New Vocal Instrumental Album in 2013: Pre-release album review for Union Road by multi-platinum selling artist Diane Arkenstone.
For multi-platinum selling recording artist Diane Arkenstone a renewed sense of freedom can be discovered by composing and performing contemporary music in one of her many well versed styles. Early in life it was clear Diane Arkenstone was blessed with the gifted abilities of a natural born artist and composer, which has led to many achievements during each phase of her music career.
Adaptable to a variety of music categories her natural talent and adaptability has never been more clearly pronounced than her new vocal instrumental album titled Union Road, due to be released on her Neo Pacifica Recordings record label on March 26th 2013. I can tell you upfront the 11 free flowing casual melodies shed new light on one of our favorite contemporary artists.
The multi-talented Diane Arkenstone is a popular artist most people will recognize, especially those who favor the Celtic, Native American, instrumental, new age, and world music categories. In addition to her own releases like the Billboard Charting Jewel in the Sun, and top radio chart recording, The Best Of Diane Arkenstone, she has also been a member of associated groups most people are familiar with.
Groups like Adventure Cargo, Ah Nee Mah, Earth Trybe, Enaid, Marquis Ensemble, Middle Earth Orchestra, are like our favorite chapters in the Diane Arkenstone songbook. Many more outstanding albums made our preferred song list as the duo with former husband David Arkenstone.
Union Road is the newest album by Diane Arkenstone you may soon be calling your favorite like I have. Union Road is an instrumental vocal album with 11 select songs in the folk ballad tradition. Performing acoustic guitar, dulcimer, kalimba and percussion, Diane Arkenstone’s songwriting talents as a vocalist and lyricist are on display, highlighting her capabilities as a contemporary singer with charming lyrical optimism on nine of eleven songs.
Nearing perfection by the casual relaxing atmosphere, Union Road is a brilliant vocal instrumental album with novel lyrics you are sure to love. Keep your eye on Diane Arkenstone, whose sense of freedom when creating original new music is sure to transport you on a route that can only be described as adventuresome.
The 11 songs on Union Road are: Little Cup of Coffee, When I Fall, Crossing The Water, Corner of Nowhere, Just Kicking Around, Beautiful Bones, Lost in You, Your Mama is Gone, Union Road, We Can Live Forever and Dulcimer Suite. Backing vocalists and instrumentalists in are Mader, David Arkenstone, MB Gordy, Chad Watson, Eric Rigler, Bruce Watson, Charlee Brooks and Jane George.
Until the date March 26th when Union Road is released on CD and digital download, visit DianeArkenstone.com to sample and purchase music or visit Diane Arkenstone at Amazon.com. There are also plans for a concert tour in 2013 so watch for an upcoming concert news announcement. Album design by Rachna Kanikar and artist photos by Bill Sparkes.
With the festive celebration of New Year’s Eve behind us, New Year’s Day 2013 marks another new beginning in so many ways. If you made a New Year’s resolution this year, there will be challenges in the days, weeks and months ahead, but as you know, every challenge presents itself with a new opportunity to claim a personal victory of your own.
Hello everyone, my name is John P. Olsen. As the site and interview host for New Age Music World I can tell you from personal experience the artists I represent are resolute to do their very best with each new album they produce.
I have the opportunity to meet the majority of artist I write about, and felt this was the perfect occasion to publicly express the deep admiration I have for the artists I have met, and tell you of their determination with producing the finest new music they hope will ultimately meet our approval.
Many of the artists I encounter earn a living by their talents as a musician, so it’s partly the reason each year they aim high and are determined to do their very best at producing new music you will purchase for yourself and tell your friends about.
There is a lot of competition in the music industry worldwide as you can imagine, and I am pleased to say the artist’s with new instrumental albums in 2012 have done exceptionally well in achieving their goals in 2012. Their high ambitions have paid dividends by rewarding us with an outstanding collection of new albums and songs during the past year.
This year like every year I am given the opportunity to sample the newest music in most cases before the album has been released to the public. In 2012 nearly 200 releases were sent to me for review consideration so in general terms I can say it was an outstanding year for some of the finest new songs and albums in all categories of Americana, electronic, instrumental, new age, soundtrack and world music.
Like stated on my profile page, I am here to represent the artists and their music not self-promote, however if you like an artist at New Age Music World, you are invited to tell your friends at Facebook and other social media networking sites.
I can assure you the artists will appreciate any extra publicity you can give them by telling your friends through social media networks. With that said, permit me to tell you about a select group of artists who I admire and believe have produced an instrumental album you will enjoy too.
Today I am pleased to present my yearly award recommendation for the Best Instrumental Albums I sampled or wrote an album review for during 2012. The 12 Best Instrumental Albums are listed in alphabetical order by the album title. Included are direct links to the artist’s site so you may sample or purchase songs and albums direct from the artist or music stores. Big Stock Photos by Fotomy, EvgenaD & Ambrits.
1. 15th Anniversary Concert by Artists of Eversound.
One of the best vocal and instrumental compilation albums produced in 2012 is the 15th Anniversary Concert recording, featuring a live concert performance by the artists representing the Eversound Label. The 15th Anniversary Concert recording is a special compilation album with 12 songs of beautiful melodies, upbeat rhythms, and a selection of wonderful vocalists from Eversound. This special edition available on CD or DVD was recorded in Santa Barbara, California during 2012. For record label Eversound the finest quality artists is what makes this collection special!
The Artists of Eversound on The 15th Anniversary Concert album are Stuart Hoffman, Cara Tower, Curtis Macdonald, Manuel Iman, Suzanne Ciani, Diane Arkenstone, Steve McPeters, Amanda Blue, Eduardo del Signore, John Adorney and Daya, with special guests Fuzzbee Morse, Richard Hardy, and supporting 10 piece ensemble. To sample or purchase the 15th Anniversary Concert and 10 Year Anniversary albums with 2 CDs with 35 songs from 20 albums visit EverSound.com.
2. Badlands by Eric Tingstad.
Badlands is the new Americana album from GRAMMY® Award-winning recording artist and record producer Eric Tingstad, who is a seasoned songwriting guitarist in a variety of instrumental music genres. Eric Tingstad’s diverse range of music styles are Americana, alternative country, ambient, blues, jazz, new age, rock and more. The 12 songs on Badlands is a moving canvas of Americana music at its finest, honoring traditions of American roots and Western culture in contemporary style.
Badlands is unique to most instrumental albums by the prominent lap steel and pedal steel guitar parts in unison with a professional team of artists performing on English horn, bass guitar, organ, violin oboe, trumpet and percussion. Eric Tingstad’s lifelike rendition colorfully illustrates a beautiful portrait of the desert Southwest with vibrant transparency. The surreal beauty and splendor of Badlands is a picturesque representation of contemporary Americana music. Sample or purchase Badlands, and for information on Cheshire Studios production services visit EricTingstad.com.
3. Believe by 2002.
The contemporary instrumental album Believe by the Billboard Charting music group 2002 is truly a commendable album in this collection of best albums from 2012. Believe is the 14th quality driven album by Pamela, Randy and newest member and daughter, Sarah Copus. The 10 instrumental vocal songs Believe is more progressive from previous releases by a majority of songs covering a variety of rock influences, plus more songs with inspiring vocals and lyrical verses you are sure to enjoy.
The music group 2002 won the admiration of people worldwide after the release of their first album Wings in 1992. The year 2012 marks a 20th year anniversary for the professional, award-winning group 2002. Believe has received the highest praise from the most important and respected critics of all, being their fans. Randy and Pamela Copus have reached a level of success they envisioned 20 years ago, and taken it to the very next level by producing a hit album said to be the best music by 2002 yet! Visit the band and sample or purchase Believe at 2002Music.com.
4. Bindu by Michael Brant DeMaria.
Bindu has a unique distinction in this Best Instrumental Albums publication by Michael Brant DeMaria’s Nomination for Best Album in the 55th GRAMMYr Awards set for February 10, 2013. This is the fourth Nomination within the past four years, for the esteemed recording artist, psychologist, author and lecturer. Michael transforms his capacities as a healthcare professional into therapeutic music designed to help people manage life’s challenges. Bindu is the pinnacle of healing music, which illuminates Bindu’s prestigious status as an award winning album.
Michael Brant DeMaria’s leading role as an artist has resulted in many of the best albums for meditation and healing. The esteemed recording artist and integrative psychotherapist Michael Brant DeMaria is conceivably one of the most accomplished artists in the healing/meditation category. This year could result in a long overdue GRAMMY® Award. Bindu, Gaia, Ocean & Siyotanka have made #1 on ZMR’s Radio Chart. Find Bindu and new album The Maiden of Stonehenge at Ontos.org.
5. Chariots of Fire: The Play by Vangelis.
Chariots of Fire: The Play is 11 songs of new orchestral music in 2012 by legendary cinematic composer Vangelis. It was a triumphant year for Vangelis himself when his Chariots of Fire (song) was selected for the Official London 2012 Olympic Games theme music for official opening and award ceremonies. The Original Chariots of Fire Soundtrack, which won Vangelis an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score, is said to be the most recognizable motion picture soundtrack score ever produced.
Chariots of Fire: On Stage by Vangelis, is a brand new Olympic themed theatrical movie soundtrack score created for the theater stage adaptation showing in the UK of the Academy Award-winning Chariots of Fire movie. With a lot of international press news given to one single song Chariots of Fire, let’s not overlook the entire album is remarkable. The masterful piano and keyboard composition Chariots of Fire by Vangelis was the perfect theme song for the many moments of inspiration during the London 2012 Olympic Games. Find Chariots of Fire: The Play at Amazon.com.
6. El Dorado by Luna Blanca.
International Nouveau Flamenco ensemble Luna Blanca has created an exhilarating new wave of excitement with their new instrumental project in 2012 titled El Dorado. The cosmopolitan sound qualities of the 14 songs on El Dorado express the diverse ethnicity of Nouveau Flamenco with classic sophistication and grace. Recognized for their energetic songs backed by lively world music rhythms, the sunny casual atmosphere is the greatest musical characteristic of the band Luna Blanca.
El Dorado is an outstanding release expressing the inherent music qualities that first began Luna Blanca’s rise to fame and admiration as a leading Nouveau Flamenco ensemble. Like earlier album Provence, passionate acoustic phrasing and compelling world rhythms blend brilliantly on El Dorado. Based in Bocholt Germany, members are founding guitarist Richard Hecks, with pianist, and co-composer Helmut Graebe, guitarist Bino Dola and artist Clemens Paskert on bass, percussion and keyboards. Find El Dorado and new LP Obsession at LunaBlancaMusic.com.
7. Fiesta by Tribali.
If energetic world music and ethnic percussion sound like a fine way to celebrate your day, look no farther than the newest album titled Festa, by international concert recording band Tribali from Malta. Like another 2012 release titled The Traveller, the Festa album by Tribali, with 13 songs has a level of energy off the chart in terms of the animated atmosphere. It’s an amazing feat of magic in the way they cross blend influences ranging from world music, new age, folk, reggae, rock, and jazz.
The variety of instruments in Tribali music is equally broad incorporating didgeridoo, electric sitar, murchunga, guimbri, cahon, hang and tabla, with more traditional guitars, keyboards, vocals, violin, trumpet and percussion. Placing an emphasis on cultural multiplicity in every project the ethnic tradition of international Maltese band Tribali is a great way to revel any time, any place, any day. There is also talk of the group Tribali representing Malta at the annual worldwide Eurovision Song Contest. Visit the band at TribaliMusic.com to sample or purchase Festa & The Traveller.
