VARIOUS ARTISTS
The Guitar / The Piano
(Reviews New Age Records)

 

For an excellent cross-section of state of the art acoustic New Age instrumental guitar music, give a listen to The Guitar: The Best Of Reviews New Age. The CD was compiled and produced by Seville, Spain based musicologist Alejandro Clavijo, who is the proprietor of the online music zine / record label Reviews New Age, which features CD reviews and releases of the biggest names in the New Age music world. The 17 track CD called The Guitar features some of the most illustrious names in the New Age guitar instrumental world including Will Ackerman, Alex De Grassi, Max Goldston, Todd Boston and 13 other proponents of the guitar. The names of some of these guitarists may be unknown to the masses but their music will help spread the word! The mood of the CD is very contemplative and woody, especially as all the guitars performed on the CD are acoustic. Amazingly, despite sourcing the material from no less then 17 different albums, some dating back to the 1990’s, the CD sound is balanced, seamlessly sequenced and nearly perfectly engineered and mastered with much attention to rich sonic detail. The CD is attractively packaged with the booklet containing a wealth of information about each of the musicians here. In addition to The Guitar, Alejandro has also produced another album for his Reviews New Age label called The Piano, which is essentially a companion release to The Guitar CD. A number of lesser known, yet deserving artists appear. Among the better known piano proponents on The Piano are David Lanz, Peter Kater and Danny Wright. The 17 track CD, The Piano is once again tastefully packaged, looking very much like the companion CD to The Guitar, with a wealth of information about each artist contained in the CD booklet. Alejandro Clavijo and his Reviews New Age web site and record label offers further proof that music, especially instrumental music is indeed the international language. Both The Guitar and the Piano are stellar examples of the power and the glory of instrumental New Age music. www.ReviewsNewAge.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with
Alejandro Clavijo
of Reviews New Age Records



mwe3
: Can you tell us where you’re from originally and where you live now and what you like best about it?

Alejandro Clavijo: Currently, I am a citizen of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Seville, Spain. I think that Andalusia is one of the most beautiful regions in the world; the sun and its people make it unique, wonderful.

mwe3: Can you tell us when and where you started the Reviews New Age label and something about your background in the music world? What were some of the events that inspired you to start the web site and the record label?

Alejandro Clavijo: Reviews New Age was never really born with the goal of being a record label, but the time has made it so. Since I was very young, at home I listened to all kinds of music, especially rock and pop: Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Sting... but between these styles, my father liked to listen to the music of Enya, Vangelis, Mike Oldfield... So it was that sparked my interest in New Age music.

Reviews New Age started with the aim of creating an official web site for this type of music, a serious site, because very few people knew this style, beyond Lorenna McKennitt or Enya.

We started getting a lot of CDs, some with incredible music, and with my desire to share this music with everyone, the record label was born. I am very pleased with the reception of the albums, the next work of David Clavijo, will also be released under Reviews New Age. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support!

mwe3: How long did it take to produce both CDs, The Guitar and The Piano and who else was involved in the production and sound, which is excellent. Mixing 17 different guitarists on the guitar CD and another 17 on The Piano CD is not easy but thanks to the impeccable sound balance on each CD, it sounds like it’s one album!

Alejandro Clavijo: As they were, it took several months... three or four each. With some tracks, I had decided that they would be included, but other times, I took a long time to hear tracks and samples before deciding what to include in each CD. I think it was a very good selection in both cases.

I have to thank all the artists included in both CDs, their initiative and willingness to participate, they were all very friendly. The sound is very important to me, and thanks to Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven and Grammy award winner Corin Nelsen at SynchroSonic Productions for their amazing work to make both CDs have such a spectacular sound.

And I thought, the CDs have an important artists with such a magnificent production, so we need a professional design. So I thought of Matt Strieby, one of the best designers of CDs I've ever met. I think the end result was worth it.

mwe3: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up and what period of music history did you grow up in? You had mentioned you were a big Mike Oldfield fan. Were you influenced more by progressive rock or mostly New Age music?

