The Broken Miracle
2021 / Anthem Records
Review by Michael Debbage
Two years ago Paul Cardall released the totally undressed Peaceful Piano to mark the tenth anniversary of Paul Cardall’s life changing heart transplant that was a very risky and elaborative life-saving surgery. His latest release continues to thematically focus on his realization that every single day of his life should be cherished and never taken for granted. Musically, Cardall continues to wander and returns with more embellishments including several vocal renditions. So if you enjoyed his titles New Life and Songs Of Praise you will find both styles and themes merged here on The Broken Miracle, resulting in yet another top shelf recording from Paul Cardall.
For those of you that prefer the more instrumental side of Paul Cardall, be warned that of the nineteen tracks you get to feast on, nine of them are vocal renditions. However, be bold and adventure out as Cardall’s choice of vocal performances and the sequencing of the album makes for an astonishing listening experience. Two of the vocal performances feature country band Thompson Square, who are also the first vocal appearance on the appropriately titled track three “The Man With Half A Heart”. The song is very personal consider the physical challenges Paul Cardall has faced over the years, yet equally a love song that anyone can relate to. Yet Cardall and Thompson Square even outdo themselves later in the album with the sublime “All I See Is Snow”. What a great merger of Cardall’s simplistic steady piano work as the back drop to gorgeous harmonies, strings and a crescendo of a song only to wind you down and bring you back to its reflective opening moments. Equally moving is the more commercially driven David Archuleta on the passionate “My Heart Beats For You”, enough so that this song truly deserves some radio time.
Without going through a track by track listing of the other vocal appearances, Cardall continues to present his listeners with beautiful wordless music. In fact, he opens the album with the magical spacious song “A Blue Baby” which then mergers right into the inspiring soft rhythmic “Moth & Butterflies”. Similar themes can be found on the reflective “Family” among other tracks. But if you are looking for a more joyful, less reflective instrumental music then maybe the acoustic guitar supported “Finding My Way” might be one of your preferred choices. Though the consistent pulse of Paul’s piano on “Tina’s Theme” may be your favorites as is the subject matter to the artist.
Whether pianist Cardall is collaborating with vocalists or just going it alone with his wonderful instrumental themes, the results are equally moving and magical. In the eyes of Paul Cardall, every day he gets to breathe in air to his lungs as a result of new heart is truly a great day. For us as listeners, we get to hear almost a memoir of his joy and frankly with or without a risky open heart surgery, this is probably something that all of us should do especially during these challenging times of COVID-19. So breathe in the musical beatitude of the beautiful sounds of The Broken Miracle. If not for the joy of reflecting on the blessings of each day in our own lives, at least let us be grateful for the presence of a wonderful artist who could have departed many years ago and yet continues to release breathtaking releases time and time again.
If listening to this musician does not suffice, pick up his book of the same title written by J.D. Netto with contributions from the artist himself.
February 6, 2021