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Album Review: Epiphany
Cover image of the album Epiphany by JanElaine
2008 / Eagle's Song Productions
50 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Epiphany is the second release from pianist/composer JanElaine, following her 2005 debut, “Threads In the Tapestry.” The eleven original tracks are a celebration of life, nature, and the human spirit. Backed by acoustic and electronic instruments, the music is sometimes buoyant and effervescent and sometimes more calm and reflective. The well-written and philosophical liner notes explain the origins of all of the songs, adding insight into the artist’s perspective and life experience. Sometimes compared to the late (and wonderful) Laurie Z., JanElaine has a similar approach to her music, wanting to share with, soothe, and uplift her listeners, giving freely from the depths of her soul. Another similarity to Laurie Z. would be JanElaine’s dynamic yet poetic sound - there’s no fluff or filler here!

Epiphany begins with “Sunny Daze,” a piece about the sun breaking through morning clouds and haze, making the air sparkle. Joyful and contented, it’s a great way to start. “Suddenly” is about how life-changing events can often occur in a matter of seconds, offering hope and reassurance that things will turn around even when we are at our lowest. “Breezes of Gratitude” is a favorite. Piano, guitar, and light percussion create a mood of gentle grace and serenity. “You Can’t Hold What’s Already Gone” goes a few shades darker and more introspective, reminding us that if we don’t let go of what needs to be in the past, we often miss the good things happening in the present. Passionate, often yearning, and deeply personal, this is also a favorite. “The Secret Lives of Butterflies” is a fascinating concept piece. JanElaine says in the liner notes that she has a theory about butterflies that they are not the quiet, graceful creatures we think they are - that when we turn our backs, they have a party going on with dances and conga lines! One theme of the piece is gentle and graceful - the butterflies we see - but then the tempo picks up and the percussion and flutes go wild in a kind of musical “Whoo-hoo!” The two themes alternate with the butterflies daring us to catch them being crazy. “Live Like a River” is a beautiful musical illustration of the idea of living “like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” Constantly moving, a river is unaffected by sudden twists and turns and the many obstacles in its path - a powerful lesson we should all heed.

Epiphany is a beautiful CD that conveys many powerful life lessons, emotions, and experiences we can all relate to. It is available from CDBaby.com. Recommended!
July 5, 2008