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Album Review: Soul Mates
Danny Wright
Cover image of the album Soul Mates by Danny Wright
Soul Mates
Danny Wright
2001 / Real Music
41 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Danny Wright’s first album for Real Music has been a very happy surprise for me. I’ve been familiar with Wright’s many collections of pop and show tunes, but I believe this is his first album of mostly original material. With cover arrangements of hit songs, it is often difficult for me to find the soul and real emotional content hiding under all the frills, trills, and arpeggios, so, until now, Wright hasn’t been one of my favorite artists. That has suddenly changed, as the emotional power of the piano sings through this entire album. Eight of the eleven pieces are original, bringing a much warmer and more personal feel to this album than earlier releases. This could be the start of something great!

Inspiration for the music came from varied sources ranging from the Texas Tornado of 2000 to Barbra Streisand to the deaths of JFK, Jr. and Caroline and Lauren Bisset to the birth of a first grandson (a commissioned work). The opening track, “Angel Voices” was composed for “The Tornado Relief Fund”, and is both melancholy and hopeful - the violins tug at the heartstrings. “Soul Mates” is dedicated to Barbra Streisand as a source of inspiration for all aspects of Wright’s career. Delicate, yet very strong, this piece is a loving tribute that should touch anyone’s heart. “The Water Is Wide” is a traditional spiritual that seems to be enjoying new-found popularity, and Wright’s treatment is among the best with a lovely violin counterpart. “Keys to the Heart”, Tender Moments”, and “Everlasting Love” are heartfelt love songs, pure and simple. Composed in a minor key, “Loving You” is darker and bittersweet with kind of a classical Russian feel. “Everything Must Change” is a great arrangement that would have been even better as a solo piece - the synth strings are unnecessary with the emotional wallop of Wright’s piano here. “Grayson’s Lullaby” is a sweet introduction for a new life coming into the world - gentle and upbeat. “The Prayer” is also a lovely arrangement of this popular tune. “Together Forever” is in memory of the Kennedy/Bisset plane crash and the sudden sense of loss we all felt when we heard the news of this tragic event. Sad without being maudlin or melodramatic, the addition of ocean sounds at the beginning and end of the piece define it as being their song “forever”.

Danny Wright should find a whole new audience with this excellent album. His original pieces stand tall and strong among the well-known cover compositions, and I hope he and Real Music will continue to release his own work. Bravo and both thumbs up!
June 2, 2001
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Kathy's Favorites: 2001
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