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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Asher Quinn - O Great Spirit

Asher Quinn - O Great Spirit
2011, Singing Stone Music
Asher Quinn.  Denis Quinn.  Asha.
New Age Composer.  Interpreter of classic folk/rock songs.  Songwriter.
Whatever name or persona you’ve come to know Asher Quinn by, be contented to know that there is much more you’ve yet to see.  Quinn continues to add to his impressive canon of songs written and performed with each album.  An intuitive pianist from his diaper days, Quinn has never allowed convention get in the way of great composition.  His well-heeled British school days certainly didn’t impair his talents, and Quinn has made a career of standing outside the fire and observing through the filament of song the world around him.  On his latest album, O Great Spirit, Quinn observes a fire more spiritual than ephemeral; delving into deeply theistic themes while maintaining a safe distance from any one doctrinal path.
O Great Spirit opens with “Half Past Ten”, a quiet prayer in song that begins a long night of soul searching and discovery.  The call of the Spirit is central here, and a coming out of darkness that is paralleled by that of the Apostle Paul of the Christian Bible.  The contemplative nature of the song reflects perhaps an old conversion; the joyful mania of the newly found is absent here.  In its place is a quiet peace that is moving; and reflective of a mature sense of what it is to be found.  Quinn builds the song in both complexity and intensity through the addition of strings, synth and percussion to the gently rolling guitar.  It’s a wow start, a true sense of Becoming in Aristotelian terms.  “O Great Spirit” is a gorgeous and moving meditation on Quinn’s Prime Mover, in spite of running for nearly nine minutes.  Contemplative on the surface, the energy runs wide and deep in this prayer of praise and supplication.
Quinn’s cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” takes elements from the later Bob Dylan version and incorporates them into a new age pastiche.  The mellow take on the song is a nice, and manages somehow to not sap the intensity of the song.  “We Are One” is a meditation on the interconnectedness of creation with God.  The gorgeous arrangement houses and Aristotelian lyrical construction, but Quinn does manage to fall into a repetitive cycle here.  “Bird Of Paradise” intrigues as part madrigal and part new age composition.   The intriguing mix of piano, harpsichord and strings brings a sense of ancient and modern styles overlapping, while the song itself evokes deep sadness in a lamentation that will haunt you.
“Angels Watching Over You” is a sweet and simple folk song that’s musically solid, but does fall into something of a repetitive rut.    “Each Holy Child” follows a similar path”.  Things pick up again with “Thanksgiving”, a meditation on the power of giving thanks, and the effect it has one the one saying thank you.  The song is full of spirit, and yet retains an artful perspective that holds the listener’s attention.  Quinn’s “All Over The World” is a solid, mildly upbeat folk/pop number that plays more like a feel good, pop spirituality paean than an austere spiritual work.  Aesthetically pleasing, the song is only as deep as its melody line, a contrast with much of the rest of the album.  O Great Spirit closes out with a pair of solid but uninspiring tunes, “Falling Through Time (The Lord Mix)” and “Blessings On Your Soul (Mariachi Mix)”.  Both songs are solid in their own right, but just don’t seem to have the same intensity or focus of much of the rest of the album.
Asher Quinn embraces deeply Unitarian spirituality in music on O Great Spirit, avoiding specific dogmatic constructs that might limit the appeal of the album.  O Great Spirit starts strong, with a spiritual intensity that is undeniable.  The songwriting and construction are consistently strong throughout; although the energy and intensity wanes a bit by the time you reach the last few songs.  As always, Quinn puts his own distinctive spin on a style, working from his new age base to craft songs that are both subtle and sublime.  O Great Spirit has some amazing moments.
Rating:                  4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Asher Quinn at or Great Spirit is available through the etailers below.  You can also pick up a copy in the Wildy's World Amazon store.

            CD                     Download                  iTunes

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