8. Let Mother Earth Speak by Dennis Banks & Kitaro.
One of the most memorable album reviews I wrote of many this year was the album Let Mother Earth Speak, with 9 songs by two distinguished figures who deliver a universal message of peace by spoken word and traditional Native American music. Released on September 11, 2012 the message of peace on Let Mother Earth Speak is given by famous Native American activist and musician Dennis Banks, and international new age celebrity, and GRAMMY® Award-winning artist Kitaro.
Let Mother Earth Speak is a narrated life history of Native American Dennis Banks, an Anishinabe from the land of the Ojibwa people. The authenticity in the voice of Dennis Banks is compelling in the manner he uses spoken word and traditional Native American Indian songs to encourage a more peaceful existence in life. The masterful instrumentals by Kitaro on keyboards, Native Indian Flute, percussion, and ethnic woodwinds equally embolden this unifying message of peace. Visit the Domo Music Group pages for Dennis Banks and Kitaro and Let Mother Earth Speak.
9. The Gathering by Will Ackerman.
The Gathering is an exceptional instrumental music compilation album from the acclaimed, GRAMMY® Award-winning guitarist and music producer Will Ackerman. Famous worldwide for his talents as a producer the Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman is a legendary artist, producer and leading figure in the instrumental music recording industry. Will Ackerman’s legacy of quality as producer and founder of Windham Hill Records endures today at the Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont.
The Gathering is an exclusive music collection of 22 top-quality songs by 22 great artists, Will Ackerman hand selected for this release. The artists comprised on this special compilation album were selected from the many fine musicians who had their album produced at his state-of-the-art Imaginary Road Studios. Will Ackerman has produced albums for over 84 artists, including famous artists like Alex de Grassi, Michael Hedges, Michael Manring, Shadowfax, Liz Story and artist George Winston. Find The Gathering at CDBaby.com and visit WilliamAckerman.com.
10. The Piano by Best of Reviews New Age.
One of the finest solo piano/instrumental albums in 2012 is a compilation release titled The Piano. This exclusive collection of piano music with 17 top-quality songs by 17 great pianists was produced by Reviews New Age founding editor and blog host, Alejandro Clavijo from Spain. This compilation release has drawn a lot of praise for the comprehensive selection of today’s top quality artists performing their best piano songs. Many artists are top ranked pianists, while other artists are equitably recognized names in the new age solo piano music category.
The Best of Reviews New Age: The Piano featuring 17 songs compiled of the best song selections from 17 top contemporary pianists is great for persons acquainted with the solo piano category. Many artists on this release are celebrated for their popular piano with instrumental albums too. The Piano by Reviews New Age is perfect for persons new to the specialized solo piano music category and want to start with a superb introductory album. Visit ReviewsNewAge.com for The Piano.
11. Thirty-One Nights by Nicholas Gunn.
Instrumental recording artist Nicholas Gunn has always been intensely passionate about flute music, and never has this been made clearer than his instrumental album Thirty-One Nights. The 13 songs on Nicholas Gunn’s 14th release is significant by the uncompromising instrumental qualities. This is to be expected of the acclaimed flutist Nicholas Gunn, who made Billboard’s Top 10 Charts, with 55 consecutive weeks overall on Billboard’s New Age Charts, and over two million in album sales.
The platinum selling recording artist Nicholas Gunn enlisted two professional artists on Thirty-One Nights. On a number of songs vocalist Dana Kemmerle sings soft poetic verses and acoustic guitarist Chris Fossek give depth and balance to the 13 songs with world music influences. Recently Nicholas Gunn announced a change to electronic dance music with the name (We Are) Nexus. The classically trained flutist Nicholas Gunn is a master at instrumental music, so expect this to continue with his new endeavor (We Are) Nexus. Find Thirty-One Nights at NicholasGunn.com.
12. Yanni-Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico by Yanni.
For international concert and recording artist Yanni, the year 2012 was another successful tour season of sold out concerts during his North American Concert Tour. For the millions of Yanni fans, comprised of people from all nationalities, and possibly every country in the world, last year resulted in an outstanding concert recording titled Yanni-Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico. The stormy, windswept concert venue held a silver lining by turning out to be one of Yanni’s best concert recordings, which was televised on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and made available on CD or DVD.
Yanni-Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico is a concert album featuring many of Yanni’s most popular songs and several songs from 2011 studio album titled Truth Of Touch. For the leading international concert celebrity with around one billion admirers, Live at El Morro is an exceptional recording showing the passion in which he delivers to an audience every time. Yanni and his world-class orchestra give instrumental solos that can only be described as stunning! Find music and concert info at Yanni.com.
This concludes my Best Instrumental Albums 2012 recommendation. Earlier I wrote two publications titled Best Electronic Albums – 2012 and Best New Age Music – 2012, so find more recommendations of the finest electronic and new age albums I sampled or reviewed in 2012. Check back for news, concert info, interviews and new music in 2013.
The Christmas Holiday tradition of giving gifts may be over for now, but as we move closer to the New Year’s Holiday, and into 2013, there will be many occasions for giving someone a present going forward. Choosing a suitable present him or her can be a challenge for everyone now and then so for one gift giving idea may I suggest the gift of a music CD?
While giving music isn’t suitable for every occasion, there are a number of advantages to giving a compact disc album on a variety of informal occasions. Depending on the circumstances and how much you want to spend, a music CD may be the perfect choice for Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, graduation, party favors and many more occasions.
The informal gift of music is relatively inexpensive, and can last a lifetime. Most importantly it’s a gift nearly everyone would enjoy receiving, and the extensive selection of album titles to choose from is practically limitless. While I operate a completely nonprofit site, many of the artists I represent usually offer special pricing discounts on their music in either CD or digital mp3 formats at certain times of the year.
Sale pricing and close out items is regularly available in the weeks prior to Christmas, and up to New Year’s Day. I hope to have been of assistance with one gift suggestion you can count on for any occasion to give him or her a present year around. I wish everyone the best, and I will see you January 1, 2013, when I make my recommendations for the Best Instrumental Albums from 2012, and tell you about the newest music in 2013 as the year progresses. Big Stock Photo – Alfred Cats.
New Music in 2013: Laura Sullivan’s piano & instrumental album Love’s River, featuring top music professionals Will Ackerman, Nancy Rumbel, Eugene Friesen, Jill Haley and Jeff Oster.
If you like to be informed about brand new music, let me tell you about one of the newest piano with instrumental releases available as digital downloads and upcoming physical CD release at online store outlets on January 1, 2013.
Laura Sullivan is foremost a gifted composer and pianist, but her new album Love’s River is also my first album review for 2013. Knowing Laura Sullivan’s illustrious career and her achievements as soloist and concert pianist, I was excited to take a first look into what sentiment await fans and music consumers in 2013. I am pleased to say Love’s River has a setting of beautiful harmony with a pleasingly calm atmosphere, surely destined to be a popular album in 2013!
The instrumental bliss of Love’s River bestows a wonderful collection of peaceful songs everyone is sure to find enjoyable. Comparable to album Pianoscapes: Trails of North America, Laura Sullivan’s 2013 release Love’s River is an exceptional album by the manner piano music is united with acoustic guitar, cello, English horn, oboe, flugel horn, and trumpet.
Love’s River likewise has the distinction of a number of instrumentals by leading professionals like award-winning, Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, who produced 4 songs and played acoustic guitar on the song Blessed.
An ensemble of award-winning music professionals also performing on various songs are Nancy Rumbel, of the duo Tingstad and Rumbel, playing Oboe and English Horn, Eugene Friesen on cello, Jill Haley on English Horn, Jeff Oster on trumpet and flugel horn. In the music sense, knowing now what Laura Sullivan has in store for us in 2013, it’s appropriate to say our future has never looked brighter.
The 11 songs on Love’s River are Secrets from the Deep, Wishing on a Dandelion, Awakening to Love, Blessed, Holding Heaven, Moonlight Passage, Love’s River, Calligraphy, River to the Sea, Story of the Rain and Snowfall on Water.
Love’s River will be available at Amazon on January 1, 2013, however you may visit Laura-Sullivan.com to sample or purchase at iTunes by visiting her music store. Photo and album cover art courtesy laura-sullivan.com.
The celebration of Christmas, and the holiday season leading up to the special day is one of renewed excitement for most people. However you look at it, the period leading up to Christmas Day is a busy time of year. Shopping for gifts and preparing are a priority, but most important of all, Christmas is a special time to celebrate with family and friends.
On the subject of gift giving however, one of the new Christmas Albums in 2012 would make a wonderful Christmas gift this year. While I operate a completely non-profit site, many of the artists I represent are offering special discounts on all of their music in either CD or digital mp3 formats.
This time of year also marks a period in time when artists are offering sale discounts on all merchandise including DVDs, apparel, and a large variety of gift items. There are too many artists with special sale pricing, but a good place to start is the 10 artists with new Christmas Albums in 2012.
While you are at their website to sample or purchase their brand new Christmas album, many of the artists below have related merchandise so check out their selection of gift items too. Find more popular new Christmas albums at Amazon.com. Photo by – Anastasiya Zalevska.
Popular New Christmas Albums in 2012:
10 New Christmas Albums in 2012:
1. Christmas by Albedo.
2. Home for Christmas by Celtic Woman.
3. A Choral Christmas by Cusco.
4. Christmas Spirit by David Arkenstone.
5. O Christmas (Solo Piano) by Isadar.
6. Christmas Romance by Jim Brickman.
7. Embracing Winter by Jim Hudak.
8. Christmas by Kevin Kern.
9. Peace on Earth by Kitaro.
10. Candlelight Christmas by Mannheim Steamroller.
With the close of the calendar year nearly upon us, time passes with the rhythm and tempo of a metronome in the days prior to the final countdown to New Year’s Day 2013.
Hello everyone, my name is John P. Olsen. In my role as interview host and review publicist at New Age Music World, I was given the opportunity to sample or review many of the best electronic albums and songs electronic music artists worldwide produced and sent to me during 2012.
Resembling the cadence of a metronome as well were the new albums arriving at nearly the same pace and frequency. The high volume of albums made me even more determined to present to you the finest electronic albums from 2012.
Like previous years, I wrote album review publications or sampled a respectable number of albums released in 2012, of the nearly 200 releases in all music categories sent to me for album review consideration this year.
For the artist specializing in electronic music high-tech synthesizers and equipment are the instruments used to create an extraordinary orchestra of sound. The latest technological innovations have enabled creators of electronic music to design ingenious compositions using computers, keyboards and the latest music software programing.
Even to the music purists who favor live instrumentals, artists who compose and record electronic music are likewise identified for their talent. Clearly their artistry is equal to the artist who plays a real orchestral instrument. Another undeniable element is the select number of top quality albums produced by today’s best artists in the Electronic music genre.
The year 2012 was an exceptional year for some of the finest new songs and albums in the categories of instrumental, new age, soundtrack and world music, and I can tell you electronic music is not the exception. Today I am pleased to present my yearly award recommendation for the best electronica releases I sampled or reviewed in 2012.
The 12 Best Electronic Music Albums are listed in alphabetical order by the artist’s name. Direct links are included so you may visit each artist to sample or purchase songs and albums direct from the artist or select from their online stores. Big Stock Photos by Binkski – Lijuan – Method3.
Best Electronic Albums & Songs in 2012.
1. Oceans by 7and5.
First on the list of best electronic albums in 2012 is the Oceans album with 10 vibrant songs by 7and5. The artist title 7and5 is the name independent artist John H. Nixon creates inspiring electronic music. Earlier 7and5 albums In A Moment’s Time, Trading Stories & Hope, Destiny, & Choice, are some of my personal favorites. If you are like me, dynamic energy and upbeat rhythms are the qualities I admire most about 7and5 music.
