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Album Review: Heavy as a Feather
Kathryn Kaye
Cover image of the album Heavy as a Feather by Kathryn Kaye
Heavy as a Feather
Kathryn Kaye
2011 / Overland Mountain Music
46 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Heavy as a Feather is the second release by pianist/composer Kathryn Kaye, quickly following her very impressive debut, Dreaming Still. Produced by Will Ackerman at Imaginary Road Studios, recorded by Tom Eaton, and mastered by Corin Nelsen, the eleven original tracks include four piano solos and seven ensemble pieces from duets to larger groups. The music reflects a variety of influences that includes folksongs and hymns from childhood, ten years of classical music training, an international performing career, and the beauty of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado where Kaye makes her home. Supporting musicians include Ackerman (guitar), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Eugene Friesen (cello), Jill Haley (English horn), Tony Levin (bass), Michael Manring (fretless bass), and Ramesh (percussion). The piano is always front and center, but Kaye graciously gives the other musicians plenty of room to shine. The uncluttered melodies are played with such heartfelt expression that each becomes a distinctive gem as well as part of a flowing, cohesive whole.

Heavy as a Feather begins with the lovely “Mountain Laurel,” a piano solo bathed in spring breezes and dappled sunshine. “Meadow Morning” is a quintet for cello, English horn, piano, percussion,and bass. Peaceful contentment flows from each note, painting a picture in beautiful greens and pastel tones. “An Empty Street in Prague” is worth the price of the CD all by itself. It begins as a mournful piano solo - simple yet deeply emotional. When Charlie Bisharat enters with his violin a little past the halfway point, the music becomes tragic and heart-breaking. I really love this track! “So Much Sky” is a gorgeous piano solo - spare, graceful, and evocative. “Summer Afternoon” begins as a languid piano solo, but when Haley adds the voice of the English horn, it really becomes relaxed and downright lazy - delicious! “How Deep, How Simple” brings back Ackerman, Bisharat, Eaton, and Friesen for an easy-going tribute to the profound beauty of simplicity. “Dusk at Rockhouse Creek” is a quiet piano solo that tells of the stillness of the coming night as the day recedes from the sky. Very open and spacious, you can almost see stars starting to twinkle as the sky darkens. The title track is a duet for cello and piano with gentle strains that seem to float on the air - hence the title, I’m sure. It’s amazing how much an artist can convey with so few notes. “One Last Quiet Breath,” a solemn but very relaxed piano solo, ends the album with a peaceful kind of grace that will have you coming back for more!

Heavy as a Feather proves beyond a doubt that Kathryn Kaye will not be joining the long list of one-hit wonders! This is a great album, and it is available from kathrynkaye-music.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
December 30, 2011