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Album Review: Like a Song
Cathy Oakes
Cover image of the album Like a Song by Cathy Oakes
Like a Song
Cathy Oakes
2012 / Sierra Key Music
60 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Like a Song is the debut release from pianist/composer Cathy Oakes, who is currently the pastor of three Methodist churches in western Tennessee. Although Cathy started playing the piano as a child and received extensive training in piano, voice, and choral direction, she did not start composing until October 2011 after being inspired by a Whisperings Concert performed by Philip Wesley, Joseph Akins, and Joe Bongiorno. She then studied with Joseph Akins for several months and the rest is (recent) history! Recorded at Joe Bongiorno’s Piano Haven Studios near Seattle, the sound quality of the piano is clear, warm, and perfectly suited to Oakes’ gentle melodies and solo piano memoirs. There are no keyboard pyrotechnics on Like a Song, but Oakes’ playing is smooth, confident, and very sincere, making all fourteen tracks from her debut a joy to listen to.

Like a Song begins with “Every Day With You,” a piece about the ups and downs of everyday life shared with a soul mate. Inspired by an early-morning snowfall at Lake Tahoe, “Just Before Dawn” gracefully expresses a sense of serenity and peace that only being in the midst of nature can evoke. The title track is a thoughtful, soft-spoken prayer played simply and from the heart. “Morning Meditation” is a favorite. Very slow, gentle, and introspective, it conveys the perfect peace and stillness of an early morning. “Falling Waters” is somewhat different from the other pieces in that it was inspired by the waterfalls of Yosemite National Park. From delicate trickles to ground-shaking power, the piece elegantly compares and contrasts different kinds of waterfalls. “A Tender Soul” is a heartfelt tribute to a late husband who was clearly deeply loved - another favorite. “Surrender” is a wonderful medley of traditional hymns that Oakes’ grandmother sang to her as a child, followed by Oakes’ gorgeous original worship song, “You Are.” Although “Last Glance” was inspired by a parting look at Lake Tahoe after a short vacation, it serves as a tender and loving close to this lovely album.

Like a Song is a wonderful first effort from Cathy Oakes! If you are looking for some peaceful, soothing solo piano, be sure to check this one out! It is available from cathyoakessolopiano.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
July 16, 2012
This review has been tagged as:
Debut Albums