The Weather Channel, with millions of U.S. television viewers nationwide, is one source where songs by 7and5 are often heard during TWC’s Local on the 8’s weather radar. Known for its cinematic qualities, music by 7and5 often makes TWC’s popular playlists, and was also selected for The Weather Channel’s Top 10 Viewer’s Best Music of 2011 list. The 10 vibrant songs on Oceans easily made my favorite album list in the new age electronic, chill out, techno category. Sample or purchase Oceans at 7and5Music.com.
2. Windows by Bryan Carrigan.
The ambient electronic album Windows is one of the most exclusive music releases in this Best Electronic Albums publication. This is due to the experience of the Los Angeles, California based artist Bryan Carrigan, a multiple award-winning producer and owner of Precision Sonic Studio. It was only recently he began producing music in his own name. After Passing Lights & Focus in 2011 is third electronica album Windows, with 10 songs.
The 10 songs on Windows are designed and professionally layered with elegant precision. Windows is an intriguing album and one of the best in the ambient new age music style. Bryan Carrigan is famous for his work in the Hollywood film industry and recording studios by his role of producer, engineer, synth programmer, and sound designer for superstars like Aerosmith, Alanis Morissette, Barry Manilow, Frank Sinatra, No Doubt, Quincy Jones and Vanessa Williams. You may sample or purchase Windows at BryanCarrigan.com.
3. Liquid Mind X: Meditation by Chuck Wild.
Liquid Mind albums, including this newest release with 6 songs by Emmy® Nominated songwriter and recording artist Chuck Wild are already a chosen winner in many respects by consistently making popular best album lists and chart topping positions. Case in point is the most recent chart success for Liquid Mind X: Meditation by acquiring the #1 position on the iTunes USA Top 10 New Age Chart in September of 2012.
Chuck Wild has acquired prestigious awards and recognition for his music, but let’s not overlook the fact Liquid Mind albums and songs are simply some of the best music made for relaxation, sleep, and mediation. Chuck Wild is a master at producing calming music, and never has it shone more clearly than the elegant ballet of ambient sound you will hear on his newest album Liquid Mind X: Mediation. Find more great albums by Chuck Wild and sample or purchase Liquid Mind X Meditation at LiquidMindMusic.com.
4. Family Values by Craig Karolus.
The new album Family Values with 8 songs is an admirable electronic music release by independent artist Craig Karolus. Family Values is a tribute album dedicated to celebrate the lives of living family members, and of four beloved family members of Craig Karolus who passed away in 2011. Although the circumstance of this tribute album is deeply personal, Craig has openly expressed each song by a magnificent illustration, expertly adapted to thoughtfully reflect his family member’s personal character in song.
Craig Karolus has only recently begun to market his music, but I also thought Craig is one of the best new artists. His debut album Standing On Top from 2011 is another fine album I believe is of the highest quality like Craig’s 2012 release Family Values. The significance and depth of his tribute music to family members is inspiring, clearly reflected in his graceful and elegant new album. Find Family Values at CraigKarolus.com.
5. Connected by David Wright.
Connected is an electronic instrumental album with fine vocal overlays by leading UK artist and producer David Wright. The 14 songs on his twenty-fourth release Connected are masterfully created in David Wright’s signature style, which as a whole is comprised of nearly the entire range of musical tastes. It’s David’s expertise in an all-inclusive style, and sense of adventure that decisively makes Connected his best album to date.
Producer of award-winning music like the epic album Connected, David Wright is founder of the popular UK Based AD Music Label, and co-founded the electronic rock group Code Indigo. Other ventures are an electronic music project with David Massey named Callisto, and new age group named Trinity. David Wright is also the owner of Planet Recording Studio, which provides the audio mastering services for many AD Music label albums. Sample or purchase Connected at ADMusicOnline.com and DavidWrightMusic.com.
6. Exogenesis by Eloy Fritsch.
For Brazilian electronic music composer Eloy Fritsch, his fascination with synthesizer music has transitioned into an equally fascinating discography of synthesizer based electronic albums over the years. When sampling songs from his albums, I discovered the award-winning composer’s new 2012 album Exogenesis a progressive stride beyond the majority of electronic releases from 2012, easily making the best electronic albums list.
Eloy Fritsch has a diverse repertoire while composing electronic symphonies, exploring the categories of synth pop, new age and space music, along with founding the Brazilian progressive rock band Apocalypse. The 13 songs on Exogenesis are extraordinary, finding inspiration in the arrangements of Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Klaus Schulze, Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson and Kraftwork. However it’s clear Eloy Fritsch invents original compositions in his own masterful style. Sample or purchase Exogenesis at Ef.Mus.br.
7. Mysterious Garden by Julian Ray.
For Canadian recording artist Julian Ray producing electronic music on today’s technologically advanced equipment is more than an excellent way to express the unlimited boundaries of one’s creativity and imagination. For Julian keyboards and synthesizers are essential instruments used to create sonic harmonies like heard on his newest album in 2012 titled Mysterious Garden. The 10 original songs are arranged in his signature style, which is remarkably unique and far from commonplace.
Mysterious Garden is a new recording showing an array of Julian’s unique style as a producer of ambient space music. Decisively dissimilar all from other electronic music composers, Julian Ray is a member of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, (SOCAN), and is actively working on his newest project for 2013. Visit Julian Ray to sample or purchase Mysterious Gardens at JulianRayMusic.com.
8. Alive by Mark Barnes.
Multiple award winning composer and producer Mark Barnes has another hit album by the 2012 release Alive, which features 20 brilliant electronic, instrumental songs. Alive is comprised of dramatic instrumental music set to cutting edge electronics. Every single song on Alive is animated with a cinematic atmosphere that can only be described as beautiful. The Awakening & Temporal Infinity are earlier releases you are sure to love.
Mark Barnes has the honor and distinction of producing award-winning music, including a prestigious Hollywood F.A.M.E. Award for Music & Cinema. Mark Barnes won the Best Original Song composition at the 2011 TCI Film Festival, with co-writer and two-times Academy Award Nominee Carol Connors, for a documentary-drama film score song titled A City Within A Dream. Mark Barnes has a flair for producing award-winning music, and this is true for 2012 release Alive. Sample or purchase Alive at MarkBarnesMusic.com.
9. In Mutatio Tempora by Matzumi.
The album In Mutatio Tempora with 10 songs is a brilliant electronic music release sent to me by an artist who lives in Germany. Some of the information about her was in German so I can’t tell you as much about her except Kathrin Manz is the artist who goes by Matzumi. Kathrin Manz performs live concerts in Europe, and in my eyes, qualifies as one of the very best albums I have listened to this year in the Electronic, Ambient genre.
One interesting aspect of Kathrin Manz is her style, which conveys an elegant synthesis of ambient, techno, house music, and electronic dance in the fashion of Tangerine Dream, yet shows her gifted ability as composer of original music. Like Tangerine Dream, songs by Matzumi are cinematic, and a precise fit for the Film Score and Soundtrack genres. In Mutatio Tempora, on the Wolf Entertainment Label is an electronic album fans of Tangerine Dream would love. Sample or purchase In Mutatio Tempora at Matzumi.de.
10. Drifting In Dreams by Michele Ippolito.
For classical trained pianist Michele Ippolito, the 11 songs on Drifting In Dreams is the perfect way to share the joyful expression of her uplifting ambient song melodies to others. Performing on a Roland 90EX keyboard, Michele Ippolito is joined with co-producer of Drifting In Dreams, Vince Ippolito. So you know, Vince Ippolito is a performing artist and leading producer working with countless celebrity names in the music industry.
Michele Ippolito’s music is a calming wave of ambience, showing her skill as a composer at the professional level. Michele’s first album Mystic Moods is airing at Music Choice Soundscape Channel, and made radio charts and Best Album Nominations at ZMR, like second album In The Clouds. They also own a professional recording studio in Dixon, Illinois named Ippolito Recording/Production Company. Visit the professional team of Michele and Vince and sample or purchase Drifting In Dreams at Vippolito.com.
11. Kailasa by Mingo.
Mingo is an outstanding electronic music composer with an interesting history, even more so by his 2012 album titled Kailasa, with 10 songs superbly acclimated to the variety of ambient new age music. Mingo made his mark by emerging into the techno scene of the early 1990′s, exploring an ecosphere of electronica styles ranging from ambient, new age, space music, synthpop, and into the realm of experimental, futuristic avant-garde.
Early success resulted in worldwide recognition and airtime on online radio stations like National Public Radio (NPR) program Hearts of Space, and one of the longest airing ambient, space music radio programs named Stars End. Mingo’s inventive persona is unmistakable in Kailasa, an outstanding song collection aimed towards the ambient new age domain. Find more electronica albums by Mingo like Relaxation Series: Zen Ultra, The Light That Bends, Narcosys, and sample or purchase Kailasa at MingoSphere.com.
12. Deep Alpha by Steven Halpern.
Deep Alpha has a unique distinction in this best electronic album awards publication by Steven Halpern’s Nomination for Best Album in the 55th GRAMMY® Awards set for February 10, 2013. With 14 songs at over an hour in length, Deep Alpha is an exceptional blend of electronic instrumental music from esteemed artist Steven Halpern. Nearing a 40 year milestone in his career his albums frequently make the Top 10 Charts at Billboard.
The best-selling recording artist Steven Halpern is accepted as one of the earliest originators of healing music. With over 6 million albums sold, accolades for his music are just as numerous. Credited for his early music and scientific studies of therapeutic music, his leading role has resulted in many of the best albums for relaxation, yoga and stress relief. For esteemed recording artist Steven Halpern, 2013 could yield a long overdue GRAMMY® Award. Sample or purchase Deep Alpha at InnerPeaceMusic.com.
This concludes my Best Electronic Albums – 2012 recommendations. For more exceptional new releases this year, check back soon when I present the Best Instrumental Albums – 2012 on New Year’s Day 2013.
The 55th GRAMMY® Award Nominations for the entire 81 music categories, including the Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media category, were announced during a televised live broadcast presentation and entertainment show on December 5, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The opening presentation by The Recording Academy® shown live on the CBS Television Network began the official countdown to the 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony for 2013. The program for the evening show in Nashville publicized as “The GRAMMY Nomination Concert Live!! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night included past winners and nominees who gave a series of live entertainment performances.
The 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony specified at Grammy.com lists the date of February 10, 2013, when they will reveal the award-winning artists in 81 Best Album Award categories. During the awards presentation scheduled for February 10, 2013, the CBS Television Network will again broadcast the official ceremony live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California at 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.
I have interviewed or written album reviews for a number of GRAMMY® Award/Nominated artists over the years. If you are new to this music blogspot there is more information about artists in this year and past years award competition in the Soundtrack, Americana, Instrumental, New Age, and World music genre categories.
The 6 Nominees for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media (#57) are shown alphabetically. You may sample or purchase Nominated albums by direct links to each album at Amazon.com. Read more music news at Grammy.com and the complete category list of 81 Nominees at Grammy.com. Photos are courtesy each artist & Big Stock Photo – HelleM.
The 55th GRAMMY® Nominees – Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media:
1. John Williams composer – The Adventures Of Tintin – The Secret Of The Unicorn Soundtrack.
2. Ludovic Bource composer – The Artist Soundtrack.
3. Hans Zimmer composer – The Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack.
4. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross composers – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack.
5. Howard Shore composer – Hugo Soundtrack.
6. Austin Wintory composer – Journey: Official Game Soundtrack.
The 55th GRAMMY® Award Nominations for the entire 81 music categories, including the World Music genre category, were announced several days ago during a live television broadcast and entertainment presentation on December 5, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The opening presentation by The Recording Academy®, presented live on the CBS Television Network, began the official countdown to the 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony for 2013. The program for the evening show in Nashville publicized as “The GRAMMY Nomination Concert Live!! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night included past winners and nominees who gave a series of live entertainment performances.
