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Album Review: Chimes of the Spirit
Acoustic Ocean
Cover image of the album Chimes of the Spirit by Acoustic Ocean
Chimes of the Spirit
Acoustic Ocean
2012 / Natural Health Source, Inc.
47 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Chimes of the Spirit is the third release from Acoustic Ocean, a duo consisting of Peggy Morgan (Celtic harp) and Bette Phelan (guitar), who have been performing together for more than twenty years. Both artists are active in the healing arts field and incorporate some of that as well as the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands into their music. Intertwining the genres of folk, new age, and contemporary instrumental, the eleven compositions also feature Morgan and Phelan on supporting instruments such as fretless bass, low whistle, electric guitar, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, and vocals. They are joined on several tracks by Kay Aldrich on cello and Anne Berliner on flute. The music itself invites the listener on a musical journey through the process of transition and transformation, encouraging the expression of feelings through art and music to comfort, uplift, and bring us back into balance. Overall, the music is light and optimistic with strong Celtic and folk influences - sure to brighten the gray days of winter and bring some sunshine to the darkest of moods.

Chimes of the Spirit opens with “This Love Is Forever,” a lively ballad that celebrates the joy and security of true love. “Farewell Safe Harbor” adds cello to the harp and guitar, grounding them a bit with the lower range of notes - a lovely balance! “Into the Mystery Landscape” sounds like it could go much darker, but this is a very pleasant mystery, not an unsettling one. “Rift Rider” picks up the tempo for a lively duet for guitar and harp - a favorite. “Under the Starlit Sky” is serene and sparkling with mandolin and low whistle adding color, atmosphere, and a little weight. The title track begins slowly and rather mysteriously, gradually gathering energy and becoming quite lively and joyful. “Tsunami” is intense and energetic, but not really ominous. Wordless vocals create a nice counterpoint to the plucked strings. “If I Had Wings,” a traditional folk song, has a peaceful, easy flow and gentle lyrics. The wistful “Only Love Remains” brings our journey to its conclusion, hopeful and ready to move forward.

Chimes of the Spirit is music with a purpose, but it also provides a light and soothing background for any number of quiet activities (or work) and is complex enough to enjoy with full listening attention. It is available from [www.acoustioceanmusic.com], Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby.
December 11, 2012
This review has been tagged as:
Guitar music
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