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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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The River of Life
By Rebecca Harrold
Label: Self-Released
The River of Life tracks
1. Photograph
2. We Belong Together
3. G.O.D.
4. The River of Life
5. Without You
6. Another Time
7. Mourning Dove
8. Gotta Never Give Up
9. Sentimental Role
10. Say You Won't
11. Majesty
12. Willow Tree
13. On My Own
With the Flow We Journey
Because I like science fiction, I often think of time as a river. Endlessly flowing, taking the form of the landscape around it or better still, forming the landscape itself. Contemporary pianist Rebecca Harrold's release, The River of Life is similar. Her music is affected by her journey through time, but her experiences shape the music so to speak. The River of Life is thirteen tracks of calmative music that runs serenely through the mind and heart. Like water, wherever it touches, it gently shapes our thoughts and fill our souls with uplifting warmth.

Rebecca Harrold's list of accomplishments in the music and dance world would fill this page, so suffice it to say she knows her business. She is an accomplished pianist and singer that contributes so much of her talent to many causes. Although originally from Ohio, Rebecca travels throughout New England composing, singing and collaborating with a great number of musical enterprises. Joining her on The River of Life are almost a dozen talented artists from the Imaginary Studios line up, including Will Ackerman himself in the role of producer and Froggy Bottom guitar player.

With a very delicate touch Rebecca opens the album with the tune Photograph. The music suggest that it is not just who is in the picture, but the memory associated with it. The light was perfectly streaming through the trees like that. The air was fresh and clean on that fall day and the smile. Well, the smile said it all. Charlie Bisharat's violin flutters like a butterfly in the tune while the piano sings a soothing song of love.

We Belong Together is a midtempo ensemble tune featuring piano and Premik Russell Tubbs on Lyricon and just a whisper of string accompaniment by violin way in the back. The tune is thoughtful, melodic and light. The theme is positive and sunny. It is more of a personal celebration than it is a statement, but it is delightful declaration.

Rebecca's philosophy about life, flowing like a river, upholding you, carrying you and giving to you is evident in the title tune, The River of Life. It is a tender, benevolent song full of emotional affirmation. The piano’s voice is engaging, almost sweet. The outlook is optimistic, the future is an adventure that will be its own reward.

Another Time, Another Place has Jill Haley's languorous English horn balancing the melody with Rebecca's piano and Bisharat's violin. The sophisticated trio take turns complementing each other’s sympathetic voices and pondering the universal question what if. It is the kind of song where you sit very still, stare off into space and wonder if only...

All my life I have thought that the gray bird with the woeful cry was called a Morning Dove, but I know it is really a Mourning Dove. I also know that this particular bird is not just a symbol of the dearly departed. This embodiment is a messenger of peace and love. Harrold’s song Mourning Dove is a slow, pensive ballad, but never a lament. It is the tuneful context for memories, cloud watching, and intimate daydreams.

In the song Willow Tree, you can feel the wind tease the long slender leaves, sway the frangible branches, and you can imagine the rustling whispers that are its voice. Rebecca's song softly sways with pastoral qualities and lyrical lushness.

The final cut, On My Own is not a song of loneliness, but a hurrah of independence. The composition has a smooth jazz overtone, but remains true to contemporary standards. It is you standing on your own, making the grade and ready for the future.

Throughout the album Rebecca has transcribed a life's journey in a warm and harmonically-rich landscape. The music has deep emotion, but is lighthearted just where it needs to be. Through her gentle manner, she has carried her theme in a wistfully endowed dreamscape. It put me in mind of a quote. "Love is the river of life in the world." - Henry Ward Beecher
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 11/29/2016
 
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