The 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony specified at Grammy.com lists the date of February 10, 2013, when they will reveal the award-winning artists in 81 Best Album Award categories. During the music awards presentation scheduled for February 10, 2013, the CBS Television Network will broadcast the official ceremony live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California at 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.
I have interviewed or written album reviews for a number of GRAMMY® Award/Nominated artists over the years. If you are new to this music blogspot there is more information to read about artists in this year and past years award competition in the New Age, Instrumental, Americana, Soundtrack, and World music genre categories.
The 5 Nominees in the World Music category (#51) are shown alphabetically. You may sample or purchase the Nominated albums for every artist by direct links to each album at Amazon.com. Read more music news at Grammy.com and the complete category list of 81 Nominees at Grammy.com. Photos are courtesy each artist & Big Stock Photo – HelleM.
The 55th GRAMMY® Nominees – World Music Album Category are:
1. Folila by Amadou & Mariam. Sample or purchase Folila at Amazon.com.
2. On A Gentle Island Breeze by Daniel Ho. Sample or purchase On a Gentle Island Breeze at Amazon.com.
3. Jabulani by Hugh Masekela. Sample or purchase Jabulani at Amazon.com.
4. Traveller by Anoushka Shankar. Sample or purchase Traveller at Amazon.com.
5. The Living Room Sessions Part 1 by Ravi Shankar. Find The Living Room Sessions at Amazon.com.
The 55th GRAMMY® Award Nominations for the entire 81 music categories, including the New Age Music genre category, were announced hours ago during a television broadcast presentation and live entertainment event on December 5, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The opening presentation by The Recording Academy®, presented live on the CBS Television Network, began the official countdown to the 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony for 2013. The program for the evening show in Nashville publicized as “The GRAMMY Nomination Concert Live!! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night included past winners and nominees who gave a series of dazzling entertainment performances.
The 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony specified at Grammy.com lists the date of February 10, 2013, when they will reveal the award-winning artists in 81 Best Album Award categories. During the upcoming awards presentation on February 10, 2013, the CBS Television Network will once more broadcast the official ceremony live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California at 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.
I have interviewed or written album reviews for a number of GRAMMY® Award/Nominated artists over the years so visitors new to this music blogspot can read information about artists in this year and past years award competition in the New Age, Instrumental, Americana, Soundtrack, and World music genre categories.
The 6 Nominees in the new age music category (#30) are shown alphabetically. I have sampled all 6 albums and can say they are all great releases worthy of the world’s most prestigious award. You may sample or purchase each Artist’s Nominated album by direct links to each album at Amazon.com. Read more music news at Grammy.com and the complete category list of 81 Nominees at Grammy.com. Photos are courtesy each artist & Big Stock Photo – HelleM.
The 55th GRAMMY® Nominees – New Age Album Category are:
1. Echoes Of Love by Omar Akram. Sample or purchase Echoes Of Love at Amazon.com.
2. Live Ananda by Krishna Das. Sample or purchase Live Ananda at Amazon.com.
3. Bindu by Michael Brant DeMaria. Sample or purchase Bindu at Amazon.com.
4. Deep Alpha by Steven Halpern. Sample or purchase Deep Alpha at Amazon.com.
5. Light Body by Peter Kater. Sample or purchase Light Body at Amazon.com.
6. Troubadours On The Rhine by Loreena McKennitt. Troubadours On The Rhine at Amazon.com.
It stands to reason when searching for the best new age music ever on the internet, only the very finest music available is what you are looking for. Thanks to search engines, online music stores, and social media sites, finding the best albums in all popular music genres has become much easier. Even music blogs like this site play an essential role by publishing their yearly award recommendations for best new albums of the year.
Hello everyone, my name is John P. Olsen. In my role as interview host and review publicist at New Age Music World, I have sampled many of the very best new age songs and albums artists worldwide produced in 2012. Like previous years, I have had the opportunity to write review publications for a respectable number of new age, instrumental, and world albums released in 2012, of the nearly 200 new albums in all categories sent to me for review consideration this year.
While the new age music genre in general covers an extensive range in compositional style with varying elements from one album to the next, there are a number of factors that help me determine which artists I believe have produced a quality album nearly everyone will enjoy listening to in the fascinating new age music category.
One characteristic everyone can count on like all other music category are the select number of top shelf music recordings artists created that seem to rise above and stand out from the rest. With so many new releases in 2012 to choose from why wait any longer? Today I am pleased to present my yearly awards recommendation for the 10 best new age albums I have sampled or reviewed in 2012.
My selection of the 10 Best New Age Albums is listed in alphabetical order using the artist’s name. If you would like to find new music from many of today’s top new age artists, this publication includes direct links so you may visit each artist to sample or purchase music direct from the artist or select from their online stores.
Best New Age Music Albums in 2012:
1. Intuition by Dan Kennedy.
The contemporary piano instrumental album Intuition, by Dan Kennedy is a stylish collection of 10 songs total, with several new age solo piano pieces. The extensive list of professionals providing instrumental include David cullen, Jeff haynes, Jill Haley, Steve Holley, Mehuman Jonson, and Premik Russell Tubbs. Together the artists have performed with Whitney Houston, Paul McCartney, Pat Metheny, Santana and Cassandra Wilson.
Dan Kennedy, who began his career playing improvisational piano music in coffee shops, delivers a wonderfully diverse atmosphere on his newest release Intuition. Produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning Corin Nelsen, Dan Kennedy’s sensational Intuition conveys his forte with creating an upbeat, rhythmic brand of contemporary music in classic fashion. Find the artist at DanKennedy.us and sample or purchase Intuition.
2. Tomorrow Will Tell The Story by Echo Us.
Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is a progressive concept album featuring 12 songs illustrated by an experimental range of musical textures, brought to life by Ethan Matthews, Echo Us guitarist and founder of the progressive rock band Greyhaven. The group’s primary artists are GRAMMY® Nominated singer and songwriter Henta, and harpist Raelyn Olson.
The most interesting feature with Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is the futuristic blend of electronic landscapes set to vocal overlays in a neo-classical, ambient fusion. The deep enigmatic atmosphere, unlike anything you have heard before will leave you breathless! Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is the second release in a multi-album concept project, and follow-up to earlier releases The Tide Decides & Echo Us. Find more about the artist at EchoUs.net and to sample or purchase Tomorrow Will Tell The Story. Look for another release by this unique group named Echo Us.
3. Glimmerings by Elika Mahony.
International recording artist Elika Mahony has given the world one beautiful piano and instrumental album with her 12 original songs on Glimmerings, whose tonal depth and beauty go far beyond what I first anticipated. Currently over thirty online radio stations worldwide, like UK based One World Radio and Celtic Radio are apparently reaching the same conclusion by their constant online radio airtime.
The 12 songs on Glimmerings are mainly solo piano pieces. Beautiful as the solo piano songs are themselves, the piano and instrumental songs Realization & Final Journey are equally beautiful and expertly conveyed by international, award-winning cellist, Bo Peng. Elika Mahony, who was born in the United States and raised in Kenya, now lives in China where she is truly making a grand impression on persons from every corner of the globe. Find more about the artist at ElikaMahony.com and to sample or purchase Glimmerings.
4. Symphonic Arts by Gleisberg.
Symphonic Arts by Gleisberg is a 2012 release of 10 orchestrations that are uniquely bold and dynamic while embracing a classical atmosphere on this new age instrumental album. Rudiger Gleisberg is a music teacher from Germany, renowned for creating works of music far from conventional for over 25 years. Clearly the year 2012 is no exception.
Symphonic orchestrations are the best way to describe the graceful songs which were recorded with members of the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra of Odessa, Ukraine. The cinematic depth and beauty of rich orchestrations are what make this release special. Rudiger Gleisberg’s extraordinary talents as a composer and instrumentalist are vividly apparent in Symphonic Arts. You may find more about the artist at R-Gleisberg.de or visit BSCmusic.com to sample or purchase Symphonic Arts by Gleisberg.
5. Beyond the Turning by Heidi Breyer.
Beyond the Turning features 14 eloquent piano instrumental songs by artist Heidi Breyer. This is her third album, and follow-up to Another Place and Time, an album produced by founder of Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman. Another Place and Time earned Heidi 2 ZMR Awards in 2010 for Best New Artist & Best Instrumental Piano Album.
Beyond the Turning, produced by GRAMMY® Winning producer and engineer Corin Nelsen, is another magnificent testimonial to the talents of composing pianist Heidi Breyer. An elemental variation in moods and influences is what makes Beyond the Turning shine from the rest. Artists include Eugene Friesen, Charlie Bisharat, Samite, Michael Manring, Steve Holley, Jeff Haynes, Jill Haley and David Cullen. You may find more about the artist at HeidiBreyer.com and to sample or purchase Beyond the Turning.
6. These Are the Moments by Michael Dulin.
New Age recording artist Michael Dulin has delivered his very best collection of 16 songs from six of his most popular piano albums over the years with These Are the Moments. The 16 songs at over an hour in duration are mainly solo piano pieces, with several songs having instrumental accompaniment and song finale by vocalist Jeania Major.
For the modern day composer and concert pianist Michael Dulin, who happens to be a classically trained pianist and Juilliard School graduate, composing emotionally compelling music is purely a natural process. Included are in this wonderful album are two of my favorite songs, Moonlight Sonata & Winter Dreams, featuring Jeania Major, who was a finalist in a Cirque du Soleil national talent search. Listen to Michael Dulin’s best of the best album at MichaelDulin.com and to sample or purchase These Are the Moments.
7. Between The Shores of Our Souls by Mirabai Ceiba.
Passionate beauty in the form of heartfelt vocals intertwined with a warm instrumental setting are the divine elements for Between The Shores of Our Souls by Mirabai Ceiba. Peaceful harmony and poetic verses are gently brought to life on the 10 songs that are magnificently serene and light to the touch, yet show inner depth and romantic intensity.
Mirabai Ceiba is comprised of guitarist and vocalist Markus Sieber, and harpist, keboardist and vocalist Angelika Baumbach. Top ranked instrumental artist join Markus and Angelika on Between The Shores of Our Souls, like Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, cellist Noah Hoffeld and Yoed Nir, Megan Gould on violin and viola. Jamshied Sharifi performs keyboards, bass, and strings, and Benjamin Wittman on percussion. Find more about the artist at MirabaiCeiba.com and to sample or purchase Between The Shores of Our Souls.
8. Lovers by Paul Avgerinos.
The new electronic instrumental album Lovers is a serene collection of 11 songs by one of today’s best producers of ambient music, Paul Avgerinos. Recognized as a pillar in the new age music industry today as he was yesteryear, GRAMMY® Nominated composer Paul Avgerinos is a constant, award-winning frontrunner in the ambient music scene.
Paul Avgerinos is owner of Round Sky Music record label, Studio Unicorn recording producer, and an artist with a long history of winning best album and song awards over the course of his career. In addition Paul has performed with major symphony orchestras and toured with legendary artists Charles Aznavour, Liza Minelli, Buddy Rich, and composed over one hundred music scores for major television networks HBO, PBS, and Lifetime. Find more about the artist at RoundSkyMusic.com and to sample or purchase Lovers.
9. Sounds from the Circle 4 by Suzanne Doucet.
Sounds from the Circle 4 is the fourth MP3 compilation by members of Suzanne Doucet’s New Age Music Circle online community forum. Produced by Suzanne Doucet, Sounds from the Circle 4 is one of the best song collections of new age and sub-genres in 2012. Like all Circle Albums the fourth release is a quality driven song compilation sampler.
