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Album Review: Arrival
Devin Rice & Erin Aas
Cover image of the album Arrival by Devin Rice & Erin Aas
Devin Rice & Erin Aas
2010 / The Visiting Professors
51 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Arrival is the very impressive debut of Devin Rice and Erin Aas as a duo. Both artists have had long careers in music, but they met in WA in 2006 and started playing together to see what their vastly different musical backgrounds would yield. The results eventually landed them in Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios working with the award-winning Ackerman as producer and the legendary Corin Nelsen as engineer. With that team onboard, it’s needless to say that the production quality is stellar. Six of the fifteen tracks are acoustic guitar and piano duets; the others feature both artists on acoustic guitar with occasional accompaniment by artists from the Imaginary Road roster. The music itself is gentle and thoughtful, yet it doesn’t become repetitive. It’s great music for relaxing or even for a long drive. This style of music always reminds me of the beauty of the simple things in life.

Arrival begins with “Thyn Ayre,” a soulful guitar duet that has Devin Rice doubling on bass. A bit melancholy, the piece has a sense of moving forward but with perhaps a twinge of regret. I really like this one a lot! “Procession” is another favorite. Devin plays piano and guitar while Erin plays guitar and shaker; Derrick Jordan accents the rhythms on djembe. It’s a beautiful combination! “Tribute to Robert Frost” puts Devin’s piano in the foreground with Erin accompanying on guitar - a slow, easy-going ballad. “Nevada” is another favorite. It’s a guitar duet with a variety of light percussion instruments propelling it. “Something About a Harbor” is a soothing trio for piano, guitar, and cello (Eugene Friesen). The gently flowing tempo and graceful melody create a tranquil mood. “Morning With Annie” reunites the trio plus Devin on bass. Tender and very contented, the piece exudes warmth and peace. “Waterfall” is my favorite track. A piano/guitar duet with additional bass and shaker, it’s a bit darker than some of the other tracks, but still very peaceful. “Whiskey in the Watertower” really cuts loose and has fun. Devin and Erin are on guitar with light percussion, and Will Ackerman joins in for a guitar solo of his own. The closing track is the sweet and loving “Lullaby for Now.” Devin is on bass, Erin on guitar, and Eugene Friesen returns on cello. Sigh....

Arrival should please anyone who loves acoustic guitar music with piano, cello, and other acoustic instruments keeping it simple and from the heart. It is available from devinriceanderinaas.com, Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. Recommended!
June 28, 2010
This review has been tagged as:
Debut Albums
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