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Album Review: Memoirs
Michele McLaughlin
Cover image of the album Memoirs by Michele McLaughlin
Michele McLaughlin
2019 / Michele McLaughlin
45 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Memoirs is a collection of twelve solo piano singles that pianist/composer Michele McLaughlin released over a period of eighteen months and compiled for this album, her nineteenth. With this release, McLaughlin once again proves why she is one of the most popular and successful pianists recording and performing today. Memoirs is a celebration of life, love and the many things that make being human such a rich and varied experience. Each piece tells a different story that is explained in the liner notes and most songs have videos that go with them as well. Opening her heart at the piano has become a way of life for Michele, and the world is a better place for it. I have reviewed most of her albums over the years and have proofed and edited all of her sheet music, so it has been fascinating to see how her artistry, as well as her popularity, has grown and evolved over the years from making a cassette tape of her music for close friends and family to more than a billion spins on Pandora Radio. Very impressive!

Memoirs begins with “Thankful,” a piece about being grateful for the good things in life. Light and joyful, it’s a happy opener! “Pure Joy” reflects on finding love and sharing life with someone very special. The easy flow and steady rhythm are calm and reassuring. “Dark Moon” is one of my favorites and is about the magical quality of the moon when it is low on the horizon. Dark, hypnotic and somewhat mysterious, it’s a beauty! “Little Love” overflows with the sweetness and tenderness that come only with strong feelings for someone or something. “My Life With You” is a more mature kind of love song that expresses deep, heartfelt emotions as well as the inner peace that comes with finding true love. “Beneath the Surface” is a passionate and mysterious piece about snorkeling and exploring the worlds that exist underwater. If I had to choose just one favorite on this album, this would be it. “Winter” is very cool - literally! Slow, open and almost mournful, it expresses the feelings of loneliness and isolation that a long, harsh winter can magnify. I also really like the dark and haunting “Northern Lights” - especially the powerful and energetic second half. “Dismissed” tells the story of a lonely street performer who wanders from town to town looking for an audience who will love her. Very dramatic and intense, it begins as a minor-key waltz and builds to impassioned anger and frustration and then returns to the calmer waltz. The themes then alternate from sad to angry, ending the piece (and the album) with the waltz.

Memoirs does a great job of showcasing Michele McLaughlin’s musical storytelling and her varied composing styles. It debuted at #4 on the Billboard New Age Charts, so check it out and see what the excitement is all about! It is available from MicheleMcLaughlin.com, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. A companion sheet music book is also available.
June 18, 2019
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