2016 / Wise Old Owl Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Awaken Me is the debut from singer/songwriter/music medicine woman Kimberly Haynes. Co-produced by David Vito Gregoli, the album features eleven original songs and guest appearances by a host of new age music luminaries. Subtitled Songs From the Heart of a Seeker, the album is a musical journey of discovery, healing, personal growth and devotion. It is also an invitation to discover a sacred space deep within the heart. Guest artists include Gregoli, Peter Kater, Ricky Kej, Tina Malia, Andy Mitran, Al Jewer and many others. Haynes’ voice is clear and beautifully expressive, perfectly suited to the variety of musical styles contained in the collection. Haynes explains: “My songs are my prayers. It is truly a privilege to carry those prayers into the world. It is my hope that they will be a blessing to all who hear them. So I raise my voice in song to awaken a place deep within myself and in others where we can collectively begin to remember our own sacred hearts, our sacred connection to Creation, and the sacredness in each other.”
Awaken Me begins with the title track, a song that “was born out of my yearning for clarity for the betterment of my own life and all those I touch. It is a universal need.” Both a chant and a prayer, the instrumentation on this piece is simple and serves to enhance the beauty of Haynes’ voice as well as the sincerity of her lyrics. “The Dream” is a deeply emotional and personal song about finding direction and faith - a favorite. “My Heart Knows the Way” is also a favorite. To quote Haynes: “It is about finding my own way, my own truth and personal freedom, and to live by that truth. It’s about recognizing that we are all free to do that because deep inside each of our hearts is the knowledge and the courage we need to meet every moment of our lives authentically.” A beautiful and heartfelt ballad, this song will touch anyone who listens to the words. “The Jewel” is an upbeat pop song with a message. “Do I Dare” appears in two versions. The first is a soulful song with an interesting mix of instrumental backing: medicine drum, ankle bells, didjeridu, tabla, charango, and udu among others. The lyrics search for the answer to whether or not to choose a path different from most and to find her own way - another beautifully poignant song. The second version is the “Earth Mix” and closes the album. There are vocals in this version, but it is more of an instrumental reprise. I also really like “You’re the One That I Want/ Govinda Jaya,” a love song from a woman who knows exactly who and what she wants and needs. A gentle but very rhythmic song, Gregoli is credited on this song for back vocals, bass, guitars, Rhodes, percussion, synths, and chair arm!
Kimberly Haynes is a remarkable new voice and her lyrics express so much. I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from her! Awaken Me is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
September 11, 2016