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When the Sea Lets Go by Vin Downes
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 2/27/2017
written and played with love
Sometimes in life there is a moment in time that you wish would never end, something so beautiful and calming comes in and changes everything, that moment is here for me right now in the guise of Vin Downes and his latest release entitled, When The Sea Lets Go.
I have been a fan of Vin’s music ever since I came across the superb Unlike the Stars. As a guitarist myself, listening to his performance gives me something to aspire to. The opening piece to this tranquil album is called Entwined and Lost; it’s a melodic track that seems to weave its way around your mind in a repeating pattern of pure ambience.
On Evening In Berkeley we have one of those moments that perhaps could be described as halcyon, Downes smooth and mood filled guitar reaches the depths of a sunset so peace filled and calming, you simply just want this blissful experience to never end, its six minutes of pure musical magic.
Recorded and produced in the Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont under the watchful eye of the legend that is Will Ackerman, Downes has put together something quite breath-taking and beautiful, very much like this next offering called Morning Red. Here Downes brings to the table a light but more up-tempo offering, that has a real sun kissed feel to its manifestation. The fluency on guitar here by the artist is really something to be utterly enjoyed.
The gentle and picturesque track Dust and Drag is up next, this is a delight to just flow with, and the smooth and harmonic sense of bliss here is just what’s needed. The rhythm and melody are utterly charming and very addictive. I can imagine I will be whistling this one while I take my coastal walk tomorrow, this track also features some quite delicious bass, provided by non-other than Michael Manring.
At the half way juncture we come across a sensitive piece called Just Before You Leave. Here Downes creates some wonderful narrative, that is quite emotive in its construction, while the track has a slight mournful resonance, it also seems to contain a balancing of energies, with some deep felt moments of memory, created with such a delicate level of tenderness, I guarantee this one will move you.
On Everything Ahead we are really in Windham Hill territory and within this piece one can feel a certain sense of movement, it’s as if we’re travelling down a country road, with the windows open with the warm summer wind across our faces. This is one of those feel good pieces that you won’t fail to like.
The title track is next, When The Sea Lets Go, this is sublime. I live near an ocean, so I can tell you that the movement and tones fit perfectly. The subtle but ever flowing tempo and style is not only creative but both memorable and quite moving in parts as well. In my opinion Downes has completely excelled with his title heading composition, and this is also my favourite offering off the album.
We have found our way into the deeper waters of this release constant reader, and as we slowly oar our musical boat around the river bend, we come across a lovely track filled with a colour and warmth that makes it even more expressive, this one is called Streets Of Sunday. I am old enough to remember the time before the all-encompassing ills of endless consumerisation; I used to love to walk out on a sunny Sunday morning with the tranquil hum of the day all around me, the sounds of birdsong, and the wind blowing silently in the trees, all perfectly described in music by Vin Downes.
Well this is the penultimate piece off the album, dear listener of stylish music, and at this crossroads of musical bliss you will find a sign saying, The Right Words Are Simple. Once more the artist is in the flow, Downes artistry is really evident here in this classy composition, we can indeed be mesmerised by its charm filled tones and construction.
That sad moment has arrived, and our journey with Vin Downes is now nearly over, but wait, before you leave, take this musical gift along with you, it’s called All You Left Behind. You have to listen to the skill set used here by the musician, the chords and notes are so steeped in wisdom and passion. We end this truly magnificent album in a moment of sublime reflection, what a brilliant end to a brilliant release.
When The Sea Lets Go is an experience that you must not miss, it’s a musical pathway that you must allow yourself to bathe in. I have heard many acoustic based guitar albums in my years as a writer and broadcaster, but this release has to be one of the warmest, most welcoming and cleverly performed for quite some time, you must grasp a copy of this album as quick as possible.
Rating: Excellent
Rainbow Road by Nancy Shoop-Wu
- posted by Ava on 2/23/2017
Magical Music

I SO love this album! The music is breathtakingly beautiful - a unique blend of New Age, Hawaiian sunshine and classical. And this woman’s violin playing is exquisite! Gorgeous tone and technique, and warm, heartfelt playing. Not surprising since I believe she is a classical concert violinist. This music just transports me. I can’t recommend it enough!
Rating: Excellent
Of Sea & Stars by Terra Guitarra
- posted by Gena on 2/22/2017

The new Terra Guitarra album, OF SEA & STARS, is full of the sounds of Latin-style acoustic guitars with Bruce Hecksel playing amazing lead solos over the top of rock-solid rhythm guitarist Julie Patchouli (who both strums and finger-picks). On the album you also will occasionally hear Native American wood flute, bass, keyboards, hand-drums and percussion.

The new music is inspired by many cultures -- Spaniards (“Estrella”), Native Americans (the tunes “Night River” and “Of Wind & Wood”), Norse Vikings (“Wave Walker” was the name of one of their ships), Greeks (“Zorbas” is a cover version of the Zorba the Greek film theme), the Incas (“Viracocha”), French Acadian settlers in the Americas (“Circadia”), Portuguese (“Alegria”), and eskimos and Icelandic tribes (“Aurora”).

Terra Guitarra, which usually performs about 200 shows each year, is extremely-entertaining. Their music will please anyone who likes acoustic guitars, Latin-style playing, or a melodic instrumental world-fusion sound.
Rating: Excellent
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