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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Zion and Bryce Canyon Soundscapes: Music for Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks
By Jill Haley
Label: Self Released
Released 8/29/2012
Zion and Bryce Canyon Soundscapes: Music for Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks tracks
1. Floating in the Narrows
2. Hoodoo Silhouettes
3. Watchman Trek
4. Sunflower Cantilena
5. Cerulean Sky
6. Queen's Garden
7. Tumbling Desert Waters
8. Spilled Sunshine on Red Rocks
9. Paria Point
10. Navajo Loop
11. Emerald Pools Mist
12. Waves of Wind
Echoes of the Past
Fashioned from sandstone millions of years old, the Zion Canyon in south west Utah in the United States is the home of a unique combination of beauty and myth. Eighty-five miles east is Bryce Canyon, another magical place. Both of these locations are carved by wind, erosion, and the hand of God, for such wonders do not exist without divine intervention. There are canyon walls a thousand feet high, rushing waters that have coursed through the valley for a million years and spiraling rocks that have been sculpted by a sentient wind, and all of it the birthplace of color.

Multi-instrumentalist Jill Haley on her latest album Zion and Bryce Canyon Soundscapes has quite a scenario to inspire her music. On the album Jill is not only chief composer and co-producer along with Corin Nelsen, but she also plays English horn, oboe, pennywhistle, and piano. On this work she is joined by a trio of Cullens, David Cullen on guitar and bass, Graham Cullen on cello and Dana Cullen on French horn. Haley's contemporary songs are a reminder of all the great nature music that was brought to life several decades ago and is proof positive that some music is timeless.

There is a place on the Virgin River where the canyon walls taper to a mere twenty feet wide called the Narrows. The chasm displays towering cliffs with shadow and light and echoes with the sound of rushing water and driving wind. It is those qualities that Jill captures on the opening cut, Floating the Narrows. Hang on!

Sunflower Cantilena is the little song of the sunflower. The music is bright and thematic and I could almost feel the sun as it warmed the day and beckoned to the smiling yellow flowers. They had no choice but to follow the track of the daystar. For centuries the sunflowers were the staple of the Southern Paiute people and have been a source of nourishment for the more than one sense, and remain so today.

The Navajo Loop in Bryce Canyon is dangerous and beautiful. The rock formations are tall and stately like guardians of a sacred land. Rockslides are not uncommon. Jill’s song, Navajo Loop is a chronicle of the wind and water that has stories to tell along the trail. The music is gentle, like a companion that urges you forward.

The spring run-off in Zion creates thunderous waterfalls and they cascade down to produce Emerald Pool Mists. Three pools, alive with green algae delight the hiker as they navigate the Keyenta Trail. Jill delights the listener with the echoing tune of the pennywhistle as they travel in the canyon of the mind.

The piano drives a solid lead in the last cut, Waves of Wind. The warm ensemble piece is the finale to a wondrous journey through windswept valleys, coursing rivers, and trails that are alive with visual wonders. Jill’s music provides not only the feel of the adventure, but the color as well.

The album is a distinctive book shape with color photographs and information on the music and the locations, just right for the rack at tourist’s centers. When I listen to Jill Haley's music I feel like a weightless bird soaring above the canyons held aloft by the melodies of music that is above all else, natural. Natural in the sense that is belongs there, echoing, growing, and spiritually uplifting. This is relaxing music at its best.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 2/22/2013
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