is the debut solo piano album by Colorado pianist/composer Tim O’Shields
. Comprised of thirteen original compositions that were inspired by nature and by life itself, this recording marks a major life change for O’Shields, going from a long career in the environmental testing industry to following his dream and his heart as a pianist/composer. With his bold and expressive playing style and the detailed stories for each of his pieces, I would expect O’Shields to be a captivating concert artist. The liner notes for the CD are fairly minimal, but O’Shields has posted extensive notes for each song on his website, giving insight into both the origins of the music and the artist himself. Living on the side of a “hill” at 9,000 feet, O’Shields has a ringside seat for much of what nature can bestow - and that most people will never see. His music gives us a chance to experience these wonders through his eyes and ears without needing to acclimate to the 9000’ elevation!
begins with “The Ascent,” a piece about mountain climbing. Made up of several themes woven together with common threads, the piece describes the thrill of the start of the climb, the ascent, reaching the top, and the descent. It is quite an adventure story with references to life’s ups and downs. “Mountain Home” is a tribute to O’Shields’ own home - a place for creativity and totally being himself - and the importance of having that kind of a place in our lives. “Flight of the Wind” tells the story of a single leaf that travels on the wind - sometimes dancing solo in a graceful ballet and sometimes caught up in a swirl of leaves that dance together. I like the contrasts in the piece from the gentle breezes to more intense gusts - very effective! I also really like “First Light,” a piece about the beauty of breaking dawn and the possibilities of each fresh new day. “Country Walk” beautifully describes the inner peace of taking such a walk - warm, flowing, and very contented. My favorite track is “Passing Storm,” possibly because I love wild weather - as long as no one gets hurt or has property damage. Beginning gently and quietly as the storm slowly gathers force, the power and intensity increase as the piece evolves, becoming dark and ominous and gradually returning to the gentleness of the opening phrases. “Souls Rising” is a moving tribute to those lost in the 9/11 tragedy. Inspired by the events of the tenth anniversary of that date, the piece is simple yet heartfelt, in addition to being hopeful, majestic, and uplifting. The final note of the piece is a declaration that those souls will always be remembered and will rise forever. The studio engineer monitored the sound of that last note until there was no electronic signal remaining, allowing the listener to reflect and remember in silence.
is a very promising start! It is available from timoshields.com
, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Check it out!