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Album Review: The Light Within
Greg Maroney
Cover image of the album The Light Within by Greg Maroney
The Light Within
Greg Maroney
2016 / Greg Maroney
73 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Greg Maroney has always been a very prolific composer, but since he retired from being a trauma nurse, the music just keeps flowing, taking him in several new directions. The Light Within is his third release in 2016 - a very rare occurrence for sure! All of Maroney’s previous recordings (this is his sixteenth solo album!) have been solo piano, but this one is an hour and thirteen minutes of ambient heaven. Using his digital keyboard to create blends of piano, strings, and voices, his goal was to “create music that is emotionally engaging yet soothing. I hope that in following me on this path, you too find many hours of calm, quiet and peace.” (quoted from the CD liner notes) Like his solo piano albums, this one has very rich, full sound. Most of the ten tracks are what I would call ambient, but a few have very distinct melodies. Many ambient albums have a floating, “spacey” quality, and I don’t find that with this one. Although most of the music is very spare, it feels more “grounded” to me than many albums in this category. Not all of the pieces include the piano, but those that do are the ones that are more melodic. There is enough substance to the music that listening to it with full attention doesn’t become boring. It can easily stay in the background, but it’s also very nice to really listen to what is happening in the music. I listened to it on a 50-mile drive this morning and it was wonderful traveling companion! The tracks range from 5 to just over 10 minutes, with most of them in the 7-8 minute range.

It would be difficult to say much for each specific piece, but I’ll mention a few favorites. The album begins with “Reverie,” a piece that captures the feeling of a pleasant dream or of floating on a cloud. Strings and ethereal voices calm and enchant - a lovely start! I love “Time Without End” and hope Maroney will consider doing sheet music for this one! Mostly a (digital) piano piece, it has a hypnotic rolling left hand and a gorgeous melody that is poignant and heartfelt. Maroney has written many beautiful pieces, and I think this is one of his most stirring. There are string washes later in the piece, but the piano sound is always in the forefront. Don’t miss this one! “Waking Dream” is ten minutes of blissful calm. Mostly strings with occasional voices, there is some piano in the last few minutes, playing quiet chords and a gently free-flowing melody. “Walking With the Moon” is very light and innocent - almost a lullaby. The piano is again in the lead, played mostly in the higher end of the piano, creating feelings of playfulness and contentment. If you have any stress left after listening to “Be At Peace” and “Walking Toward the Light,” you are in serious need of a good massage! “Letting Go” has a simple piano melody with wordless vocals and strings - uncomplicated and very soothing. Most of the other pieces are more difficult to describe in words, but they are all gently uplifting and very peaceful.

Greg Maroney has been one of my favorite composers for a long time, and even though The Light Within is quite different from his other albums, it is a very special treat for the ears and the soul! CDs and downloads are available from www.GregMaroney.com, and downloads are available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
December 30, 2016
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