2000 / HeartEarth Music
Review by Michael Debbage
Evocation is derived from the word "evoke," which according to Webster is "to call up; to summon forth; to draw out." Evocation lives up to its title with an aura of class and substance. Though melody is present, Urquhart is rooted in his classical background and relies on more unusual minor cords to draw out the listener's emotions, stirring the soul and touching the heart.
Craig has been releasing solo material since the early '90s. It all began with Songs Without Words back in 1990 and Evocation represents his fourth project. He is not a prolific writer considering it has been thirteen years since his debut solo album. This is not a bad thing many artists over-saturate the market in meeting record label demands. Craig avoids this temptation by releasing his material on his own label Heart Earth Music. If the material present on Evocation is any reflection of this artist's catalog then one can only wonder why he has not received greater exposure and attention.
Craig credits much of his influence to Leonard Bernstein as well as his classical training. Playing since the age of 6, Urquhart does not state the obvious musically. In fact, he almost intentionally evades the commercial trappings and brings to mind a young David Lanz prior to his metamorphosis into marketability. Much like Lanz's early catalog, Evocation demands some attentive ears to peel away the lamentations and find the melody. But this will make the music so much more enduring and durable.
This is not always the case as reflected in the cheerful "Fruhling" which in German means springtime. The song gives a feeling of new beginnings and hope of warm sunny to days to come. This feeling of renewal continues by way of the smooth "Strolling." It is reflected by its perfect pace of being neither too slow nor too fast. Much could be said about "Wind Dance," which flows smoothly and brings to mind seagulls floating effortless as they glide in a gentle but firm wind.
Craig's classical roots are most prominent on the dramatic and grand "Nocturne" that will sweep you quietly off your feet. Equally as ambitious is the lengthy "Poem" that clocks in at 7:16. In contrast, other compositions, such as the title track "The Whale's Lament," and "Blues," will demand a few hearings before concluding their effects.
Craig Urquhart does not aim at the more obvious chord arrangements. Many of the songs have understated melodies that will be uncovered after a few visits to your player. Nevertheless, his aim still shoots at the heart resulting in an inspiring listening experience that will touch your soul and water your eyes.
February 2, 2000