||How do you thank someone who has impacted your life so greatly that he actually changed its course? Apparently guitarist Ronnda Cadle could not put it into spoken words, so she did it with her sweet, gentle music. Her latest release, Will’s Embrace is dedicated to her mentor, legendary guitarist and producer Will Ackerman. Ackerman is one of the founding fathers of contemporary instrumental music who made great strides in the genre back in the nearly eighties as he would go from parlor to back porch offering his gentle tunes to friends and listeners who were hungry for more than classical music could offer. The genre grew into what it is today, inspired by Ackerman and his ilk. In the music you can hear that Ronnda, a great guitarist herself, is in awe of her guru. She offers twelve delightful tunes that honors Will, her music and her dedication to the genre.
I have this thing whenever I leave home and travel out of the town or across state lines. I always give out a sigh of relief when I pass by the county line on my return. Feels Like Home is that sigh that tells you are back in a safe place. Ronnda presents the song with a wistful flourish, Betsy Tinney's cello forms a congenial background, a landscape if you will, and the piano by Monica Pasqual is the sunshine that gives everything warmth.
Will's Embrace is probably one of the sweetest tunes I have ever heard in my reviewing career. The melody is so tender you can almost feel the warmth of hands enfolding and imagine the eyes closed in trust. There are the deep breaths measuring the heartbeats of emotions and finally, the exhalation and doleful release. It is also the embrace of an experience, of talent and of spirit.
There is a problem of water slowing you down sometimes. Beneath the Sea is a subdued tune, although I thought it would have been a bit more bubbly. There are many things under the surface that we are not privy to, but we go on nonetheless. Perhaps it is those little secret things that Ronnda's celebrates in this intricate tune.
After is quite familiar to me from one of Ronnda's previous releases (same title), but continues to charm the listener, me, and frankly, is an all time favorite. The song has great drive thanks to Edo Castro's fretless bass and Ronnda's emotional guitar homage to her biggest fan, the late Joyce Tree. Trust me, this tune is heard on High.
Shalom had a folksy beginning and as it progressed, it became a story song. It is the tale of a friendship made over many years. Not lovers, but two friends who grew to know each other and form a bond of respect and appreciation. Because of a dear man named "Shalom" Ronnda's music was heard clearly by everyone around.
Someone once said, "No matter where you go, there you are," and it seems an appropriate quote for the last song on the album called, Leaving. As a musician, it seems you are always leaving in search of the perfect chord, the right lyric or the most receptive audience. There seems to be an inherent sadness in the passage, but a good musician perseveres just like Ronnda. This song is a bit sad with its slow rhythm and ringing harmonics, but it is not the end, but a new beginning.
This album is a kind of "To Sir, With Love"tribute. Younger readers will have to look that one up. It'll do you good. Ronnda Cadle is articulate with music, so her songs suffice as words. I have never heard such a more beautiful thank you ever.