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Album Review: Coming Home
Peter Jennison
Cover image of the album Coming Home by Peter Jennison
Coming Home
Peter Jennison
2014 / Peter Jennison Music
45 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Coming Home is the sequel to Peter Jennison’s 2010 debut, Longing For Home, and is the last installment in the series Songs From War. The nine tracks were composed and/or arranged by Jennison while he was deployed with the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2012 and were created to allow the listener to experience the serious impact of war through evocative music. It celebrates the homecomings of soldiers and their families and pays tribute to soldiers who come home wounded as well as those who make the ultimate sacrifice. In addition to giving listeners a poignant and vivid musical experience, much of the album was designed to provide soothing therapy to returning veterans and their families.

Peter Jennison began his musical career as a young boy by learning to play a lime green piano “rescued” by his parents from the dump in their small New Hampshire town. As he grew up, the piano became the friend who was always there and provided therapy by way of hours of expression and release. Jennison has been a soldier all of his adult life, most of it as an aviator, and spent almost three years deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The CD includes liner notes written by Jennison that explain his thoughts about each piece. The album was produced by Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton, and Jennison and was recorded at Ackerman’s Imaginary Roads Studios. A very impressive list of supporting musicians includes Charlie Bisharat on violin, Eugene Friesen on cello, Jill Haley on English horn, Ackerman on guitar, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Jeff Haynes on percussion, and vocals by Heather Rankin, Noah Wilding, and Rory Sullivan.

Coming Home begins with “Remember Me,” which was adapted from the poem “Sgt. Mackenzie” by Joseph Kilna. Heather Rankin provides heartbreaking vocals which also serve as a poignant reminder of the many women who have died at war. Piano, violin, cello, and percussion make this piece stirring and unforgettable. “Waiting” was composed so that the listener could experience the profound longing of a soldier’s family as they await his or her return; piano, English horn and violin go straight to the heart. “The Journey To You” begins as an elegant piano solo and evolves into a soulful duet with English horn. “Farewell My Friend” is a piano and cello duet that passionately expresses the loss of a friend in battle - an amazing piece! “The Moment” is also a favorite and depicts the joyous reunion of a soldier and family while paying homage to those who never return. Jennison, Haley and Friesen express these thoughts and emotions from the depths of their souls. “New Day” is about fresh starts and new beginnings. Hopeful and optimistic, it is also a celebration of the human spirit. The title track brings this excellent album to a close by expressing the ultimate joy of every soldier at homecoming. Vocals by Rory Sullivan and Noah Wilding are both earthy and ethereal while Jeff Haynes’ percussion keeps the song buoyant and upbeat.

Coming Home is not always an easy listen - it carries an emotional wallop that should touch every human heart in a very profound way. Thank you, Major Jennison, for your service to our country and to all of your fellow soldiers! Coming Home is available from PeterJennison.com, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
November 9, 2014
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Kathy's Favorites: 2014
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