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Album Review: Seven Valleys
Greg Maroney
Cover image of the album Seven Valleys by Greg Maroney
Seven Valleys
Greg Maroney
2007 / Hen House Records
61 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Seven Valleys is Greg Maroney’s sixth album of original piano solos, and to my ears, his best work to date. This is no small praise, as all of Maroney’s CDs have been great and several of his previous releases were on my Top 10 lists for the years they were released. Seven Valleys is so good that I recommended that Maroney submit it for consideration for a Grammy Award. With all of the CDs I listen to in the course of a year, that should give you an idea of just how good this CD is. As with his previous albums, Maroney’s music was inspired by his rural surroundings in south central Pennsylvania, his closeness to the earth and nature, his pets, life’s amazing moments (good, bad, dark, happy), and the people who inhabit his world. Intensely personal yet universally understandable, Maroney paints a vivid portrait of his life, revealing a deeply spiritual yet very human soul. Few artists have the technique AND the heart to create such colorful and richly emotional music. If you are not yet familiar with Greg Maroney’s music, this CD is a must. Fans of any of his previous releases will love this one, too. A more natural touch or sincere musical message you are not likely to find anytime soon.

Seven Valleys begins with the elegantly flowing “Becoming One.” Full of passion and grace, the piece sets the stage beautifully. Some of my favorites of Maroney’s pieces have to do with “big” weather events, and “Cloudburst” fits that category (both categories, actually - big weather and favorites!). The first couple of minutes of the piece suggest the building momentum of a coming storm - a calm but edgy beginning with electricity in the air; intensity builds gradually as winds start to swirl and dance; then the sky opens, releasing a downpour that is both energetic and refreshing - I can’t wait for Greg to do the sheet music for this one! The title track is much more contented and sunny, but has an infectious energy - this is a happy place! “Haiku” conveys a sense of gentle simplicity and peacefulness. “Addie” is about one of Maroney’s rescue dogs who smiles, and the piece exudes feelings of trust and joy in the small but significant things in life. “Dark” was composed during a period when Maroney was losing his sight in one eye. For a musician, this sort of thing would be extremely difficult, but for a trauma nurse (Maroney’s “day” job), it is absolutely devastating. Fortunately, the condition was diagnosed and treated, restoring Maroney’s sight. This piece is wrenching in its deep, tumultuous emotion - an incredible piece. “Evening Song” immediately brings us back to beauty and calm. “Before You” is a graceful and passionate love song that speaks volumes without uttering a word. “Daybreak” effectively captures the spirit and promise of a new day. “Rose” is another breathtaking beauty, emotionally rich and elegant.

Seven Valleys is an amazing CD that will draw you in from the first notes and hold you there until the final chords. Don’t just put this one in the background - savor the many moods and emotions that Greg Maroney has so effectively captured and conveyed in his music. I give Seven Valleys my highest recommendation. It is available from gregmaroney.com, amazon.com, and cdbaby.com. Wow!
August 30, 2007
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Kathy's Favorites: 2007
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