Just in! “Transitions” Review by Steve Sheppard (One World Music)

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Naked Piano: Transitions By Gary Girouard Written by Steve Sheppard (original review link here)

I had been traveling so long, that I needed a place of solace, somewhere to rest my tired mind, the flash of train tracks, the frenetic bullying of road vehicles and lumbering planes going to and fro in a mist of a late winter haze. My solace that cold Friday morning would come in the guise of Gary Girouard and his latest release and part of The Naked Piano works called, Transitions.

I have now played track one called Solitude 5 times in a row, I found that it spoke of my needs and desires, the negative chord structures were so mournful, it reflected a real sense of a need for solitude, a place where one can be alone with the mood of reflection. Girouard has pulled off a master stroke here, by opening this album with a track of such quality.

If one is searching for Redemption, then in this track you have succeeded upon your quest, one more absolutely stunning composition has been created by the artist and again Girouard’s mood is both reflective and imploring, the little extra power here is quite sublime, but he also cleverly pulls back with a real deft and respectful style.

I wondered just how could the artist get any better, this is one of the most exciting and emotional albums of the solo piano genre I have heard for quite some time. The full flowing Invictus will prove my point; it has an element of authoritativeness about it that is quite uplifting.

Girouard has a rare talent; he has that masterful skill of being able to paint with music. His performance on Cross the Chasm is more than enough proof of this ability; it is both creative and progressive.

Beyond Tomorrow was another moment of thoughtful performing, but perhaps of things yet to come, the mood here is an almost philosophical musing of the future, the melody however is once again powerful and emotional and one could easily see this being used in a film soundtrack.

The difficult, but addictive subject of Forbidden Love is next and here is a piece that literally floats on the winds of time, this is a soundtrack for those who have touched this moment of the heart and felt both the pain and passion of this dualistic of circumstance.

Kairos is a word familiar to me, but not musically, I live in Cyprus and had heard it used in conversation, it actually means in short, the perfect moment, there are just to words for time in Greek, one Chronos and of course this song title, Kairos. The song itself is beautiful, but made me miss home even more, but soon I would have that perfect moment, that Kairos, back on the island of love, this track is sublimely played and reminds me of the soft wind that blows around our coastline.

Listen to Serenity, its bliss, it’s transcendent, Girouard’s performing style is so very creative, it’s just a blessing to be able to listen to it, this is one happy song, so just surrender to Serenity.

As we turn the corner into the second half of the album we come across something very special indeed and this is, Transformation, this arrangement has power, poise, and delicacy, and all wrapped up in one heck of a stunning performance, the energy of this composition is both intense and dramatic at times, but played with such skill and passion, it has to be admired.

We move to Nebula, a vast and open performance, filled full of opportunities for you dear constant listener to discover at your leisure. From the nebula we move into an area of mystery called, Nexus, this is a composition of connection and Girouard almost plays for us a piece that has that place of balance, and in a way it also feels related in some way, to the previous track.

So now for the title track, that moment of opportunity for the artist to really reveal his feelings of the overall concept of the album, this of course is the ultimate canvas. Gary Girouard on The Naked Piano: Transitions, shows a good deal of intention here, but please listen carefully to this one, it is complex in its construction, but contains a beautiful quality of sound as a back drop, it is emotive at times, but has a deep felt resonance of confidence layered within.

Invictus (Orchestrated) breaks from the solo piano theme, but does gift us an opportunity to hear a Girouard piece with all the bells and whistles, to coin a phrase. This is simply amazing, I would love to see this appear on a movie, and I would imagine the artist is very proud of this arrangement and so he should be.

In perfect logical order, in fact in chronological order we have the father of time and the track, Chronos. I liked the tempo and time of this piece, it also had a bright quality about it that gives us a sense of lightness and as our penultimate piece off the album, it set us up perfectly for our last offering.

That last musical gift is a gentle track called Taken; this is a beautiful way for us to leave this journey with the artist, it’s smooth and calming and the perfect slow paced composition for us to relax and just be with.

The Naked Piano: Transitions was a complete pleasure for me to listen to and Gary Girouard should be very pleased with the outcome of this release, it is constructed with such passion and pride, a lot of work has gone into the performance and production of this album and it shows, therefore I have no hesitation to recommended, that you make this album part of your collection, it is thoroughly enjoyable.

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