2005 / Lisa Drake
Review by Kathy Parsons
Creekside is an extraordinary debut from Indiana pianist/composer Lisa Drake. A classically-trained professional pianist in Tennessee and Indiana for twenty-five years, Drake’s music has the style and grace of an artist who is completely comfortable with her instrument. Some of the pieces are lightly orchestrated, and some include one or two other instruments, nature sounds, and one brief children’s vocal. The mood varies from piece to piece, but is consistently tranquil and relaxing. The music would create a beautiful backdrop for other activities, but deserves to be listened to intently to savor the nuance and elegance of a top-notch artist. The CD was recorded on a state-of-the-art digital piano, but the music more than makes up for the non-acoustic instrument.
The CD opens with “Supernova,” a graceful, classically-influenced piece that includes strings in the background that make the piece soar. Filled with longing and wonder, it’s a lovely beginning that promises great things to come. I love “Winds Southwest,” a darkly mysterious piece with some bluesy touches. Intense and swirling, it paints a vivid picture. “Balalaika Serenade” is the only cover piece. Composed by Irene Rodgers, piano and balalaika ( a Russian guitar) combine to create a wistful, playful duet. The title tune is another beauty. With nature sounds in the background, this gentle piano solo depicts a setting of perfect peace and contentment. Even the sound of thunder and rain doesn’t dispel the bliss, and the innocence of a child singing “It’s raining, it’s pouring” brings a smile. A great piece! “It Takes Two” is passion set to music with a slightly Spanish flavor. “Cleo” is the most orchestrated piece on the CD. With strings, guitar, percussion, and an interesting rhythm track this very soulful piece would be great in a movie soundtrack. “Lullaby of Bertland” is a bit jazzier and has some interesting harmonic changes that are never jarring. “Someday” is a bluesy musical daydream that looks inward and comes from the heart. “For Adam” closes the set with another heartfelt piece that seems to be saying, “Farewell, I’ll miss you.” Strings add poignance to the lovely piano melody.
Creekside is excellent from start to finish, and I can’t wait to hear more from this exciting new artist. The CD is available to buy online at cdbaby.com. Very highly recommended!
November 16, 2006