Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Watching For Rain
Anne Trenning
Cover image of the album Watching For Rain by Anne Trenning
Watching For Rain
Anne Trenning
2009 / Shadetree Productions
51 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Watching For Rain is pianist/composer Anne Trenning’s third release to date. Using rain as a metaphor for hope and anticipation, Trenning has created an album of fifteen pieces that reflect an air of positive change, joy, and renewal. This is just the kind of music we need to get through these troubled times and to keep our collective spirits up. Don’t get me wrong - this is not sugar-coated fluff music by any means. It is a thoughtful and at times prayerful expression of “keeping the faith” and hanging on for better times. Trenning has eclectic musical tastes and a variety of influences are heard in the music, including classical, traditional, Celtic, and gospel. Most of the pieces are original compositions, but several mix in phrases from familiar songs and hymns and then evolve into something else, rendering them new yet familiar. Some of the pieces are piano solo, but most are accompanied by acoustic instruments: strings, woodwinds, bass, guitar, and percussion; a few also contain keyboards. I called Trenning’s previous release, All One World, “a breath of fresh air,” and extend that sentiment to Watching For Rain as well.

All of the music on this CD is exceptional, but I’ll tell you about some favorites. It begins with the Welsh folk song “The Ash Grove.” Piano and strings set the soothing yet stirring tone of the album. “Silent Night II” is gorgeous with piano, strings, and woodwinds. Trenning has ingeniously mixed in short phrases from the beloved Christmas hymn, ending with “sleep in heavenly peace.” “Eden Hall” would be wonderful in a soundtrack about rural America. The dancing, carefree mood is infectious and brings visions of the backwoods and a simpler, more innocent way of life. “A Prayer For the World” is a quiet and contemplative trio for piano, violin, and cello - a favorite. “The Welcome Song” feels like a warm, musical hug - enveloping and safe. “You and Me” is a poignant piece that tenderly overflows with love and joy. “Carolina Moon” is pure fun with a gentle Southern spirit. “I Want To Be Ready” is a traditional spiritual that contains phrases from several familiar hymns, and Trenning presents it as a soulful gospel piano solo. “Real Love” is another piano solo, this time a gentle, evocative love song. “Dancing With You” returns to a gospel style, this time for full ensemble - piano, organ, drums, and guitar - I love this stuff! The CD closes with a 38-second “Benediction” based on Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”

Watching For Rain is a beautiful CD from start to finish and I very highly recommend it. It is available from annetrenning.com, Amazon, and CD Baby.
February 15, 2009