Trees of Life
2014 / Mark Freshwater
Review by Kathy Parsons
Trees of Life is the third solo CD from keyboardist/pianist/composer Mark Freshwater. The twelve songs on the album were inspired by family members and friends, making this music a very special and personal expression of love and appreciation. The music is mostly piano-based with keyboard orchestrations and embellishments and occasional nature sounds. A few of the pieces are light and playful, but most are reflective and meditative. Mark Freshwater has had an eclectic life in music with strong influences from classical, choral, folk, Christian, rock, new age, and smooth jazz genres. He started playing the piano at the age of five and has been at it ever since, although he took a 38-year break from composing until a couple of years ago. Hopefully, now that he has some momentum going, he’ll continue to compose and record!
Trees of Life begins with “Winter Reflections,” one of my favorites on the album. Chilly atmospheric sounds blend with haunting ambient music to create a feeling of icy calm. “Rhapsody,” composed by Dan Siegel, lightens the mood considerably with a gentle but catchy rhythm and easy sway. “Debbie’s Waltz” is Freshwater’s first composition in 3/4 time and is dedicated to his wife. With a tender and delicate keyboard touch, the piece moves gracefully like the dancer who inspired it. “Native Meditations” is another favorite. Peaceful yet poignant, piano narrates the story as flutes, strings, and other instruments add colors and intensity to the mix. As its title suggests, “Solace” was designed to be a comforting piece to commemorate the loss of family members. Quietly reflective, it gives the listener room to be with his or her thoughts and emotions at one of life’s most difficult times. “Blood Brothers” is rather dark yet very evocative, composed with a spiritual connectedness in mind - I really like this one, too. “Etude No. 1 in C Minor” is very classical yet very in the now, smoldering with a quiet intensity. “Snoqualmie Suite” is the most upbeat and joyful track on the album, ending it with a smile and warm sense of satisfaction.
With three new albums to his credit in the span of less than two years, Mark Freshwater is producing an impressive body of new music. Trees of Life is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very nicely done!
July 21, 2014