2021 / Michele McLaughlin Music™
Review by Kathy Parsons
Home is the twenty-first album (not counting singles) from Michele McLaughlin, one of a handful of new age super-stars. With more than 1.5 billion streams on Pandora, Michele has been featured in both the print and online editions of Rolling Stone Magazine and has had three of her albums reach the Top 10 on the Billboard New Age Charts. I have reviewed most of Michele's albums and proof-read all of her sheet music, and I think a big part of what makes her so popular is her openness and honesty. Music journalist Bill Binkelman referred to her as a "heart on her sleeve composer" and Michele herself says: "...my music is my story... it is my diary, my journal, my biography… a glimpse into my soul." Most of Michele's music is not overly complicated or showy, but it doesn't have to dazzle to tell a heartfelt story about life that most listeners can relate to.
Home tells the story of finding true love and then finding the perfect home to live happily ever after in. Many of the twelve tracks are lively and upbeat, expressing joy and love, and this is Michele's most buoyant album to date. I should also mention that the cover artwork by Matt Strieby of New Left Design is as warm and beautiful as the music itself.
Home begins with "A New Dream," a gentle, optimistic piece about making new plans and setting new goals after finding their dream home. Michele's words describe the title track perfectly: "Sitting at my piano, I have a beautiful view of gorgeous mature trees in our yard. As I wrote this song, I felt so peaceful and grounded as I looked out at the trees and an overwhelming gratitude for our space, our yard, and our home." "In Perfect Harmony" expresses the joy of being in sync while working with someone - especially on something as personal as renovating a new home. The lighthearted "Joyful Mornings" conveys the feeling of starting the day with someone you love and can just "be" with. Michele likes to name her homes and this one is called "Hidden Acre" because it is tucked away in a small neighborhood surrounded by mature trees and foliage. The piece with that title expresses warmth and contentment. "If These Walls Could Talk" has a very inviting energy that tells of parties and large gatherings that the previous owners had in the home and how Michele and Matt plan to continue filling the home with joy and wonderful memories for years to come. "Together Again" was inspired by joyful reunions after being apart for a while. Home truly is where the heart is! "Anticipation" describes feelings of uncertainty and of being in limbo until things eventually fell into place. The left hand is often the deep bass of the piano, giving it the feeling of darkness and unease. Michele describes the closing track, "This Beautiful Life," as "the ultimate celebration song about being in love, living a beautiful life together, in this wonderful space we call home." Lively and exuberant, the left hand has a rhythmic repeated pattern that lays the ground work for the right hand to dance all over the piano. If you can listen to this piece without smiling, something is seriously wrong!
Home is available from Michele's site, Amazon and Apple Music/iTunes as well as streaming sites like Spotify. The companion sheet music book (spiral-bound or download) is available from Michele's site. This is music sure to lift your mood and brighten your day, so don't miss it!
November 15, 2021