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Album Review: Life Sometimes
Sarah Dukes
Cover image of the album Life Sometimes by Sarah Dukes
Life Sometimes
Sarah Dukes
2016 / Sarah Dukes
50 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Life Sometimes is the second full-length album by pianist/composer Sarah Dukes. Her first collection of original piano solos, Finding Forever, is made up of pieces Dukes composed before graduating from high school, so this new album shows the growth and maturity of a composer who has experienced several more years of life on the planet. The fourteen original piano solos on Life Sometimes were arranged and performed by Yaron Gershovsy, also a pianist/composer as well as the musical director of The Manhattan Transfer. Overall, the music is melodic, graceful, and very expressive. Straightforward and relatively uncomplicated, it communicates from one heart to another without a lot of flash, but with a ton of sincerity.

Life Sometimes begins with “Stargaze,” a gently-flowing piece that conveys dreamy, hypnotic feelings of contentment. “Violet Beams” is warm and peaceful like a morning walk in spring. “Rainbows and Crystals” spins a story of magical wonderment - perhaps a fairy tale told to a young child. One of my favorites, “As the Wind Blows” is in constant motion - sometimes fast and lively, sometimes slower and more calm. “Just Because” is a buoyant expression of joy that seems to float on air. The title track is another favorite. Reflective with a sense of moving forward (I know that’s kind of a conflict, but it works in this piece!), I like the main theme as well as the changing rhythms. Expressive and poignant, “An Angel Returns” tells a gentle, heartfelt story without the use of words. “The Road Up Ahead” feels a bit anxious, perhaps expressing fear of the unknown. It isn’t pessimistic - just a bit uncertain. The piece becomes somewhat more turbulent and agitated as it develops, but then calms and returns to the original theme. My favorite piece on the album is “Dancing In the Dark.” Passionate and expressive, the rolling left hand broken chords propel the expressive, colorful melody forward - love it! “One” is the original solo version of this piece, which was also orchestrated and released as a single. It was composed in honor of Leiby Kletzky, a young boy who was kidnapped and murdered on his way home from day camp. Dukes was inspired to compose “One” after seeing thousands of people mobilize to help the family search for their beloved son. It’s a touching and affecting closing to the album.

Life Sometimes is an impressive second effort from Sarah Dukes! The album will be released on May 26, 2016 and will be available from SarahDukesMusic.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. It is available for pre-order on Amazon. Recommended!
May 16, 2016
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