went through an interesting evolution from its original concept as a lullaby CD to a children’s album to a recording for families to enjoy together to the final product, a gorgeous collection of original pieces, traditional children’s songs, and a couple of cover tunes, lovingly arranged and soothingly played to calm and uplift a spirit of any age. George Skaroulis has been one of my favorite artists since I discovered his music a few years ago. His sensitive piano touch and gentle spirit come through his music so beautifully that it is no wonder that his music is used extensively by massage therapists and in spas. Seeking to reach a new audience with his arrangements of children’s songs, this is very definitely not exclusively a children’s album. Skaroulis’ arrangements of songs like “Eency Weency Spider” and “Row Row Row Your Boat” are so elegant that I did an aural double-take the first couple of times I heard them. About half of the twenty tracks are original compositions, and two are remakes from Skaroulis’ previous release, “Generations” (2000). The album has a sweet, seamless quality that creates a cozy, peaceful mood, kind of like a favorite “blankie.” The album also contains three beautiful vocal selections. Vocals on a mostly instrumental album can be annoying and out of place, but these songs fit perfectly and really need to be included.
opens with the Cyndi Lauper hit “True Colors.” The first part of the song is an instrumental prelude that sets the tone of the album - flowing, peaceful, and full of love. The second part features vocals by Kevin Lawson, who has one of those rough-around-the-edges voices that conveys so much emotion - it made me cry! “Song For Lylah” was composed for the little girl in the cover photos, and is a sweet piano solo. The second vocal is “Pure Imagination” from “Willie Wonka,” and features the voice of Felicia Sorensen, who creates a feeling of magic and mystery. “The Circus Leaves Town” and “Chasing the Waves” are classic Skaroulis vignettes - perfect in their brevity. “You Are My Sunshine” was a Skaroulis Family favorite when George was growing up, and this tender arrangement is one of the highlights of the album. “My New Friend” and “Parents” are remakes from the earlier “Generations” CD. “Parents” is an incredible piano and cello duet that could melt the most jaded of hearts. The title track has a gentle, tranquil feeling that flows effortlessly, and the sound of children’s laughter in the background adds sparkle. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Frere Jacque” are two more of the children’s songs that are beautifully and elegantly arranged for a more adult taste. The CD closes with another vocal by Felicia Sorensen, this time Billy Joel’s “Lullaby (Good Night My Angel),” a deeply touching song that ends the collection on just the right note.
George Skaroulis puts so much of himself into his projects that I don’t know how anyone could not be moved by the openness or the depth of emotion in his music. Forever Young
is an incredibly beautiful album, and I really hope it does bring a new audience to Skaroulis’ music. It will be available from evzonemusic.com
, cdbaby.com, and amazon.com. Very highly recommended!