A Place In My Heart
2005 / Artemis Nashville
Review by Kathy Parsons
A Place In My Heart is pianist/composer Jim Wilson’s fifth album, and successfully straddles the line between pop and new age/adult contemporary music. The CD contains nine original instrumental pieces with mostly live musicians (as opposed to synth accompaniment) and two vocals (one solo and one duet). A tribute to the people and places in his life, Wilson’s music is gently uplifting with just enough of an edge to keep it consistently interesting.
“Morning on Cannery Row” is a warm and inviting opening track. Accompanied by strings, percussion, guitar, and trumpet, Wilson’s piano is part of the ensemble rather than the “star.” The title track brings the piano a little closer to the forefront, but it is very much an ensemble piece, this time adding Irish flutes and whistles. It reminds me in places of Suzanne Ciani’s work with The Wave. “Sanctuary” is one of my favorites. Featuring piano, Celtic flutes and pipes, guitar, and mandolin, the simple, evocative melody could have been inspired by a folk song. “Eagle’s Flight” is exceptional. Its deep passion made me think it must have been borne of tragedy. Chris Botti’s trumpet enhances the dark, mournful mood, as does Sharon Rizzo’s cello - what a great piece! “Hunter’s Moon” could be very effective in a soundtrack. The flutes give the haunting melody a Native American flavor, and the easy, flowing melody is very visual. Wilson’s vocal solo is a touching ballad called “Foolish Me,” which conveys such deep emotion that it rings sadly and personally true. Accompanied by The Prague Orchestra, this song has the potential to be a radio hit. The other vocal is a duet with Wilson and Marilyn Martin, who sang with Phil Collins on “Separate Lives” quite a few years back. A sweet love song, it could also become a pop hit or a popular wedding song. “Luna De La Jolla” has a strong, lyrical melody, but I’m glad they kept it a beautiful instrumental piece that evokes visions of a slow dance in the moonlight. The closing track is a short reprise of “Sanctuary,” a gentle parting melody.
Warm and reassuring, A Place In My Heart provides a lovely backdrop for a romantic dinner or for unwinding, but also holds up very well to full listening attention. Very nicely done!
August 10, 2005
Review by Michael Debbage