, and will stay with you.
“Eerie Night,” portrays a suspenseful soundscape, akin to a Sherlock Holmes murder scene. It’s a foggy, eerie night, where detectives investigate a crime scene and discover the murder victim was one of their colleagues who had been tracking a serial killer. While there, they get the feeling in the dim fog of the night that they are being watched by the killer. Spooky. I should mention, however, that the music is not macabre or depressing in any way. It’s flowing, melodic as the rest, and contemplative. One of the things I love the best about David’s music is that it is transportive. We are there, at the scene, feeling those feelings and seeing things through the eyes of David’s musical artistry.
Following, is “Good Feeling,” which artistically brilliant. Great drums and a nice groove here as well.
“Stargazing” is one of my favorites on this album if one could possibly choose a favorite. Romantic and sweet, without being at all sappy, this is full of gorgeous piano and perfect orchestration which bring us fully into the dreamy vignette of gazing up at the wondrous, starry sky.
The journey of life is always filled with endings and new beginnings. “New Beginnings” is brimming with that optimism and hope. Again, melodic, flowing, authentic, and heart-felt, the music is simply gorgeous.
The album closes out, interestingly, with the high energy, high vibe, and exciting, “Breakout.” Imagine a spy movie scene where the hero breaks out of captivity, and there you have it. Triumph!
Each song on this “must have” album is like a scene from the movie – the journey – of life. We can all relate. Excellent.
Get “The Journey” here: https://davidjpena.com/ or on your favorite streaming service.
Composer: David J. Peña
String arrangements: Judah Earl
Mixing Engineer: Greg Hill (to whom the album is dedicated)
Mastering Engineer: Brian Calhoon
Drums: Paul Michael Pineda
Electric guitar on Breakout: Greg Hill
Album Cover: Mirna Peña
Higher Level Media