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Album Review: Reflections on Still Water
Acoustic Ocean
Cover image of the album Reflections on Still Water by Acoustic Ocean
Reflections on Still Water
Acoustic Ocean
2010 / Acoustic Ocean Music
47 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Reflections on Still Water is the second release from Acoustic Ocean, following Light Returning, which was on Zone Music Reporter’s Top 100 chart for seven months in 2009. Acoustic Ocean is Peggy Morgan and Bette Phelan who toured together for twenty years as the folk duo Morgan and Phelan. Morgan performs on Celtic harp and vocals and Phelan plays acoustic guitar, fretless bass, mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimers, mandolin, pennywhistle, piano, electric guitar, vocals, and keyboard - whew! They are joined on several tracks on cello by Kay Aldrich and one by Anne Berliner on flute. As the instrumentation indicates, the music has strong Celtic influences, but several of the pieces are named for places on the Big Island of Hawaii, where both artists live. Nine of the pieces are original compositions and one is a cover of the traditional “Motherless Child.” Soothing and relaxing while maintaining a vibrant sound, the album works well with concentrated listening as well as being a lovely backdrop for quiet activities.

Reflections on Still Water begins with “Night Flight,” beautifully performed on Celtic harp, guitar, cedar flute, and fretless bass. The brightness of the harp is balanced with the darker sounds of the lower-pitched instruments. “Moon Over Mauna Kea” is one of my favorites. The unusual ensemble of Celtic harp, piano, cello, and bass creates a mood of tranquility and gently soothes the soul. I also really like “Rainbow Falls,” which adds in the beautifully harmonized voices without lyrics. “Motherless Child” is a traditional spiritual, arranged for Celtic harp, cello, and fretless bass. The mellow, mournful cello balances the brightness of the harp to perfection. Love it! “Place of Refuge” feels more like a “folky” slow ballad with almost all of the instruments joining in - very calming while suggesting a vast open space. “Voyager” is also a favorite. Harp, guitar, cello, and bass tell a colorful tale of adventure and faraway places. “Safe Journey Home” closes the album with a light, sweet, and very gentle “so long.”

Reflections on Still Water is a beautiful listening experience that refreshes the mind and lifts the spirit. It is available from www.acousticoceanmusic.com, Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. Recommended!
October 19, 2010
This review has been tagged as:
Guitar music
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