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Album Review: Unveiled
Stanton Lanier
Cover image of the album Unveiled by Stanton Lanier
Stanton Lanier
2008 / PianoPeace Music/Stanton Lanier
61 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Unveiled is Stanton Lanier’s fifth CD to date, and the second produced by the legendary Will Ackerman. Lanier calls himself “Pianist of Peace” and heads up an organization called “Music to Light the World,” which gives you an idea of where he is coming from with his music. Seeking to bring peace and comfort to listeners through relaxing, scripture-inspired music, Lanier’s soothing melodies are filled with hope and tranquility. There are no jolts or hard edges in any of the twelve pieces, and the music is presented both as solo piano and piano ensemble with a very impressive group of backing musicians. Will Ackerman appears on two tracks - one on guitar and one on Hopi drum; Philip Aaberg plays keyboards on two pieces; Eugene Friesen plays cello on two; and Noah Wilding’s haunting, wordless vocals appear on three. Jeff Oster and Jill Haley appear on wind instruments, and Tracy Silverman on violin. Two of the pieces (“Awaken the Dawn” and “Discovery”) are presented as both piano solos and ensemble works.

“Awaken the Dawn” begins the CD with the full ensemble. Delicate tones suggest the pastel colors and optimism of a new dawn. As the piece develops, the musical tones intensify, suggesting the vibrance of colorful sunrise. Wouldn’t it be great if we felt like this every morning? (The piano solo of this piece is equally effective.) “Discovery” is a beautiful piano and cello duet. Being alert for the truth and beauty in the routine events of everyday life can bring about discovery and revelation. This piece conveys a sense of adventure and of joyfully seeking something new and unknown. “Dreams in the Night” is my favorite track. A bit darker and more somber than the other pieces, Noah Wilding’s amazing voice is the only accompaniment to Lanier’s soulful piano. Graceful yet a little unsettled, this elegant piece is a knock-out. “Rivers of Light” begins in the deep bass of the piano to contrast with the “paintings” of the gifts from heaven as they flow as “rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.” Aaberg’s ethereal keyboard washes and Jeff Oster’s flugelhorn create a celestial backdrop for Lanier’s peaceful, contented piano. “Wellspring” is another beauty, telling of the need to keep ones heart refreshed and open. Jill Haley’s English horn is evocative and soothing, while the piano is breezy and free. “The Quest” describes the idea that life is a story and an adventure rather than a problem to solve. Piano and violin make this a lovely, soaring slow dance. “Wildflowers” is an ensemble piece for piano, guitar, and voice. As peaceful as a spring breeze, this piece describes how slowing down to look at wildflowers puts life back into perspective. A wonderful closing to a fine album!

Unveiled is a wonderful follow-up to The Voice (2005) and should bring new fans to Stanton Lanier’s work. Treat yourself to a soothing and calming hour of spiritual piano music! Unveiled is currently available from stantonlanier.com, cdbaby.com, amazon.com, and iTunes. Available elsewhere January 1, 2008. Recommended!
November 27, 2007
More reviews of Stanton Lanier albums
Cover image of the album The Voice by Stanton Lanier
Review by Kathy Parsons
Cover image of the album The Gathering by Stanton Lanier
(contributing artist)
Cover image of the album Unveiled by Stanton Lanier
Review by Michael Debbage
Michael's Favorites: 2008