||I first heard Jeff Pearce several years ago when he produced a great album of Chapman Stick music. The "stick" is a unique instrument that is half guitar and half electronic piano, sort of a tapping guitar. Furthermore, Jeff, on various instruments, has built quite a reputation as a sideman on scores of other quality artist's albums. But on In the Season of Fading Light he offers another incredible talent, his piano playing. Pearce's piano compositions have a drifting quality to them, sort of ephemeral, but with strong, radiant melodies. Since his personal bio is only 2 lines long, I believe you can get to know him through his music.
In The Season of Fading Light is a poignant beginning to the 13 track recording. It has a beautiful sadness about it, like melancholy has some understanding built into it. It sounds like something has been accomplished through endless toil, but the struggle will somehow be missed. When darkness finally falls, we will question our purpose.
Harvest Prayer reflects Jeff's concern about how America is struggling to feed itself after the droughts of the last two years. You may not see it at the supermarket, but people are hungry every day and their next meal is often uncertain at best. Jeff lives his beliefs. He is donating one dollar for every album sold to Feeding America, the nationwide system of food banks.
The fields around the house take on a crystalline beauty in the morning as the sun ignites the hoarfrost. Jeff's ballad After The Frost is the sound of that beauty reflected by a billion facets of light. Like many things in life, it is fleeting, so you must take notice and admire the experience before the sunlight melts the scenery into a memory.
One of my favorites on In the Season of Fading Light is a slow, thoughtful tune called Almost the Moon II. It was a song perfect for what I was doing at the time; gazing out the window at the snow covered hills, late at night while a silver smile hung in the sky and charged everything I could see with an eerie blue light. The light was so pure that it did not need its full orb of brilliance, just what it was at the time.
I believe Words From The Rain has one of the most diaphanous attributes I have ever heard from a piano composition. The music is soft, flowing, and absolutely weightless. The words from the rain are sometimes whispers and sometimes sadder than tears, but the message is always comforting as it is in Jeff’s tune.
Where All Rivers End, the last cut on the album, is slow and sure and ultra light. Some rivers course through a continent to get to where they are going; constant, steadfast, and strong. During their course they influence many people and environments and in turn, they are affected by the touch of man or, more importantly, his dereliction. Ultimately, the rivers end up being part of something much greater than themselves for their final destination is the sea. It is up to us to observe all the contributions they have made along the way and learn.
Jeff Pearce is a multi-instrumentalist, a composer, a producer and much more. Apparently he is the sum of all of his parts and his talent is obvious on this placid, somewhat melancholy album of contemporary piano instrumentals. You need not wait for the late fall to enjoy this excellent recording, for its amazing ability to comfort and calm is welcome on any day of the year.