At the End of the Day
is Carolyn Southworth’s debut CD, but it certainly doesn’t sound like a first release! Produced by David Lanz’s former collaborator, Grammy nominee Paul Speer, and accompanied on several tracks by woodwind artist, Nancy Rumbel (of Tingstad and Rumbel), At the End of the Day
could easily be mistaken for a Narada release from that label’s heyday. Speer’s guitar is so distinctive that I might have guessed that a few of the tracks were early Lanz/Speer material. Anyone nostalgic for that sound will absolutely love this CD! However, this is not an impersonation or copycat music. It is a flawless collection of deeply personal compositions for piano and other instruments (keyboard, oboe, English horn, bass, percussion, sax, flute, and guitar - almost all acoustic). Strong melodies and passionate playing make this a standout album for concentrated listening or to accompany a long drive, a cozy fireplace, or just chillin’. Along with being an accomplished pianist/composer, Carolyn Southworth is a violin and piano teacher, plays violin and viola, directs choirs, performs, and composes for a wide range of musical ensembles.
The title track opens the CD with a beautiful piece about relaxing and unwinding after a long, hectic day. Easy-going and smooth with a feeling of contentment, it’s a great way to start! “Sideways” tells about how life can go in that direction if we take ourselves too seriously and don’t have fun. Upbeat and cheerful, the mood is playful and lighthearted. “Silver Lining” is a favorite. Flute, guitar, and percussion enhance the soulful piano with mystery and passion. “In My Fondest Dreams” is a love song from a musical Southworth wrote the music and lyrics for, called “Abinadi,” arranged as a warm and dreamy instrumental. “Where Eagles Soar” is another favorite. Inspired by watching a family of bald eagles soaring and playing on wind currents, the music is powerful and graceful, yet effortless. Speer’s guitar represents the cry of the birds. “Highlander” is a beautiful tribute to Southworth’s Scottish heritage. Mostly piano and flute, the flowing melody suggests a hillside with a gentle breeze blowing through the grasses and wildflowers. “Anchor In the Storm” is especially Lanz-like with its loving warmth and optimism as well as Speer’s accompanying guitar. “In the Wake of the Storm” is much darker, describing the destruction that washes up on the shoreline after a winter storm. Near the end of the song, the tone lightens as the sun comes out and the calm returns. Very effective! “Nocturne” brings us back to the end of the day with a gorgeous song of comfort and peacefulness - the flute and piano are so good together on this!
I usually try to not compare artists and their work, but I really think fans of David Lanz’s early music (and there are a LOT of them!) will love At the End of the Day
. Carolyn Southworth is a wonderful discovery, so check her music out! It’s available from carolynsouthworth.com
, cdbaby.com, and amazon.com. Recommended!