By the Sea
2016 / Heron's Point Music
Review by Michael Debbage
Last time we heard from pianist Carolyn Southworth was five years ago when she invited us to her musical Home For Christmas and what a festive occasion it was. Much like her quite extraordinary debut album At The End Of The Day it took these ears by delightful surprise. Needless to say her most recent recording By the Sea was also a surprise but remaining at full disclosure one that required some adjusting too. Carolyn Southworth’ music and melodies continue to shine through but in a whole new way as she presents her listening audience with a very bare, naked solo piano recording that will have you viewing this artist in a whole different musical light.
Southworth proceeds to present her listeners with twelve new recordings with all of the titles keeping us close to that revitalized coastline. In fact the title track begins that journey of escape with a slow yet rhythmic mid tempo that seems to bring visuals of tranquil ocean waves flowing back and forth on the granules of a white sandy beach. The quietude can be found on the gentler tracks such as “Reflections”, “Sand Castles” or the closer “Deep Water”. But there is a greater attraction to the previously mentioned title track or the gentle sway of the melodic “Safe Harbor” and playful “Boardwalk”. However none of the songs break away from the clear pastoral and escape theme that Southworth is attempting to create. Either mood fully encompasses the understated beauty of this delicate and intelligent piano player.
Since a child, the sea has always had a calming effect and living within one hour of the coastline for an entire lifetime up until ten years ago has always been a reassuring escape. Living six hours inland has resulted in a loss of that reassuring rejuvenation. Needless to say Southworth’ latest musical escapade By the Sea from album cover, title and songs helps transport you to your musical coastline of choice. In fact Carolyn sums up her recording best on her liner notes stating that she hopes By the Sea “will wash away your troubles and give you a sense of renewed life”. Mission accomplished and thank you!
October 14, 2017