Alejandro Clavijo:
As I mentioned earlier, I like all kinds of music, in fact, I do not listen to New Age Music every day. I'd go crazy! (lol). I listen to artists such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Santana, Sister Hazel, Dover, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Phildel ... and some other Spanish artists. Of course Oldfield and Enya have been and they are my idols, recently I did a telephone interview with Oldfield. I fulfilled a dream.

mwe3: Do you also play an instrument and are you planning to take the record label and branch out into production or other music / media areas like video, soundtracks and other marketing areas?

Alejandro Clavijo: I've always been in love with the piano, in fact, I usually play my piano. With respect to other areas... I am passionate about the marketing of the music. I think I'm already immersed in this field and I am working hard on it. The soundtracks are a style that has always enchanted me. John Williams, James Horner, Ennio Morricone are some of the artists I follow, but lately, I’m closely following artists like Jo Blankenburg and Two Steps From Hell, they are creating authentic wonders for movies.

mwe3: How are you planning to get the word out there about both The Guitar and The Piano and what kind of releases are you planning for Reviews New Age in the future? What other things, musical and otherwise are you planning for 2014 and beyond?

Alejandro Clavijo: Well at the moment, with The Guitar and The Piano, we are giving it all the exposure within our reach. We believe that they are two CDs that deserve to be discovered, there is good music on them and big names.

Our aim now is grow and grow, to be a benchmark in the world for this genre, and we seem to be on track, but we still have far to go and learn. As my good friend and pianist Chad Lawson says, "step by step".

We are reaching big numbers in terms of visits and we are fulfilling goals, the latest of them, being the only web magazine listed in official Google News for New Age music. It is an achievement for us that helps us keep fighting and enjoy this world.

It is important to announce that it is possible in a few months Deezer, streaming music leading portal reaches the USA. It is my honor to announce that Reviews New Age is the official radio station of New Age music on Deezer.com. Stay tuned!

Thank you Robert for this opportunity to introduce you to ReviewsNewAge.com. Greetings and thank you very much!


Artists on The Piano and The Guitar
speak to mwe3.com


Michele McLaughlin

Michele McLaughlin’s track "Perseverance" was featured on the Reviews New Age CD, The Piano.

My track on Reviews New Age: The Piano is track #12, “Perseverance”. “Perseverance” was written in the spring of 2009 and released in early 2010, on my album Out Of The Darkness. Out Of The Darkness is a musical diary of my journey to healing after my divorce in 2009. All of the music on that album is in order that I wrote it and takes you on the journey with me, starting off very bleak and dismal and full of sadness, and then progressively becoming happier and lighter as I begin to heal and move on. I struggled with feeling all of the negative emotions that come from a divorce and a breakup, and some days were harder than others. “Perseverance” is about holding strong and making it through the dark days, not letting difficult times defeat you, and standing tall with your head held high screaming "I can do this!".

I recorded this album on my Yamaha C7 in my home studio, using Audix SCX25A mics and a Mico Audient pre-amp. I loved my Yamaha C7 because it has a beautifully rich tone and an incredibly boomy bass. It was dark for a Yamaha, which usually tend to be brighter pianos, and it played like butter. I recorded several of my albums on that piano and it was a gorgeous instrument.

Michele McLaughlin
Pianist/Composer
Solo Piano To Soothe Your Soul
www.michelemclaughlin.com


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Will Ackerman


Will Ackerman’s track "Driving" was featured on the Reviews New Age CD, The Guitar.

“Driving” was written for my Sound Of Wind Driven Rain CD in 1998. I remember that the guitar part was very clear to me for a long time and I was just looking for the right instruments to complete it.

Charlie Bisharat was in the studio in Vermont and we gave him run at this and the basic track was just perfect. We had him do 2 more takes on the piece without his having listened to the previous takes. This is what contributes to the beautiful interweaving of the three violins at the end... we simply left all three takes in the mix at the end of the piece.

