Lullaby & Goodnight
Ryan Tilby and Steve Lemmon
2014 / Stone Angel Music
Review by Michael Debbage
Producer-guitarist Ryan Tilby has already released two very touching recordings of his own that focused on hymns of the past. This time around he sought the expertise of fellow acoustic guitarist Steve Lemmon who together co created Lullaby & Goodnight which focuses on for the most part popular children’s lullabies.
At first glance this project has the appearance of déjà vu not just because they are familiar lullabies of our childhood but because artists such as Kenny Loggins, Jennifer Thomas, George Skaroulis and Wayne Gratz have all done similar tributes to our yesteryears. However, Lullaby & Goodnight is unique in that it features the gorgeous playing of a duo guitar partnership that focuses on simple embellishments to these timeless memories. Even the album’s credits give you no idea as to who contributes to what as this is a thorough team creation.
There are the obvious familiar lullabies of “Frere Jacques”, “Rock-a- Bye Baby” and “Hush, Little Baby” to name a few but what makes Lullaby & Goodnight stand out is its focus on lesser know lullabies such as the simple but sublime “Simple Gifts” (the one vocal track that concludes the album) and the traditional “Welsh Lullaby” (Suo-gan) just to the name a few. The latter is lightly washed with embellishing strings and piano resulting in an exquisite enriching musical experience. Even more elegant is “Going Home (Dvorak’s New World Symphony)” that also includes the light use of wordless vocals.
Adjoined seamlessly with four impressive original compositions sprinkled throughout the album, the minimalism of “Shadow Waltz”, “Little Creek Moon”, “Evening Path” and “Finite Mind” are right at home and unified with the lullaby theme. Of the four “Shadow Waltz” is probably the most buoyant of the four. In fact it is the original compositions that help set apart this project when compared to the past efforts of other artists and their lullaby albums.
According to McGill University Researchers “Music boosts the body’s immune system and is more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety”. Needless to say Lullaby & Goodnight, recorded on the independent label Stone Angel Music will add to this premise. So if at first glance you think this project is a rehash that has been completed before by other artists and you decide to overlook this project then you are truly missing out on this understated but surreal recording.
August 30, 2014
with Sheldon Pickering