Dreaming of Daybreak
2023 / Janice Lacy Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Dreaming of Daybreak is the second full-length album from pianist/composer Janice Lacy. I reviewed her 2016 debut, Sanctuary For the Soul (as The Janice Lacy Project), and, like that album, the twelve tracks on this one are a beautiful combination of solo piano and piano with other instrumentation. Recorded at Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont, the album was produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton, with Michael Whalen of Artist Expansion executive producing (a dream team, to be sure!). Also featured on the album are Charlie Bisharat (violin), Eugene Friesen (cello), Jill Haley (English horn), and Tony Levin (bass) - also a dream team!
The music on Dreaming of Daybreak was inspired by the shoreline of Southern California and the small ocean town where Janice has lived for many years: "I am influenced by the natural beauty here and by life experiences." Very flowing and expressive, Dreaming of Daybreak is great for listening with full focus as well as for relaxation, studying, driving, and as a backdrop for any activity where beautiful piano music is welcome. Janice has dedicated the album to her husband, Jim, and their 35 years together.
Dreaming of Daybreak opens with "Abiding," a gentle piece about staying steady in life. Inspired by the breaking waves at the ocean, it's a wonderful way to begin! The title track is a piano and cello duet that expresses the hope of a new day. Warm, relaxed and very smooth, I really like this one, too! "As The Years Pass" was written for Janice's husband and is a graceful love song for piano and English horn. Reflective and overflowing with deep emotion, it's a heartfelt tribute to a long relationship. "Still Near" was composed for Janice's late father, who is still near to her heart. Charlie Bisharat and his violin take this piece heavenward. The beautifully poignant "Waiting for the Clouds to Break" was composed during the pandemic and reflects on the uncertainty of that difficult time. The piano is embellished with English horn, cello and bass. "Headlands Spring" is a warm and dreamy piano solo that brings images of breezes gently ruffling through the wildflowers emerging on the cliffs overlooking the ocean - a favorite. "Hungarian Waltz" is a little different from the other tracks and is also a favorite. A slow minor key waltz and a duet with Charlie Bisharat, the piece was inspired by the Hungarian music Janice heard around the house as she grew up (her mother is Hungarian). Both melancholy and poignantly expressive, I really like this one, too! "Nocturne" is a song of peace as night falls. Cello and bass add a beautifully dark contrast to the soulful piano melody - my favorite piece on the album! The album closes with a reprise of "Abiding," this time with piano and English horn - a great closing to a great album!
Dreaming of Daybreak is available as a CD or a download on Amazon, as well as on Apple Music/iTunes, and streaming sites such as Spotify. It's a treat for the ears, heart and soul!
February 22, 2023