Toward a Gentle Place
2017 / Eversound
Review by Michael Debbage
For three consecutive years John Adorney has managed to create and release an album which is quite a clip for any artist. While the prior release A World Awakens slightly tested the theory of too much of a good thing in too short a period of time, but quite the contrary with Toward a Gentle Place. Frankly this is John Adorney at his most reflective best with the music starting at a moderate mid tempo pace only to steadily, slowly slip you into a place of sanctuary. To say this album lives out its title is an understatement.
For those of you looking for Adorney’s typical lively and upbeat embellishments and arrangements need to prepare for something very different but in a good way. The album opens with the mid tempo “Appreciation” which is about as close to a typical Adorney song that you will get. Otherwise this album features no vocal work as well as very little collaborating with other artists. In fact, there are only 3 tracks featuring other artists which include Richard Hardy on flute and penny whistle and Shinn Jamison on oboe. Hardy’s penny whistle performance with Adorney’s sublime guitar work on “The Sky Untied Her Hair” is a simple beauty. It is matched by the slow gentle rhythmic “Candle On The Sill” where Shinn Jamison’s oboe work is prominent.
The remaining eight of the eleven tracks is all about Adorney and his compositions, arrangements and performances which include his multi instrumental talents of keyboards, guitar, cello, viola, dulciborn and the autoharp. To say this artist is talented and diverse is a slight understatement. His concise guitar work is once again featured on “Precious And Fair” while the album closes out with the subdued almost ambient “Warm Embrace.
Based on the iso-principle practice used in music therapy where the music can gradually amend the state of your being Toward a Gentle Place lives out loud (pun intended). As a result the mid tempo opener that gradually concludes with the restful “Warm Embrace” vibrates the iso-principle in its musical mood mover and purposeful sequencing. In fact Toward a Gentle Place lives this out also in the picturesque album and song titles making this possibly one of Adorney’s most purposeful and creative albums to date.
December 30, 2017