The diverse music styles heard on all Sounds from the Circle albums include acoustic, ambient, chill out, classical, contemporary instrumental, electronic, groove, meditation, neo-classical, piano, progressive, world, and vocal. International artists from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, Norway, Spain, the United States, and other countries make this release special. Join or visit Music Circle members at NewAgeMusik.Ning.com. Sample or purchase Sounds from the Circle IV at iTunes.
10. Mountains Take Wing by Timothy Wenzel.
Instrumental new age recording artist Timothy Wenzel has a decisively elegant music recording for 2012. I was amazed to learn the 12 electronic, acoustic songs on Mountains Take Wing is his first release. For Timothy Wenzel, who lives near the mountains of West Virginia, composing majestic songs inspired by nature is a natural process.
Mountains Take Wing reaches a full palette in rhythm and harmony like heard in the title song Mountains Take Wing & Christopher’s Dreams. Timothy Wenzel has already been a finalist in prestigious music awards including Hollywood Music in Media Awards, UK Songwriting Contest, USA Songwriting Contest, and West Coast Songwriters International Competition. Find more about the artist at TimothyWenzel.com and to sample or purchase Mountains Take Wing, and another 2012 album, A Coalescence of Dreams.
This concludes my Best New Age Albums in 2012 recommendations. Look for more outstanding new releases this year when I present the Best Instrumental Albums – 2012 on New Year’s Day 2013.
Cover art courtesy of each artist. Big Stock Photo by Paul_Lewis.
When selecting music for yourself or for another as a gift, it’s obvious from an auditory point of view the album cover artwork has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the quality of music you are about to purchase. For many consumers however the visual qualities of album cover artwork created by a designer or photographer can make a difference. In some cases the visual features of an album cover can influence a consumer, and may even prevent a shopper from making a purchase.
Cover artwork for any music genre is in effect, an artistic statement to the contents inside like an advertisement. The Rolling Stones Magazine published a reader’s poll of the best album covers of all time last year. Listed in order, The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon & Nirvana’s Nevermind album, were the top 3 best album cover art picks.
If you visit Rolling Stones Magazine, you will most likely recognize the album artwork in their publication. The Rolling Stone Magazine’s list, chosen by readers was often selected based on their notoriety or artwork created for superstar artists or famous celebrities.
The Rolling Stones (band) Sticky Fingers album with a working zipper and a painting by Andy Warhol are two more famous album covers readers selected the best album covers in Rolling Stone’s Top 100 list. There is even a GRAMMY® Award for Best Recording Package, which began in 1959 with the first award given to Frank Sinatra for the LP vinyl record cover Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely.
When selecting the Best Album Cover Artwork below, I decided to go a step further by choosing 16 visually and audibly appealing album covers in the Instrumental, New Age, Progressive Rock, and World music genres. While each organization makes their selections for the best album cover art based on different rules or guidelines, in terms of aesthetic value, the cover art collection I selected gives you get the best of both worlds, so sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy the music!
Read the RollingStone.com publication Reader’s Poll: The Best Album Covers of all time, along with the Wikipedia page for Best Recording Package. The cover artwork shown is courtesy of each artist. Big Stock Photo – Dogi78.
16 Best Album Cover Artwork:
Best Cover Art Award – Albums & Artists:
1. Believe album by 2002 – 2002Music.com
2. Island Paradise album by Hennie Bekker – HennieBekker.com
3. El Dorado album by Luna Blanca – LunaBlancaMusic.com
4. Elysium album by Jo Blankenburg – JoBlankenburg.com
5. Floating on a Melody album by Christopher Boscole – ChristopherBoscole.com
6. Great and Terrible Potions album by Ben Craven – BenCraven.com
7. The Memory of Trees album by Enya – Enya.com
8. Altitudes album by Fredziak – Arts21.net
9. Forest Piano album by Dan Gibson – Solitudes.com
10. Guitarrista album by Ciro Hurtado – CiroHurtado.com
11. Sacred Journey Vol. 4 album by Kitaro – Kitaro.com
12. Logical Drift album by Logical Drift – LogicalDrift.com
13. The Fusion Syndicate album by Billy Sherwood – BillySherwoodhq.com
14. Ambient Monkeys album by Tangerine Dream – TangerineDream-Music.com
15. Soul Food album by Raven Wolf – PugDogRecords.com
16. Relayer album by Yes – YesWorld.com
Performed Live Concert Review – The 15th Anniversary Concert: The Artists of Eversound Live 2012.
With the end of 2012 nearing, it will soon be my privilege to write several music award publications about the best new albums sent to me for review this year. With the ongoing count of nearly 200 CD album mailings sent to me for possible review this year alone and overwhelming number of superb albums to choose from making a decision is not going to be an easy task for one person to make.
The Artists of Eversound – LIVE!! 15th Anniversary Concert by music category alone is one of the most exclusive album selections from the rest by the total count of outstanding artists on one live concert album. The Artists of Eversound is a live compilation album featuring Eversound Label artists performing 12 songs during a live evening concert event in Santa Barbara, California during 2012. It’s a special song sampler of the very best the Eversound team has produced to date!
Every artist has their own individual style naturally, but if I were to make a statement in general regarding the entire artist directory it would include the quality of their instrumental skills and artisanship as a whole. Rarely do you find the universal characteristics of consistently beautiful melodies, upbeat rhythms and all-inclusive selection of wonderful vocalists like heard on the 15th Anniversary Concert album. With all things considered, presenting this quality group was an easy choice to make after all. With Christmas and the holiday gift giving season right around the corner, may I recommend the convenient and inexpensive gift of music to friends and family.
Visit EverSound.com to sample and purchase albums, and read detailed biographies at the Eversound Artists section. Shown below is the EverSound Ensemble Concert Trailer video. Cover artwork is courtesy eversound.com.
The 15th Anniversary Concert: The Artists of Eversound:
The 12 songs and artists are Joy to Joy – Stuart Hoffman, Courage to Change – Cara Tower, Our Love is Forever – Curtis Macdonald, Rumba Chulita – Manuel Iman, Serena Paz – Eduardo del Signore featuring Daya, Turning – Suzanne Ciani, Om Shanti – Diane Arkenstone, Heal Love, Be Love – Amanda Blue, When You Walk Into the Room – Steve McPeters, Santa Barbara – Manuel Iman, You Get More Beautiful – Stuart Hoffman featuring Daya, Always Remembering You – John Adorney featuring Daya. In addition to the artists, special guests are Fuzzbee Morse, Richard Hardy, and a 10 piece ensemble performed supporting instrumentals during the concert event in Santa Barbra, California.
New Album Review – Boundaries of Imagination by Bryan El.
The year 2012 wouldn’t have been the same without another new album, EP or new songs by the sensational electronic music composer Bryan El.
For the artist from Belgium who specializes in electronic music it has now become clear after his third release there is a conscious effort made on his part to focus on quality verses quantity, with his classical symphonic music.
Two years in the making, this is proven to be the case behind his quality driven 13 new songs on his album in 2012 titled Boundaries of Imagination.
Bryan El’s earlier albums Out of this World from 2008, and Spiritual Evolution from 2010, are some of the best electronic albums in the classical symphonic, music categories. With the introduction of high-tech electronic equipment and newest synthesizers arrives a new-found sense of empowerment, especially when placed in the hands of a great composing artist like Bryan El whose electronic music is brilliantly delivered, time and again with jaw dropping effect.
Boundaries of Imagination is comparable to Out of this World & Spiritual Evolution by the unique Bryan El signature sound recognizable from the beginning song, but there are several distinctions with the 13 new electronic songs from his first two releases.
Boundaries of Imagination is perhaps lighter or more refined than the first two, but a dazzling album focused on intricate detailing and deep melodic phrasing fans are sure to enjoy. Another point of interest I thought significance is the song Angels Cry which features the elegant vocalist Amethyste, whose singing clearly delivers the lyrical verses written by Michael Leonard and Bryan El in wonderful fashion.
It may be unclear if Bryan El is shifting more toward the territory of electronic pop or not, but no matter which direction he travels going forward, it’s like the title of his dazzling new hit album implies, it will arrive at the outer boundaries of imagination.
Pre-release Easy Listening Album Review for – Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage by Susan Boyle.
It can be said the life story of Susan Boyle is an inspiration to those who know her best, but by all accounts, Susan Boyle is an inspiration to untold millions of people worldwide. It’s as if her sudden rise to stardom after appearing on the television reality show Britain’s Got Talent was meant to be, if not a dream come true.
Now with the prominence of a top ranked seasoned professional, best-selling albums, and top of the chart success covering five continents in over twenty countries, once again she is destined to sing her way into the hearts of millions. Some may find it ironic knowing it all began with the song I Dreamed a Dream.
Susan Boyle’s three earlier albums I Dreamed A Dream, The Gift & Someone To Watch Over Me are all popular, easy listening vocal albums loved by an constantly increasing fan base that spans the globe.
Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage is the newest album by Susan Boyle, due to be released on November 13, 2012. Her newest release is a compilation of classic songs, and as the album subtitle suggests, are 11 favorite songs performed in the theater and some of the greatest movies ever produced.
One day prior to the release of her new album on November 13, 2012 Susan Boyle appeared on NBC’s Today Show Concert Series, and performed the Abba cover song The Winner Takes It All. If you listened to her sing live for the first time it was a beautiful introduction.
For the millions of people who know her story and have listened to the soprano sing, simply discovering the talents of Susan Boyle has been the shared moment of victory uniting us all.
The 11 songs on Standing Ovation are Somewhere Over The Rainbow, The Winner Takes It All, Send In The Clowns, The Music Of The Night featuring Michael Crawford, Bring Him Home, Memory, As Long As He Needs Me, All I Ask Of You featuring Donny Osmond, Out Here On My Own, You’ll Never Walk Alone, This Is The Moment featuring Donny Osmond.
Sample all 11 songs from Standing Ovation on the music video below. It is hard to believe but it was reported one earlier YouTube video reached viewership of almost 2.5 million hits within the first seventy two hours, which is a testament to her popularity. Read Susan Boyle’s inspiring story and sample or purchase at SusanBoyleMusic.com or find the audio CD and mp3 downloads for Standing Ovation at Amazon.com on November 13, 2012.
New Music from Sounds True – Introducing a New Collection of Yoga and Meditation Albums by a Health and Wellness Leader.
The Sounds True Music Label is one of the leading record labels featuring a large selection of top quality artists in a variety of music genres and sub-genres. Founded in 1985 by Tami Simon, her leadership has since transformed Sounds True into more than a successful record label.
Sounds True today is an independent multimedia publishing company with hundreds of wellness and personal development products by leading authors and teachers who are specialist in the health and wellness industry.
Health and wellness products from Sounds True include over 500 spoken word audio titles, learning courses, books, interactive learning kits, instructional DVDs, and of course their best new music in a variety of styles.
The new albums on the Sounds True Label I would like to tell you about today are each unique in their category, and each album is available in audio CD or mp3 digital download formats. A sampling of Sounds True music categories include holiday music, inspirational, yoga, massage, meditation, motivational, new age, wellness, and world music. The four new albums below are by quality artists who specialize in their individual style of music.
1. Yoga Is Union by Tom Colletti is music made for yoga and relaxation. Featuring 12 songs, Yoga Is Union is making a big hit with New York City yoga specialists, where top yoga practitioners selected Yoga Is Union the best yoga album yet. Tom Colletti created an upbeat contemporary album with relaxing qualities made for modern day fitness.