We now have a verb we use in the studio, "Bisharating", which simply means doing multiple takes without the musician hearing himself in other takes so there can be a magic in the interaction of the violins from a musician whose style would color all of those takes… rather than three played who would have a very different style and tone which would never be as cohesive and complimentary. We then added Michael Manring on fretless bass... having arguably the best fretless bassist on the planet as a dear friend is certainly a gift.

The guitar I used and the ONLY guitar I've recorded with for decades now is the Froggy Bottom K model. I actually have 3 of these which are slightly different depending upon materials and age. They are all Rosewood and German Spruce. Michael Millard has become a great friend and makes what I sincerely believe to be the best steel string guitar on the planet.

www.WillAckerman.com



---------------------------------

Ralph Zurmühle


Ralph Zurmühle’s track "The Train" featured on the Reviews New Age CD, “The Piano.”

"The Train" was originally composed for my CD Communion released in 2002. The piece is not meant to express anything more than what the title already tells us, the feeling of being on a train. I am not a train enthusiast like my fellow countryman Arthur Honegger, classical Swiss composer (1892-1955), whose most frequently performed work is "Pacific 231," inspired by the sound of a steam locomotive. However, the idea of capturing a train into piano music intrigued me. "The Train" is one of the faster tracks in my repertoire, which for the most part, consists of more lyrical and contemplative music.

"The Train”, is a mesmerizing journey home. As quick as a blink, the homes, the countryside, and perhaps the very lives of the people in our world flash by, but surprisingly, not in a blur. All is clear and vivid." (RJ Lannan, ZoneMusicReporter.com)

RALPH ZURMÜHLE
Composer & Pianist
www.ralphpiano.com


---------------------------------

Bob Kilgore

Bob Kilgore’s track "The Gift" featured on the Reviews New Age CD, The Guitar.

“The Gift” is such an old composition. I wrote it as a birthday present for a childhood friend, hence the title. The original version was just the "classical ballad" part at the beginning. The second, flat-picked part was added much later, after I'd been exposed to John McLaughlin.

It was recorded in July 2011, in my home studio. The guitar is a Martin D16M in standard tuning - a sure sign of the age of this tune!. The only effect is reverb. The recorder was an Akai DPS24 and I used a pair of AKG C451B mics. The tune is definitely not characteristic of my more recent recordings. I almost never use standard tuning anymore and I've usually got one of my Harmonic Capos at the 12th fret. "The Gift" was composed long before there was such a thing as a Harmonic Capo, which is practically my trademark sound now.

www.weaseltrap.com

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Philip Wesley

Philip Wesley’s track "Lamentations Of The Heart" was featured on the Reviews New Age CD, The Piano.


I recorded my track “Lamentations Of The Heart” for the Reviews New Age album back in January of 2012. It appears on my retrospective album Heart To Hands as well.

The song originally appeared on my debut album Finding Solace back in 2002. hen again in 2008 on my album 'Dark Night of the Soul'

The Reviews New Age recording was recorded on a Kawai RX-7. This particular instrument has great clarity in the upper register and a nice warm tone in the low end. It's a very popular instrument for many solo piano artists. All my other recordings were recorded on a Steinway.

Philip Wesley
solo piano
philipwesley.com


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Shambhu

Shambhu’s track "Together" was featured on the Reviews New Age CD, The Guitar.


“Together” is the opening song for my debut CD, Sacred Love. It’s dedicated to the idea that we can make the world a better place by embracing our commonalities versus fighting over our differences.

The song was recorded in 2010 at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios with Will co-producing and Charlie Bisharat (violin), Tony Levin (bass), Todd Boston (sarod) and Celso Alberti (drums) adding tasty instrumental brilliance.

I recorded on a Taylor 810ce acoustic guitar. I love the clarity and harmonics of this beautiful instrument and also used it on my album Dreaming Of Now.

www.ShambhuMusic.com


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Si Hayden

Si Hayden’s track "Time-Out" was featured on the Reviews New Age CD, The Guitar.

