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Album Review: NOVA: An Acoustic Journey
Juliet Lyons and John McLean Allan
Cover image of the album NOVA: An Acoustic Journey by Juliet Lyons and John McLean Allan
NOVA: An Acoustic Journey
Juliet Lyons and John McLean Allan
2021 / Mystic Voyager Music
25 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
NOVA: An Acoustic Journey is a six-track collaborative project by Juliet Lyons and John McLean Allan. Lyons is known primarily as an award-winning vocalist - especially for television and films in addition to several albums - and Allan is best-known as a Scottish bagpiper whose music has also been heard in films and on television. The six instrumentals were co-composed and performed by both artists and mastered by Tom Eaton. A few of the tracks include vocalizations (no lyrics), but Juliet performs mostly on piano, synths, percussion, and flute; Allan plays acoustic guitars on all of the pieces. Warm, gentle and soothing, this is a perfect album for relaxation, studying, quiet background music and a sweet escape from the stress and worries of the present time (or any time, really!).

NOVA: An Acoustic Journey begins with the easy grace of "Luminous Radiance." John's acoustic guitar stays in the lead throughout this beautiful piece, with Juliet's atmospheric synth, accompanying piano and light percussion adding musical magic. Warm and dreamy, it's a great start! "Chaco" begins with an ambient synth and piano intro, adding flute, guitar and vocals as the piece evolves. Darker and just a bit mysterious, this piece has a very visual quality that has me seeing images of peaceful open spaces and imagining gazing up at a dark sky on a clear night - a favorite! "Stones and Circles" is tranquility set to music. Guitars, synth washes and light hand percussion mix to create a gentle massage for the mind. "Northern Lights" paints a luminous picture of one of the wonders of nature. Shimmering synths and serene guitar are more ambient than melodic and are, oh, so soothing! "Vedana" features Juliet's lovely voice and piano along with Allan's guitar. The instruments take turns expressing the melody and are graced with backing synth washes and gentle percussion. Light, joyful and carefree, it's another favorite. "Emergence" brings the album to a peaceful, quiet close with piano and guitar in the lead and synth and flute adding pastel colors as well as soothing ambience.

Juliet Lyons and John McLean Allan have formed a duo that provides a peaceful respite and a welcome ray of musical sunshine and I hope they will continue to create music together! NOVA: An Acoustic Journey is available from Amazon, Apple Music/ iTunes, Spotify and other streaming sites.
October 25, 2021
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