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Album Review: Leaning Toward Home
Holland Phillips
Cover image of the album Leaning Toward Home by Holland Phillips
Leaning Toward Home
Holland Phillips
2018 / Ageless Records
46 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Leaning Toward Home is the seventh album from composer/ pianist/ keyboardist/ multi-instrumentalist Holland Phillips and is a collection of eleven instrumental pieces that do not easily fit into any one specific genre (except “instrumental”!). The son of a music teacher and a fan of Big Band music, Phillips has been playing piano and guitar from a very young age and earned a degree in Music Composition. He has also done a lot of study in Music Therapy and the harmonics that interact with the brain in positive ways. There has a been a movement in recent years to record music at 432 hertz rather than the more conventional 440 hertz with the belief that 432 hertz is a more natural wavelength that the human body understands and reacts to more positively. (Peter Kater is one such artist and has had his piano tuned to 432 hertz.) Not all of the pieces on the album are tuned to 432 hertz, and Phillips says in the liner notes,”I only used it when the instruments and the harmonics of the song requested it.” Holland Phillips composed all of the music and plays all of the instruments (a combination of “real” and keyboard instrumentation).

Leaning Toward Home begins with “Prelude To a Dance,” a dreamy little piece for piano and (synth) strings. Graceful and bittersweet, it’s a very nice opening! “Before the Epilogue” is darker and more fully orchestrated (in addition to piano and guitar). “Roadside Brew” adds a gently-swaying rhythm to electric guitar and organ (and other instruments) and could easily be a romantic slow dance - a favorite. “Time Travels” has a nice easy groove and an intriguing air of quiet mystery. “A Sip of Potion” would be great behind the closing credits of a movie or in a soundtrack. For me, it evokes a variety of images and ideas of what inspired the music - also a favorite. I really like the energy of “Moving Forward,” a mostly digital piano piece with a catchy beat and a bell-like counter melody. The middle becomes more orchestrated, but the gentle rhythmic propulsion carries throughout the piece. The title track features flute in the lead in addition to piano, keyboard and a steady beat - another favorite. “Surprising Turns” is a little different in that it has some spoken word passages that tell a story about a journey on foot. I couldn’t really understand all of the words over the instrumentation, though. “Along the Way” is another beautiful slow dance-like piece that I interpret as a gentle reminder to slow down a bit and enjoy the smaller details of everyday life as much as accomplishing goals (a reminder I certainly need to heed sometimes!).

Leaning Toward Home is intended to help listeners relax and feel good and does quite a good job of it. It is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Check it out!
September 29, 2018
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