Dancing With The Moon
2019 / Heron's Point Music
Review by Michael Debbage
It has only been three years since pianist Carolyn Southworth’s last recording By The Sea which was unaccompanied by nothing else but her music and piano. Much like the calming effects of a tranquil water, her music and the song titles, certainly played to a reassuring rejuvenation theme. However, this time around Southworth was ready to waltz and be more playful as Dancing With The Moon pays more tribute to her glorious debut At The End Of The Day with the album weaving its way around many genres. In fact, her latest album may be her greatest adventure to date.
Dancing With The Moon opens strong with “Vermilion Sky” reminding us of the heady days of the Narada label. Not only does her piano style have shades of David Lanz but she is also accompanied by the most distinct guitar work of Paul Speer who has previously collaborated with Lanz. Similar classy results are found on the moody “After Midnight” where Southworth and Speer exchange lines that then lighten up on a wonderful chorus/bridge only to return to the healthy exchange of the piano/guitar work. Similar results can be found on the brighter “Twilight” with a greater focus on Southworth’s piano work and breezy melody. Even better check out the toe tapper jazzy “City Lights”.
Elsewhere there is the revisited “Safe Harbor” that was initially recorded for By The Sea but this times around Southworth and Heath Vercher adorn it with beautiful but yet not over the top orchestration. Speaking of revisiting, Carolyn borrows from the English melody “Dives And Lazarus” to create her version courtesy of the track “If You Could Hie To Kolob”. Once again, the orchestrated arrangements and embellishments are uplifting but never overwrought. Add the waltzing of the title track which includes the violin of Kelley Marie Johnson, along with the vocals of Kathy Sanborn on the closer “Twilight”, well that pretty much adds up to everything musically speaking as well as the kitchen sink.
Southworth has been releasing these wonderful songs (bar two) as singles over a period of time and while it has resulted in a resounding cohesive recording there is no doubting it has a sense of genre wanderlust making Dancing With The Moon her most audacious and best to date. Needless to say, you end up with a pattern of unpredictable pleasures that will please any pituitary musical gland.
December 24, 2019