At the End of the Day
2006 / Heron's Point Music
Review by Michael Debbage
With the appearances of Nancy Rumbel on oboe and English horn, Richard Warner on sax and flute and Paul Speer on guitar, one could begin to think this is a Narada label reunion. Actually this is all about a relatively unknown Washington state based piano teacher by the name of Carolyn Southworth who was willing to roll the dice on her debut. Not only does she co-produce her luminous debut with Grammy Nominee producer Paul Speer, but she also composes all eleven tracks of this delectable ear candy that is one of the music industries overlooked gems.
Born and raised in the state of Oregon, after attending Brigham Young, Carolyn married and then relocated to the state of Washington. Perhaps a combination of hard effort along with the inspiration of her surroundings, Carolyn, with a little help from some lofty friends in the music business, has managed to create quite a startling debut. There are no shortcuts here as the production and arrangements are nothing short of what one would have expected from Narada at the height of its zenith.
The album begins with an ending entitled “At the End of the Day” that will compel you to seek your favorite comfy chair, put your feet up and allow you to sink into a total state of relaxation. With the presence of Nancy Rumbel on oboe, Paul Speer’s ambient background guitar and Southworth’s charming yet graceful piano work will immediately invite comparisons with David Lanz. Nevertheless, Carolyn avoids being a pure impersonator and jumps into the short but playful “Sideways”. As the album progresses so does Carolyn as she explores Celtic themes found on “Highlander” with the flutes of Richard Warner emphasizing the audio visual feel of the rugged green highlands. Aye she is a beauty! In complete contrast, Carolyn takes on a more progressive and somber approach with the challenging moody “In The Wake Of The Storm”. The musical countering between Southworth’s piano work and Rumbel’s oboe is a mystical magic merging of impeccable wonders. To a lesser effect similar results are found on the more mellow “Nocturnal” with Warner’s flute work gently washed in the piano work of Southworth.
Comparisons with David Lanz are unavoidable but by the time you complete your first listen you will realize that Southworth has her own musical voice. At the End of the Day is nothing short of a pure quality album that has all the trademarks of a big budget blockbuster release. From Carolyn’s most impressive compositions, to the high end production to the top notch musicians that surround her, this highly impressive debut will make you crave for the golden yesteryears of Narada and New Age music…and more importantly more music from Carolyn Southworth.
June 6, 2006