“Time Out” was recorded in a front-room studio setup in Coventry, UK. The take was simultaneously video-recorded for youtube/facebook etc. It’s a solo, non over dubbed, piece as was the whole album; when writing a tune I prefer the challenge of holding down a groove whilst maintaining melody and phrasing without the use of backing, overdubs or loops etc.. I admire how some musicians manipulate the use of such tools but Its not for me, I'm too much of a minimalist, besides that I can then play such tunes unplugged at any time with nothing more than a guitar to hand!

It was originally written for an earlier album 'Supercharger' which was all recorded on a resonator guitar but I then realized the tune suited a more conventional acoustic so using my Lorenzo steel strung I re-recorded it for 'Acoustic Lines' in 2012, the version on Reviews New Age CD The Guitar.

www.sihayden.com
www.silveryrecords.com


--------------------------------

Todd Boston

Todd Boston's track "Celtic Heart" was featured on the Reviews New Age CD, The Guitar.

"Celtic Heart" was composed live at an event with 700 people doing yoga together. They had me come in to play music to support the event and during a long class this melody came as an improvised piece that was fortunately recorded live. I then listened to and refined the composition for the album Touched By The Sun which I recorded at Imaginary Road Studios with the amazing Grammy winning producer Will Ackerman.

It is one of my favorite tracks on the album as the musicians - Tony Levin (bass), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Eugene Friesen (cello) - all gave so much heart and soul and really helped lift it to another level.

The track was recorded on one of Will Ackerman's Froggy Bottom Guitars that he generously lent me to record with for parts of the album. Those guitars have such a sustain, presence and deep low end. I tuned it to a drop C open tuning which brought out even more of the low end and sustain. They are truly beautiful instruments that are inspiring to play!

www.ToddBoston.com

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Keith Medley

Keith Medley’s track "Father Red Tail" was featured on the Reviews New Age CD, The Guitar.

Regarding the song “Father Red Tail”, the melody came together in December of 1997 while I was spending the night at my dad's hunting campsite in the woods around the Rosine, Kentucky area. Dad had just passed away not 5 weeks before so I visited his hunting camp and met with some of his old friends to trade dad stories. That evening I was to myself dealing with feelings I had never experienced before and this melody presented itself as a very cold night wore on.

By the time I got home to Tennessee the next day all I had to do was sit down and play what was playing in my head since the night before. But the final arrangement wasn't completed until I finished building 27 String in my basement. This instrument has allowed me to get to the melodies and broader musical options without overdubbing.

I began the evolving design on the 27 String in 1978 and built it in 2007 simply to chase after the music I hear. A songwriter/producer friend of mine, Chuck Butler, wanted to record the tunes I was doing on this instrument in 2008 and by 2009 I was playing it well enough and written enough tunes on it to do the Ride CD which Father Red Rail was included and released in 2010.

It was and is still a very personal song that speaks to me deeply and relationally; and I because of that it surprised me that it has become a favorite to many folks who have listened to it.

Reason for title... Dad loved Red Tail Hawks and every time he saw one perched or flying he'd draw my attention to it. As I grew up I developed his same appreciation for their power and grace which brings dad to mind with everyone I see. So, “Father Red Tail” seemed the only title really. Sorry for the sappy stuff but that's the story...


Keith Medley
Website: keithmedleymusic.com
Facebook: facebook.com/keithmedleycreative

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Max Goldston

Max Goldston’s track "Song For Louisa" was featured on the Reviews New Age CD, The Guitar.

Half of the song "Song for Louisa" was written back in 2003. During a visit visiting to Spain a few years later, a long time family friend, Louisa , had to undergo a life threatening operation. After we found she had survived it, I finished the piece, named it and dedicated it to her. The song is featured on my Emancipation CD, recorded and mastered at Will Ackerman's Imaginary Road Studios by Grammy award winning sound engineer Corin Nelsen in 2008. "Song For Louisa" also won #1 spot at Ourstage.com song contest, March 31st, 2009. I used my Martin D16 GT for the recording.

Max Goldston
Website: MaxGoldston.com

 

 
   
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