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Monday, January 11, 2010

Review: Isaac Shepard - The Renewing

Isaac Shepard - The Renewing
2009, Isaac Shepard/BMI

Isaac Shepard grew up in a musical family, playing in family bands from his early teens on (Dave And The Reverbs, Four Shepards And A Lamb). As Shepard grew he branched out into a solo career, playing solo piano pieces that run across the genres of Rock, Classical, Pop, Jazz, Electronica and Trance. Shepard’s music can be heard in several game releases from Reflexive Entertainment, where he is a software engineer. 2009 saw the release of Shepard’s third studio album, The Renewing.

The Renewing opens with Tears Can Fall, a pretty and reverent theme that sounds like a motion picture score element. Shepard drives the center portion of the song in a building scale and crescendo before returning to the flickering melody. Let Me Sleep maintains a faint pop feel in the theme, while allowing the melody to ebb and flow much like slumbers. Good Company takes a much more traditional route, sounding like a Chopin Waltz. Shepard's phrasing here reminded me a bit of Richard Joo, and Good Company was, in my mind, the highlight of the album. Countdown brings drama and intrigue to The Renewing, from its shrill opening to the dark and vaguely urgent arrangement. Shepard creates an essence here that is palpable, capturing the zeitgeist of a dramatic motion picture in notes and the spaces in between.

Simple Moments perhaps seeks to convey the magic of little things, but is more plaintive than grateful. The theme here is quite lovely, but intent and execution perhaps don't quite match. All Smiles is more of an aural painting than anything else, in oils rather than watercolors. All Smiles is forceful and full of life, but again doesn't quite seem to quite match in execution the intent conveyed by the title. Dimming The Lights is pensive and watchful in nature, a peaceful melody imbued with an inner turbulence in the left hand while occasionally soaring through dark skies with the right. Shepard closes with Slow Down, a mild and moody piece that shows great artisanship on the piano.

Isaac Shepard rises above the pack with The Renewing, creating both sights and sounds in music that are more than just "easy listening". Shepard plays with passion and flair, and seems to know how to use pianissimo as effectively as forte. The compositions presented on The Renewing are not exceedingly complex, but the emotional subtleties Shepard evokes in them are compelling.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Isaac Shepard at or You can purchase The Renewing as either a CD or Download from

1 comment:

Debra said...

In my view one and all may read this.