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Album Review: Prayers In the Dark
Adam Andrews
Cover image of the album Prayers In the Dark by Adam Andrews
Prayers In the Dark
Adam Andrews
2016 / Adam Andrews
44 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
I thoroughly enjoyed Adam Andrews’ first two solo piano albums (Road to Ambo and A Thousand Springs), but when I saw him perform live in Southern CA earlier this year, it really sealed the deal - Adam Andrews is one of my favorite pianist/composers! It’s a major achievement to record an album of original music that charts well and appeals to a variety of musical tastes, but the way Andrews grabs his audiences with emotion and sincerity is absolutely stunning. As someone who has struggled with depression, one might expect Andrews’ music to be very dark and even despondent, but there is always a strong element of hope as he reaches out to others with a focus on healing and inspiration. Andrews’ new album, Prayers In the Dark, seems to reach even deeper into the soul of this remarkable composer. He says that this album “shares my personal journey to find gratefulness and peace during a difficult season of life.” We’ve all had those times, so this music should be instantly relatable to anyone who listens with an open heart. In the liner notes of the CD, Andrews briefly describes where each of the twelve pieces came from, giving more insight into the music. The album was recorded at Piano Haven Studios on a Shigeru Kawai grand piano and was engineered and mastered by Joe Bongiorno.

Prayers In the Dark opens with the title track, a piece Andrews describes as a series of conversations with God. “One part of the song expresses self-doubt and in the other part I imagine God lifting me up.” The first theme of the piece is very open and spare, gradually becoming more flowing and optimistic - a very beautiful and compelling start! The Andrews Family welcomed a young boy from Ethiopia into their lives a few years ago, and “Walk With Grace” is a prayer that he will always know how much they love him. Tender and deeply heartfelt, love flows from every note. “Out of Heaven” was inspired by Andrews’ wife and was composed spontaneously in the studio. It overflows with quiet passion and deep love. “Flying With Sparrows” begins as a gentle waltz. The second theme is a bit livelier and more upbeat, as is the third, offering a message of hope to those who feel forgotten - a favorite. I also really like “Finding Essence,” which is about the process of self-discovery as an artist. Graceful and lyrical, it expresses a wide variety of emotions. “Glimmer” is very delicate and almost fragile, coming from a time of feeling broken inside and finding a “light” in his heart that began the healing process. “After the Storms” is a new arrangement of the first piece Andrews composed about depression. Gentle and conversational, so much is said without the use of words - another favorite. “Coming Home” is the most buoyant and lively piece on the album and celebrates the return of Andrews’ passion for playing music - my favorite track on the album. “Life” is a new arrangement of a piece Andrews wrote many years ago about the ups and downs of life. A variety of themes are woven together to give a dramatic expression to those ups and downs, and brings the album to a powerful close.

Prayers In the Dark is truly an exceptional album! If you are new to Adam Andrews’ music, this is a great place to start! If you enjoyed his previous albums, you’ll love this one, too! It is available from AdamAndrewsMusic.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
October 8, 2016