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Album Review: A New Direction
Amy Janelle
Cover image of the album A New Direction by Amy Janelle
A New Direction
Amy Janelle
2014 / Live Your Dream Music
46 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
A New Direction is the second release from pianist/composer/vocalist Amy Janelle, following her 2010 debut, Shining True. Since that first recording, Amy moved from the wet and chilly Pacific Northwest to warm and dry Sedona, AZ - a new direction, indeed, and a testament to the philosophy of “living your dream.” Shining True includes three vocal pieces, but this time there is just one, the closing track. The other ten are original piano solos that tell stories without words about the past three years of Amy’s life. Also a licensed massage therapist, Amy obviously loves to relax people and help them feel better with her positive energy, and her music certainly succeeds in reaching those goals. One of the things I really like about this album is Amy’s frequent use of the deep bass of the Shigeru Kawai SK7 grand piano at Piano Haven Studio - such a dark, rich sound!

A New Direction begins with the title track, a warm and blissful piece with a gently percussive right hand and flowing left. Amy is obviously feeling very good about her new direction! “Peaks of Red” is a somewhat more dramatic yet still peaceful favorite. The repetitive left hand sets a calming rhythm while the right tells a colorful story, occasionally crossing over into the deep bass of the piano to great effect! “Seasons of Darkness” goes to a much sadder and more painful place - wrenching yet absolutely gorgeous in its honesty and emotional expression. From the darker depths, we go to the light and languid “The Sun Dance.” Life is good again! “Sweet Surprise” is poignant, expressing the heartfelt emotions felt from something unexpected and especially meaningful. “Behind the Moonlight” is my favorite piece on the album. The rolling broken chords on the left hand create a hypnotic rhythm while the right hand sparkles in the upper registers of the piano, crossing into the deep bass for just the right amount of drama and contrast. I enjoyed listening to this piece so much while driving to and from the SF Bay Area a couple of weeks ago that I kept hitting the “repeat” button on my CD player - over and over. I’m really looking forward to the sheet music for this one! “New Life” is tender and full of wonder. “You Are Beautiful” is the closing vocal piece - a sweet love song to end the album with a smile and a wistful sigh.

Amy Janelle has created a second beautiful piano album that serves as a massage for the mind and soul. A New Direction is available from amypiano.com, Amazon and iTunes. Recommended!
February 9, 2014
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