Space and Time
is the fourth album from guitarist Keith Gehle, and what a beauty it is! Mastered by Tom Eaton for the Imaginary Road Studio, the eleven original pieces are performed on acoustic guitar with a mix of piano, cello, flute, oboe, strings, and synth pads - all played by Gehle. The music was written and recorded over a period of years as a tribute to Keith’s brother, Ken, after his unexpected death in early 2010. The process of composing the music was a journey that helped to heal the loss of someone so close and resulted in what is being called Gehle’s best work to date (I haven’t heard his earlier albums). Most of the pieces are more reflective than sad, so this is not a “downer” album. For me, the music is hopeful, heartfelt, and very sincere in addition to being exceptionally beautiful. Although Gehle considers himself to be a classical guitarist, he is well-versed in a wide variety of musical genres. With a Bachelor of Music degree in guitar performance from the University of Georgia, he began his performing career in the late 1980’s. Gehle has made many appearances on television and radio, directs the undergraduate guitar studies program for Cocoa Falls College in northeast Georgia, performs regularly, and teaches privately. As a reviewer, I never know what will arrive in the mailbox, but when it’s a treasure like this album, reviewing is an absolute pleasure!
Space and Time
begins with “Waiting For the Sun,” a gentle piece that is both reflective and pensive. While it is a very uncomplicated piece, the emotions expressed are deep and honest. From the fade-in at the beginning, “Lavender Sky” is much lighter and has the feeling of a folk song. Flutes carry most of the melody while the guitar gives it energy. “November Memories” returns to a more reflective mood with flute and strings adding soft tonal colors. The album includes two tone poems, and “Tone Poem No. 6” is subtitled “Space and Time
.” It begins as a light flute-like drone with a simple piano melody over it. Guitar enters with a counterpoint to the piano, giving it a somewhat Baroque structure. Piano and strings provide an introduction to “Walking” at a nice, leisurely pace. When the guitar joins in, the tempo stays relaxed and easy as the various instruments weave their different themes into a lovely ensemble piece. “My Setting Sun” is a quiet beauty that is both dreamy and hopeful. “Coopers Creek” includes the sound of a sparkling creek behind the gentle guitar through some of the piece. A few other instruments add subtle nuances, but this is mostly a peaceful guitar solo. “Tone Poem No. 2” is subtitled “Stars of the Desert Sky” and is an ensemble piece for guitar, flute, piano, and strings. Gently flowing with percussive flashes of starry light against a black sky, it’s a soothing close to a great album.
Space and Time
is one of the best guitar albums I’ve heard this year! It is available from www.KeithGehle.com
, Amazon and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!