Songs of Hope
2017 / David Wells
Review by Kathy Parsons
Songs of Hope is the debut solo piano release from David Wells. Consisting of ten original compositions that are intended to bring relief from stressful situations and to help revive the spirit, the music varies from very slow and graceful to upbeat and effervescent. Wells, a New Jersey native, started piano lessons at the age of eight and continued his musical studies through high school and college, earning a Master’s degree in Arranging and Composition from the University of Miami. He spent twenty-five years as the music director in churches in New Jersey, Florida, Washington and Illinois, playing the piano, leading singing, conducting choirs, and arranging music. Influences include George Winston, Jim Brickman, Dave Grusin, Dave Sanborn, and Dave Coz in addition to Wells’ many years of playing and arranging music for church services. The album was recorded on a 7’ Yamaha grand piano in Galesburg, IL, where Wells performs in church every Sunday as well as occasionally holding special concerts that feature his music.
Songs of Hope begins with “Selah,” a beautifully-flowing and very expressive piece with a soulful melody - a great start! “Summer’s End” seems a bit sad to see the carefree days of summertime gradually fading away - a favorite! “Falling Leaves” starts out with feelings of quiet reflection, gradually building to a passionate middle section and then returning to the opening theme. “Winter’s Chill” is another favorite, reminding me just a bit of some of David Lanz’s more energetic music. This one sounds like a lot of fun to play with fingers dancing all over the piano keyboard (any plans for sheet music?)! “Blessings” is a beautiful solo piano anthem that is bright, encouraging, and very hopeful. “Hands of Time” is a fascinating spin on the theme that is played in many clocks - especially old grandfather clocks. It begins calmly with a bittersweet beginning theme. The second theme starts with a fanfare and then becomes jubilant and energetic. The last theme is more reflective and poignant. What a great piece based on such a simple theme! “Hymn of Peace and Joy” is an exceptional three-part composition that begins with a fervent and heartfelt prayer for peace. The second part picks up the tempo for a spirited expression of deep joy. The closing section incorporates a bit of each theme and intertwines them. I love this one! “Traveling Light” brings the album to a close with a touch of wistful poignance - a lovely ending to an excellent album!
David Wells is off to a great start with Songs of Hope! It is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Recommended!
July 25, 2017