2. Crystal Bowl Sound Healing by Tryshe Dhevney is a meditative album in the wellness department. Featuring 5 peaceful arrangements, Crystal Bowl Sound Healing employs the reverberation sounds of crystal bowls to relax and calm the listener. Tryshe Dhevney is a leading authority and instructor specializing in vocal sound healing and chakra toning.
3. Medicine Melodies by Silvia Nakkach is a health and wellness album from a leading practitioner and consultant recognized worldwide. Presenting 19 songs on Medicine Melodies, Silvia Nakkach introduces a relaxing blend of vocal harmonies on her new album in collaboration with another fine composer and instrumentalist Christopher Eickmann.
4. Gypsy Grooves by Priyo is an upbeat song collection of Spanish melodies by acoustic guitar design. With 15 groove and world music percussion rhythms in the Flamenco guitar tradition, I found Gypsy Grooves a dynamic fusion of acoustic instrumentals and vocals. Acoustic refrains accentuate a wonderful vibrancy while backing poetic verses.
When it comes to some of the best music collections made for relaxation, yoga, or for health and well-being, the large selection of artists from the Sounds True Label may be precisely what you are looking for. Also available is Sounds True Direct Access online membership program offering discounts, free programs and exclusive offers. Included is the Sounds True Radio, weekly radio podcast, free downloads and gifts, plus a great selection of merchandise from their catalog.
Visit SoundsTrue.com to find out more and sample or purchase any of the above albums at the Sounds True music shop. Company banner and album cover artwork is courtesy soundstrue.com.
Pianist Jim Brickman – Concert Tour Schedule for 2012 & 2013.
Multi-platinum selling pianist Jim Brickman is one of today’s contemporary artists whose selection of romantic piano and Christmas music spans across a wide selection of popular music genres. With 6 Gold and Platinum albums, 2 GRAMMY® Nominations, and 30 chart topping adult radio hits, no doubt Jim Brickman is accustomed to being the recipient of prestigious awards and recognition.
Along with 2 SESAC Songwriter of the Year awards, a Canadian Country Music Award, and a Gospel Music Association Dove Award, top artist Jim Brickman is tied for the most #1 albums in Billboard’s New Age charts. Likewise, Jim Brickman is renowned as the greatest pianist in the Adult Contemporary genre category, having made the Billboard Charts more than any other male performer.
Presently Jim Brickman’s Romanza album, which peaked at the #1position, has spent a total of 51 weeks in Billboard’s Top 10 New Age Chart. With this high favorability rating, chart topping hits, and music awards, no wonder Jim Brickman is one of America’s favorite concert performers in the instrumental music category.
Jim Brickman’s Holiday Concert Tour in 2012, is billed as “Jim Brickman on a Winter’s Night.” According to his website the 2012 concert tour began on November 2, 2012 in Lake Jackson, Texas with numerous concert dates scheduled in 2012. The Jim Brickman Concert Tour for 2013 begins on January 19, 2013 in the Caribbean Islands, with the show taking place during the Jim Brickman Cruise for 2013. Given his popularity, it’s easy to see why he is considered one of the top recording concert pianists in the new age instrumental music category.
There are presently around 50 concert dates scheduled between the 2012 Concert starting date and the up to date of March 28, 2013 in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada at the Festival Place, so check the Jim Brickman Concert Tour Page for 2012 – 2013. There are sure to be upcoming show additions so check back for concert schedule updates in your area. If you missed it, read my Interview with Jim Brickman. For news and information visit JimBrickman.com and find full concert schedule on the Jim Brickman 2012 – 2013 Tour. Photo courtesy jimbrickman.com.
Best of Progressive Rock Review – The Fusion Syndicate: Legendary Progressive Rock Superstars & Legendary Jazz Fusion Artists Unite on the New 2012 Progressive/Fusion Song Collection produced by Billy Sherwood.
Many of the best known names in progressive rock have come together on a collection of songs for a new album produced by famed guitarist, and former YES band member Billy Sherwood.
The Fusion Syndicate is an innovative 2012 release containing some of the best song collections of rock jazz fusion with a superstar cast and crew of music legends. This time around intricate rhythms and soulful improvisation dazzle, in a best new album in 2012 – The Fusion Syndicate.
Featuring top artists in the progressive rock, and jazz fusion scene The Fusion Syndicate boasts performances by best artists in their class like Brand X, Dream Theater, Hawkwind, King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Porcupine Tree, Soft Machine, Spyrogyra, Tool, Yellowjackets, YES, and others.
Earlier this year Billy Sherwood produced The Prog Collective & Songs Of The Century which combined, features a superstar cast and crew of none other than John Wetton (Asia), Tony Levin (King Crimson), Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia), Alan Parsons (Alan Parsons Project), Chris Squire (Yes), Rick Wakeman (Yes), Larry Fast (Peter Gabriel).
The stellar lineup of famed performing progressive rock artists also include John Wesley (Porcupine Tree), Mickey Thomas (Starship), Steve Morse (Deep Purple) & Tony Kaye (Yes), Richard Page (Mr. Mister) & Peter Banks (Yes), Colin Moulding (XTC) & Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia), Annie Haslam (Renaissance) & David Sancious (Bruce Springsteen s E Street Band), Gary Green (Gentle Giant) & Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Roye Albrighton (Nektar) & Steve Porcaro (Toto), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow), Rod Argent (The Zombies), Robby Krieger (The Doors), and Dave Kerzner.
Billy Sherwood has also released his sixth solo album Art Of Survival in 2012. This year yielded a bounty of the best progressive rock albums to choose from, but in terms of a one of a kind collection of songs like this, where else can you find a lineup of legendary progressive rockers like this on a single album. Put another way, The Fusion Syndicate is one of the best new song collections featuring an extensive lineup of legendary progressive rock artists.
To sample or purchase visit Cleopatra Records store for The Fusion Syndicate. Cover artwork courtesy cleorecs.com.
The Fusion Syndicate – Best of Progressive Rock Artists and Songs:
Artists performing on The Fusion Syndicate include: Rick Wakeman (Yes), Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Nik Turner (Hawkwind), Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets/Alan Holdsworth), Steve Stevens, Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater/Liquid Tension Experiment), Mel Collins (King Crimson), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Jay Beckenstein (Spyrogyra), Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai), Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree), David Sancious (The E Street Band), Larry Coryell, Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater/Black Country Communion), Eric Marienthal (Chick Corea Elektric Band), Chester Thompson (Genesis/Frank Zappa), Steve Morse (Dixie Dreggs/Deep Purple), Jim Beard (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Randy Brecker (Blood, Sweat & Tears/Brecker Brothers), Percy Jones (Soft Machine/Brand X), John Etheridge (Soft Machine), Tony Kaye (Yes), Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa), Steve Hillage (Gong), Scott Kinsey (Tribal Tech), Theo Travis (Steven Wilson Band), Justin Chancellor (Tool), Asaf Sirkis, (The Orient House Ensemble).
The Fusion Syndicate songs: 1. Random Acts Of Science 2. Stone Cold Infusion 3. Molecular Breakdown 4. Particle Accelerations 5. At The Edge Of The Middle 6. Atom Smashing 7. In The Spirit Of.
Soundtrack Review: The Last of The Mohicans Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by cinematic composers Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman, featuring a song by the group Clannad.
If you are a movie soundtrack music enthusiast, no doubt you have heard the original score for The Last of The Mohicans. The movie itself is a critically acclaimed masterpiece, and equally so for the 1992 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack score for The Last of The Mohicans by cinematic film composers Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman.
Many would agree the 16 songs on The Last of The Mohicans album is in the top 25 best soundtracks, if not one of the best cinematic movie scores ever produced. It’s hard to imagine the movie without the violin melodies and full orchestration like heard in the main title song Promentory composed by Trevor Jones, or the deeply moving song The Courier composed by Randy Edelman. Even the Irish band Clannad of Celtic pop, New Age fame aptly convey fine cinematic qualities on the final song by Clannad titled I Will Find You.
Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman are individually accomplished artists themselves, and top movie soundtrack composers with a long list of popular movie scores to their credit. The two film composers are equally famous for thrilling movie going audiences with their artful cinematic scores considered by many to be among some of the best movie soundtracks ever produced.
The passing of Native American activist and actor Russell Means, who played the leading role of Chingachgook, has brought renewed interest and meaning to his true to life role, the movie, and this excellent movie soundtrack, which survives today as one of the most fascinating music scores in the movie soundtrack genre.
Find The Last of The Mohicans at Amazon.com in CD and digital downloads, and visit the composers at TrevorJonesFilmMusic.com and RandyEdelman.com. Please Note: The YouTube video shows actual film scenes from the motion picture, which has an R Rating, so the video below is not suitable for younger viewers. The HD quality video is the song Promontory from Last of the Mohicans soundtrack. Big Stock Photo – PosterPuppy.
55th GRAMMY® Awards – Program Schedule and Event Information for the 55th GRAMMY® Awards & Nomination Shows Honoring the Best Artists & Best Albums in 2013.
News and schedule information for the 55th GRAMMYS® has been announced giving the date, time and location for the most prestigious music awards honoring the best artists and best albums in 2013.
Complete details for the 55th Music Awards Ceremony specified at the Grammy.com website announce the upcoming date as February 10, 2013, held at the previous location as last year’s ceremony, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
The CBS Television Network will broadcast the live event in 2013 at 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT. Prior to the Live Awards Ceremony, select GRAMMY® Nominees will be announced in another live concert event on December 5, 2012 in Nashville Tennessee.
The ceremony this year is publicized as “The GRAMMY Nomination Concert Live!! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night.” The CBS Television Network will air the live televised show featuring music performances by past winners and nominees on December 5, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT and 9:00 p.m. CT.
The Annual GRAMMY® Awards is ranked in viewership popularity as one of the highest rated television special programs. Last year’s televised live 54th Annual Awards program reported 39.9 million viewers worldwide. This year’s primetime live awards presentation is expected to be another record breaking year for TV viewership.
Artists within the New Age, Instrumental, Americana, World, and every other music genre have been submitting their music and ballot information pertaining to their newest release in 2012 in hopes they too will be nominated and eventually selected for a best album award during the televised awards presentation ceremony.
Like previous years I have written articles or interviewed GRAMMY® Award/Nominated artists, so visitors new to this music blog can read more about artists in this year’s and past years award competition in the New Age, Instrumental, Americana, and World music genres.
Nicholas Gunn Interview – Special News in 2013 and Forward:
Multi-platinum recording artist Nicholas Gunn is a classically trained flutist recognized as one of the best-selling instrumental flutists worldwide.
Famous for the contemporary atmosphere and resounding beauty of his music, Nicholas Gunn has achieved earlier success of over 2 million albums sold, having become a legendary artist in the instrumental music industry, with many of his albums reaching the Top 10 Billboard Charts.
Nicholas Gunn’s newest instrumental release for 2012, and perhaps most significant of all is his fourteenth album named Thirty-One Nights, which arrives after an interval of 5 years. The highest standards we have come to expect are expertly portrayed on Thirty-One Nights, which enlists the world-class talents of vocalist Dana Kemmerle, along with acoustic guitarist Chris Fossek.
New Age Music World host John P. Olsen had an opportunity to interview Nicholas Gunn months prior to 2013. During the newest interview with Nicholas Gunn the range of topic include a conversation about his new album, history and career as an artist, National Park albums, and the Gemini Sun Records Label he once owned and operated.
Nicholas Gunn also states his views on today’s music industry and the upcoming Ballots and Nominations for the 55th GRAMMY® Awards. And perhaps most importantly, Nicholas Gunn has released a significant news announcement regarding his music career going forward. Today we are pleased to present their conversation to fans, and to Music World site visitors.
