is pianist/composer Philip Wesley’s fifth solo piano album to date. Picking up where Dark Night of the Soul
(2008) left off, the twelve tracks include seven original compositions and five original arrangements of traditional hymns. Recorded at Joe Bongiorno’s Piano Haven Studio, the piano sound is pristine, clear, and warm. As the title indicates, Hope Endures
carries feelings of optimism, inner strength and peace. Wesley’s music has always shown influences from David Lanz, and I also hear hints of David Nevue in some of these pieces, but Wesley’s own maturing style is beautiful and often soul-stirring! Hope Endures
was born out of a personal crisis in 2006 when Wesley’s life felt very bleak. At the end of his rope, Wesley prayed to God to take control of his life, and was eventually able to turn things around. This music is the result of that journey and its healing process.
begins with “The Unknown,” a dark piece that conveys feelings of anxiety and agitation. While this piece doesn’t have a distinct melody, the flowing broken chords are expressive and poignant. “Leaving the Darkness Behind” elevates the mood, although there is still a bit of an edge to it. Flowing and impassioned, it takes us on quite an emotional journey of ups and downs, but never drifting into hopelessness. Wesley’s arrangement of “Amazing Grace” is quiet and introspective, perhaps a prayer of gratitude. “Second Chances” is a swirling dance for joy. Energized and unburdened, it’s a musical declaration that everything is going to be fine, that the worst is over. “What a Friend” is Wesley’s arrangement of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” a hymn I learned as a child and still love. With a flowing left hand accompanying the familiar melody, Wesley has brought this gem up-to-date while respecting its long history. “New Beginnings” is as fresh as a spring morning. Its energy and joyful melody create a musical celebration. The title track is one of Wesley’s most beautiful and poignant pieces to date. Gentle yet deeply heartfelt, it could easily become his new signature piece. “In Reverence” is a humble and soft-spoken prayer - quiet and reflective. The final track is a lovely arrangement of “America the Beautiful.” Emphasizing the beauty of the melody and the meaning of the song, it’s a wonderful closing that leaves you feeling good!
I think Hope Endures
is my favorite of Philip Wesley’s albums so far. It is available from philipwesley.com
, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!