2008 / Piano Peace Music
Review by Michael Debbage
Back in 2005, Stanton Lanier released his fourth album, The Voice, which featured the production qualities of Will Ackerman. With added embellishments from vocalist Noah Wilding and Eugene Friesen’s cello work the results were rich and lush. Along with a few additional guests, there is no disguising that Unveiled is a continuation of themes previously presented and with the same stellar results.
While Unveiled is an extension of the pastoral themes presented on The Voice, Lanier has listened to his audience and expanded on the embellishments that he previously explored on four tracks last time out. This time around there is only four tracks that feature the solo piano work of Lanier. Nevertheless, Lanier and Ackerman are very careful to only beautify rather than overstate, thus continuing to focus on the gorgeous melodies and tone of Lanier’s piano work.
For those of you concerned about the overindulgence, the album opens with “Awaken The Dawn” with a total of six guest artists that includes the cello, the flugelhorn, the English horn, vocals and even the Hopi drum from Ackerman himself. However, the results are still in keeping with the beautiful peacefulness expected from this pastoral pianist. Ackerman, who did not perform on The Voice, repeats the visitation here on the closing track “Wildflowers”. Clocking in over seven minutes long, Ackerman does not make his passive appearance until close to the five minute mark. Along with Noah Wilding’s very soft vocal chant, it is still the sensational but understated flowing melody of Lanier that brings to mind the well clothed lilies dancing gently in the whispering winds of its Creator (Matthew 5:28-29).
Otherwise, the album includes two stripped down compositions that only feature the piano work of Lanier in the form of “To And Fro” as well as the very subdued title track “Unveiled”. The other two solo tracks are encores of the opening track as well as “Discovery” that previously featured Eugene Friesen on cello. Lanier is smart not to sequence either solo track close to its lightly decorated twin.
Much like The Voice, the artwork and layout of Unveiled is as sophisticated and pleasing to the eyes as the music is to the ears resulting in a visual and audio delight. The only significant change is the lack of Scriptural references. Still, there is no disguising who this pianist of peace is paying tribute to.
August 8, 2008
Review by Kathy Parsons