John P. Olsen: Thank you for accepting my interview invitation Nicholas. It is a privilege to host your newest interview in 2012, here at New Age Music World. I have been a huge fan of your music for many years, plus I enjoyed reading even more about you while preparing for our interview together. I must say you have experienced a fascinating life and career Nicholas.
Nicholas Gunn: Thank you John, it is really a pleasure to be a part of your music forum today, and it’s great to see how popular New Age Music World has become.
John: Thanks for your compliment! Let me begin with your earliest experiences as a musician, since your educational studies seem to have been a formative influence in the music you produce today. You were born in South East England, and were academically trained from age 7 to 11 in classical music at the Royal Academy of Music conservatoire in the UK. While attending the Royal Academy of Music, what led you to choose woodwinds over other instruments, and would you please tell us about your earliest academic studies, training and first introduction to music while living in the UK?
Nicholas Gunn: I grew up in a small, quaint village called Hartlip in Kent County England. It was in many ways a beautiful childhood. I think when there is that much space around you and the chatter is minimized, it’s easier to focus on things such as music. When I was around 5 or 6 I used to watch Top of the Pops on TV and tap away on the side of the couch. I think my folks were listening carefully to see if I had any sense of rhythm and inclination for music.
My Grandfather was a professional guitar player with The Felix Mendelssohn Orchestra so I think there was a desire in many ways to keep the music going in the family. I remember at 6 seeing a performance on TV of Sir James Galway and thinking how beautiful the flute sounded. It stuck with me and when my folks asked me what I wanted to play as an instrument that’s immediately what I said. It’s crazy really, the next thing I know I am taking lessons at 6 from the Royal Marines Bands principle flautist, Mick Judson. An incredible experience, full of wonder and endless possibilities!
He would come to my house in Hartlip once or twice a week for lessons and I would take my exams in London; it was a lot for a young kid but really rewarding. He was a great instructor and man, and a big part of the foundation my music is built upon. One time, Mick allowed me to sit with him in the pit orchestra to the musical Oliver in London, and I remember having a brief encounter with Sir James Galway during this time and thinking, this is really what I want to do!
By the time we moved to Los Angeles in 1979 I had music training most eleven year olds rarely acquire and was a misfit really. It was tough, as an eleven year old boy, walking with your flute to band through junior high school. I witnessed a huge disparity in culture and acceptance of art on multiple levels. It was cruel and I was pissed off at these kids that bullied me. There were several occasions I would walk outside of gym class and I would have my ass handed to me on a platter for playing flute. Its cliche really, all band kids experience bullying, some more than others, it’s just the way it was and sometimes still is. My music holds a sense of compassion I have trouble finding otherwise. I believe it has healed me and allowed me an outlet of expression to resolve these feelings for myself. I like to believe there is no anger in my music, just love, beauty, compassion, and acceptance. I wanted to convey that message.
John: Knowing now that the Royal Academy of Music Alumni include other great artists like Elton John, Annie Lennox and Michael Nyman, and others; did you appreciate the fact at the time you were beginning a strong foundation for a successful music career later in life?
Nicholas Gunn: No, not really, not at that time. I had no idea about any of those things. It was more a feeling of this is what everyone does. When you are that young, there is no real sense for “aligning” yourself within academics or community. I pretty much followed what my folks told me to do, and believed it to be normal, and now have immense appreciation for them guiding me and recognizing my potential.
John: Classical music influences are apparent in your compositions, including your new album Thirty-One Nights. What classical music elements, for example structure, rhythm or metrics, do you find most appealing?
Nicholas Gunn: I have to say it’s the interplay between rhythm and melody. Being a flautist, I studied mostly counterpoint theory at the academy. We poured over the great composers in detail and I absorbed the constant interplay you find in lead lines, counter melody lines, and the foundation it all sits upon; rhythm. I believe that one essential element of music is structure. Meaning; memorable, reoccurring, lasting melody will always make an impression on the listener over a long extended period of time.
As an instrumentalist I find it even more important to remember this. Strong verse, chorus, turnaround and bridge are vital to great compositions. If the music lacks a lyric and a vocal, I believe it’s even more important to impress structure and melody on the listener. Think about it, music in the moment can be inspirational, but if one can reflect upon a composition because of its melody and literally be transported to that moment in time again, that is the true essence of the music experience on the human experience.
John: What was the turning point when you decided to pursue a challenging career as an artist?
Nicholas Gunn: When I was around 16-17 years old I side stepped flute for a few years and took up drums, playing in both marching band and several rock bands. I literally played the kit in every bar on the Sunset Strip over a three year period including The Whiskey, The Roxy, Madam Wong’s, The Troubadour, etc. It was a great experience at a very young age and it gave me the douse of confidence I needed. I had a brief stint doing some commercials and modeling as well and actually made a few bucks but that’s a whole different story! I came out of this phase “knowing” I guess you could say, that there was only one direction for me, and that was to fully immerse myself into creating my own instrumental music.
I was a huge fan of Vangelis, Jean Michael Jarre, Pink Floyd etc., and saw that instrumental music had its place in the market and was growing at that time. I bought some recording gear and schooled myself in engineering and production, learning how to get recordings to sound great! I went down to Westlake Studios and other studios in West Hollywood and just hung out asking awesome stupid questions and rubbing shoulders with the best engineers. There was no question afterward that I was fiercely dedicated to making my own music.
John: You released your first album Afternoon In Sedona in 1992, and a year later re-released Afternoon In Sedona thru the Real Music record label, which directly influenced sales, and changed the course of your career, isn’t that right?
Nicholas Gunn: That’s pretty accurate I would say. Before being signed to Real Music I had worked pretty hard to get popular retail chains such as Natural Wonders and Nature Company to recognize myself release of Afternoon in Sedona. Those were great retail chains and they focused on a select amount of instrumental titles in their thousands of high end stores. It was easy math really; mass retail exposure, select titles, genre specific, those were great days for sales! I had sent Real Music several submissions of Afternoon in Sedona but it was only until Natural Wonders showed interest they offered me a deal. It made sense for everyone and we re-worked the album a little and re-released in 1993 to moderate success, not big success mind you! There was a heightened awareness of the product but it was not until my second album The Sacred Fire that things changed drastically.
John: That’s right your 1994 release The Sacred Fire, was the first album to make the Top 10 Billboard Charts in the new age category. Were you surprised by making the Billboard Top 10 New Age chart verses another category since your albums can be placed in a broader, instrumental or world music category?
Nicholas Gunn: No, I was not surprised actually. Real Music had made it clear we were binning the album New Age at retail. Back in those days, binning was integral to sales and exposure and once you chose your category, well you’re pretty much stuck, especially if you sell.
The New Age chart was an accessible chart as well, meaning it was an emerging genre and not so saturated with other artists. The Sacred Fire actually did not receive its initial success at conventional retail but started selling big at both Natural Wonders and at Nature Company.
The album was literally blowing out the doors holding a #1 chart position in the chains for a year or so. Around this time conventional retail chains such as Borders and Barnes were watching this emerging genre closely and started to expand their New Age Music selections and positioning.
The Sacred Fire album, along with my third album, The Music of the Grand Canyon, which closely followed, was embraced and we finally received chart position through sales at these and similar retail chains.
John: I must say your newest release Thirty-One Nights, which debuted on the Billboard Top Ten New Age Chart, is a beautifully designed album Nicholas. Your albums have consistently made the Top 10 Billboard Charts over the years, so I wondered is making the Billboard Chart is an accurate litmus test for an album’s success over the long haul?
Nicholas Gunn: Thank you John, I am happy to hear Thirty-One Nights resonates with you. This is a great question, but I think it’s important to clarify what Billboard chart position actually means as it seems there is a general misunderstanding of how the system really works. Billboard is an independent trade magazine that reports industry sales via chart position. Billboard receives its sales data from another company called Soundscan.
Soundscan retrieve its sales data from Soundscan retail members. For example, Wal-Mart pays an annual fee to be a member of Soundscan, required by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) that they participate as a major and recognized record retailer. Barcodes at the register are scanned upon sale and sent to Soundscan acknowledging each sale. At major online retailers such as iTunes it is via the embedded ISRC code on the MP3 data through digital download.
Depending on the zip code of sale, one sale can actually represent two or more sales due to the remote location of the sale and person per capita of the zip code. If you are a small retailer, mom or pop store, or even a significant type of other retailer, then most often, these retailers are not participating members of Soundscan. Sales in turn are not being reported, at all! At the height of my sales through alternative retailers such as Nature Company, Natural Wonders, National Park stores, hundreds of thousands of sales went unrecognized as they were not members of Soundscan. There are no gold or platinum records on my walls despite my significant overall sales within the industry.
The Billboard chart positions I actually received over the years were from a fraction of these sales through member participating retailers such as Borders, Barnes, Sam Goody, etc. With that said, while Billboard is indeed an actual litmus test of the success of a title, it does not represent the overall sales performance of a title accurately. My mentor, Harvey Cooper, always said; “Comments and opinions of music are only perceptions but real sales are a true indicator of commercial success.”
John: On your fourteenth album Thirty-One Nights, I must say you have a great team with vocalist Dana Kemmerle and guitarist Chris Fossek. How did you meet Dana and Chris, and could you tell us about the project you created together?
Nicholas Gunn: I met both Chris Fossek and Dana Kemmerle in Santa Barbara, CA. Chris was a local accomplished musician, who has been playing the Santa Barbara circuit for some time. I heard him at a local wine bar and quickly realized this guy had great technique and style. At that time I was starting to formulate what I wanted to do for a new album and listening to him play was really inspiring! I got to know Chris over a period of months before we started tracking together and we became tight friends.
We are the same kind of people, infusing our music with our life experiences! Chris wrote several pieces on the album which allows it to transition beautifully at two main points; Candle Dance & From Water to Wind. Chris also wrote the title track Thirty-One Nights which sets the tone of the album so well. Dana is an absolute breathe of fresh air. After deciding to finish her graduate degree at UCSB in global studies our paths crossed at the very same wine bar I first met Chris in.
Dana has been the core inspiration behind the experience and story that became Thirty-One Nights. I was going through a very difficult time with many changes in my life and she was continuing on with her studies in Spain and in Mexico. We became romantically involved and the next thing I know I asked her to record some spoken word vocals on a track that became track 13 Recuerdame, on the album.
She has a gorgeous balanced tone in her speaking voice and it was an instant match and hit for me in the studio and many more tracks followed! It’s difficult to make spoken word work within music; it has to be just right! Dana and I now work passionately together in many aspects of our lives. We spent thirty one nights together in Mexico recording flutes on top of Mayan pyramids and writing poetry deep in the jungle. She’s one smart cookie, has a healthy and balanced perspective on life, and someone I want to associate and grow with for a very long time.
John: What are the vital key elements Dana and Chris convey to your instrumental with vocals composition Thirty-One Nights?
Nicholas Gunn: Well, Chris comes from an extremely studied background in music with a master’s degree from Cal Arts in Flamenco guitar. It was important to me that I had an authentic approach and sound for Thirty-One Nights. Authentic Flamenco playing includes so many different aspects, such as the knocking on the guitar body, types of open strumming and closed strumming and where picking occurs over the sound hole. Even finer details, such as which part of the finger nail is used to create different sounds against the string, are all important factors!
The guitar itself is vital to the sound. Chris plays on a handcrafted Manuel Bellido guitar which includes design features such as a wider neck and intricate body/sound hole design. Nylon strings are always used, of a certain type, and after a certain amount of wear. There are no pickups used in recording and a single microphone placement to capture a clean natural sound. These are all important factors that create a certain resonance consistent with Flamenco guitar. His writing style is also different than mine which lends to a well-balanced album that transitions at all the right spots. It’s a good partnership in that we are different in all the right ways! With Dana it is about a personal and emotional connection that is intimate.
We experienced Thirty-One Nights together in real time and she has watched, supported, and participated in the unfolding of the album over a year and a half. She has a beautiful speaking voice and her bilingual abilities were a perfect and authentic evocative addition to the album. I have used spoken word sparingly before, and I am telling you, it’s a hard thing to pull off! Dana just had this tone and approach that was, well otherworldly, very seductive such as on The Swallows of Na’ Lu’um. We walked together through jungles, remote Mayan pyramids, went cave diving in Senotes, and used this experience to fuel creativity. Dana wrote about her experiences and created poetry centric to the experience. Dana and I are continuing to work on other exciting projects and in business together. We are partners in many ways.
John: Would you like to tell us more of the story for Thirty-One Nights, and inspiration behind the songs?
Nicholas Gunn: There is a special Thirty-One Nights storybook PDF, with personal photos, that is embedded on the CD and is also available with a full album download. It would be my pleasure to share this with your readers and is the best way to answer this question. Enjoy!
John: I read Thirty-One Nights had a release date of September 11, 2012. Was there any significance of releasing Thirty-One Nights on 9/11, a date now recognized as the American Federal Holiday – Patriot Day?
Nicholas Gunn: No, not at all. Here is the thing; September 11th is a recognized national street date with most major music distributors. This street date has long been in place before the unfortunate events of 9/11. I decided to sign with label Spring Hill Media, distributed by Allegro Media and their system adheres to these dates. I try not to make any political or religious references in my music and this date did not influence me in any way. A broad stroke approach to creating provocative, moving, and inspirational music is my only goal.
John: You have a great number of National Park records, which began under Real Music Record Label. The Music of the Grand Canyon, Beyond Grand Canyon, Through the Great Smoky Mountains, Journey to Yellowstone, plus there are others. How and why did you become involved with the production of National Parks releases?
Nicholas Gunn: Shortly after The Sacred Fire was released (1994) Real Music approached me about a series of recordings they were developing called The National Park Series. I believe they already had one in the bag and it had sold well in its early stages focusing on park stores and alternative retail such Natural Wonders and Nature Company. The idea fit perfectly into the current trend and retail base. My albums initially were inspired by natural surroundings so it was a perfect fit. It was a huge success and continues to be a great catalog album. Naturally, I continued to release additional National Park albums based on request as well as desire to sustain sales and awareness for our National Parks.
John: Every one of your National Park albums is like a colorful canvas. Each has their own merits, but how would you best describe the sound qualities of your National Park releases?
Nicholas Gunn: Cinematic is the word that always comes to mind for me. Cinematic music to me is like a soundtrack to be played against experiencing these natural wonders. Over and over again, I have received letters and emails from folks saying “we drove to the South Rim listening to The Music of the Grand Canyon” or “hiked the Appalachian Trail listening to Through the Great Smoky Mountains.”
Like Thirty-One Nights these albums were inspired, in essence, by travel and geographic location. The only difference being that my artist persona somewhat hid behind the National Park theme.
John: In the late 1990’s you founded the Anagram Records Label, and earlier you founded Gemini Sun Records, a label with numerous award-winning artist, many of whom were artists like yourself who made the Top Ten Billboard Charts. Who are some of the artists on the Gemini Sun Record Label under your direction?
Nicholas Gunn: Anagram existed for only around a year or so when I was previously married and it had two other license deals, one with Mars Lasar and one with Loren Gold as well as Cheryl Gunn’s titles and a few of mine as well. When I was divorced, Anagram dissolved and I started Gemini Sun Records. Gemini Sun Records also closed for business in 2009. Both were started as a way to represent artists in the genre of New Age/World Music that was steadily shrinking.
Labels such as Higher Octave, Windham Hill, and Narada were closing or being sold off to the majors as their assets in masters and publishing were the only thing left, sales were dwindling fast! The days of supporting retail such as Natural Wonders and Nature Company were now gone and artists coming off of these closing labels needed a home. Gemini Sun became that home for a select few; David Arkenstone, 2002, Mars Lasar, Medwyn Goodall, through MG Music, Loren Gold, and myself were just a few of the artists it represented!
John: Would you like to tell us some of the highlights and other aspects, including the drawbacks of owning your own record label?
Nicholas Gunn: In my opinion, it’s a trap in many ways and little positive to talk about. It’s a thankless job that few take on to the degree I did as an artist owned label. I took it on to increase my profitability per sale, to make a difference in a market segment, and to represent great music and artists allowing them to own their own property (masters and publishing). Most artists block the desire to want to know or deal with national distribution, marketing, and promotion – and for good reason! It’s as stressful as hell!
The intricacies of managing the small margins associated with indie national distribution, marketing, and promotion of a niche label within a declining industry, within a declining economy is nothing short of a nightmare! Distributors are set up to protect their bottom line, at all costs! By cross collateralizing all returns, marketing, and promotion against all sales, the music business on this level is nothing more than a consignment business at massive risk to the label. If you couple that with major retailers who fail to comply with retail campaigns but then charge for the advertising they failed to comply with, it’s a fundamentally flawed system that produced the music industry we see and experience today.
John: The entire music industry as a whole has greatly changed over the years since you began producing music. What are some observations you have made over the years, and in what way has the music industry changed, for better or worse?
Nicholas Gunn: It’s still finding its way, but for the better! Like any business, it’s all about supply and demand and there is little demand for music sales as it used to exist. Music sales are not the future that I am relatively sure of! The use of music continues to be high, but through streaming, illegal downloading and sharing, and second hand online sales from the massive returns and recycling of the music industry as a whole. It’s all spread very thin at little profit to anyone, including the labels. I think there are a few models to watch, one of which would be the Electronic Dance Music market (EDM).
This is a model that has been born in the new distribution and profiteering age of music. Here is a platform with which DJ’s are now producing their own content in the studio and performing through the DJ method at low cost and extremely high output. The concept of sales has never been a priority and sharing/remixing within the community is embraced as a way to popularize the genre and its originating artist. The revenues are in packing 100,000 fans into a venue with the requirement the DJ/Producer simply show up with their gear over their shoulder! It’s brilliant!
The top ten DJ/Producers last year collectively made 127 million dollars and stand atop the industry money making leaders. Now, I am not talking about wedding DJ’s, I am talking about talented DJ/Producers – there’s a big difference! Secondly, and this is important I believe, we need to realize that music, especially in recorded form, is now highly dispensable and transferable. A great song, performance, and recording is still just that, great! It will always be consumed, but the real question becomes what will be the support mechanism that will allow for the creation and performance of this content?
Successful artists have a somewhat self-sustaining system, however how does a new unsigned artist become self-sustaining? I believe we are reverting back to the times when art was supported by benefactors and leaders within both business and government. Companies need art to further define and align their products within the marketplace, and leaders of countries will continue to require education and culture in arts to further the human race. It’s now about selling your talent to a group that needs your involvement to further its own cause, that’s how I see it.
John: Can you foresee any trends developing that may influence your work and perhaps the work of other artists as a whole?
Nicholas Gunn: Quite frankly, this is my last album in the genre for the foreseeable future. I have a great passion for all music and the music business itself and I find the trend of developing more instrumental music within the current instrumental market place quite frustrating and stifling. There really are no venues that support the live performance of this genre and sales are at an all-time low. It’s a testament to my love of the genre that has produced Thirty-One Nights. I wanted to have an album I personally could be really proud of as my departure album.
On the side over the years I have produced my fair share of EDM as it does tend to border on instrumental at times. I have partnered with artist/vocalist Carmen Rainier and we have a project in the works titled (We Are) Nexus. It’s refreshing and invigorating to be a part of a larger and emerging music community that fully embraces the future of the music business. I am a musician and producer first and foremost and I got into this business for my work to be heard. This is the next chapter of my musical career.
John: I heard Thirty-One Nights is on the upcoming nomination ballot for Best New Age Album in the 55th GRAMMY® Awards on Feb. 10, 2013.You will know if nominated on December 5, 2012 isn’t that right, and is there any manner in which Nicholas Gunn fans can support your nomination for a possible music award?
Nicholas Gunn: Actually, it is on the ballot for Best World Music Album which I believe is more appropriate for the album itself. Yes, December 5th is when I will know if Thirty-One Nights receives a nomination. The award is really a peer recognition process of which fans have little part in unless they are a voting member of the academy. All I can say is that after 14 albums, two million sales, and 55 consecutive weeks on the Billboard chart it would be nice to be recognized by my peers; however it will not change the way I go about developing the next chapter of my musical career.
John: Naturally a GRAMMY® Award would put you in the spotlight as an artist, but aside from your own talents as a musician, what external factors have been the greatest influences to your success?
Nicholas Gunn: I would say it’s in taking the risk of wearing all these hats over the years as an artist, writer, producer, engineer, label owner. They all make up for my experience in the business and how I now see the business. Granted, closing my label was an awful experience but liberating and defining all at the same moment. Every passionate path is littered with debris of some sorts and it’s having those experiences that have given me a greater understanding of what I want and what I don’t want. I believe my most successful days lie ahead of me because of this.
John: During your career you have contributed money to the National Park organization, American Lung Association, plus you are on the board of directors for the Children’s Creative Project (CCP), in Santa Barbara, California. Clearly the arts and music education for children and other charitable organizations are important to you. Would you like to tell us about your Philanthropy work, and why it is important to you on a personal level?
Nicholas Gunn: Arts and education for children is paramount. I am a result of parents and a system that exposed me to a finer education in art and music. As a society, we tend to embrace mediocrity as a way to shy away from having to learn more about something, it’s an innate human trait. I sit on the board for the Children’s Creative Project because it grants much needed funding for events that expose children to fine art. It’s simply a matter of proper exposure. We become mediocre when we get older, but we are not that way as children. We learn what we are taught and we soak it all up, no matter which way it comes at us early in life. Real Music initiated the donation to The Grand Canyon Association from sales of The Music of the Grand Canyon.
It was and still is a wonderful cause as the money promotes education and awareness of preservation to both children and adults. This trend carried forth for me through realizing it’s important to give back in this manner. Money is cyclical. You have to give as much as you receive.
John: I would love to release some Nicholas Gunn news about a new project or a concert tour in the planning stages. Is there any additional news you would like to officially announce today?
Nicholas Gunn: I am sorry to say I think the biggest news might be found in my departure from the genre for the foreseeable future. But on a positive note, I have much to give and much to share, only within a different genre. I recently launched a new current events news page at NicholasGunn.com/News. I recommend everyone visit to see what’s new there!
John: Nicholas you are a legendary instrumental artist, regardless of genre or classification, and that my friend will never change! Needless to say I trust we will have a chance to interview again in the future. In closing for now, I want to thank you again for giving everyone this opportunity to find out the latest news about you, and your newest project with Dana Kemmerle and Chris Fossek. Is there anything you would like to say before we close, or express to the fans that have supported you over the course of your career?
Nicholas Gunn: I do want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the valued fans that have supported me over the years. For passionate people such as you John that still see the value and potential in this beautiful genre of music. There are so many people really, over the years, that have helped me realize my goals, and of course I thank them all. I am eternally grateful.
For more information visit NicholasGunn.com. Sample or purchase albums and songs at the Nicholas Gunn music shop. Find details like the making of Thirty-One Nights, info about Dana and Chris, and visit Nicholas at social sites like Facebook. You can also find albums at major online music stores, including the artist page for Nicholas Gunn at Amazon.com. Interview photos are courtesy nicholasgunn.com & Big Stock Photo – Ardith.