All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review: Ann Sweeten - Just This Side Of Spring

Ann Sweeten - Just This Side Of Spring
2010, Orange Band Records

Ann Sweeten is perhaps one of the most decorated pianists of the past decade, winning six NAR Lifestyle Music Awards, one JPF Music Award and receiving ASCAP Popular Awards for eight years running. With significant airplay on both digital and internet radio, Sweeten's compositions have been enjoyed by millions of listeners, and she's good enough to draw Windham Hill founder Will Ackerman as a producer. Her latest album, Just This Side Of Spring, follows in the musical niche that Sweeten has cut for herself over her previous seven albums.

Sweeten opens with December Snow, an atypical offering for a New-Age piano recording. There are serious classical undertones wrapped up in a complex piano part and a melody that feels almost self-determined. Sweeten's play is temperamental but disciplined, full of a fire that surprises. Just This Side Of Spring is meandering and lovely, incorporating subtle shading as provided by acoustic guitar. Sweeten moves through the soft, sweeping melody of Light From A Narrow Window to the cinematic expression of A Light Rain, where theme and mood trump all other concepts. A Moment In Time is a gentle bit of remembrance in song that cascades over the ridges of memory and melody; a very pretty piece. Nikki's Song is quietly dramatic with a melancholy air, with the violin and piano playing off one another in almost magical fashion. Sweeten returns to her cinematic airs for In Gardens Fast Asleep and Hearts Left Behind before closing out with The Melt Warmers. The Melt Warmers begs for an orchestral arrangement, and features the same Cinematic feel that weaves its way in and out of the album throughout.

Ann Sweeten is more than your typical dinner pianist, writing themes that challenge both herself and her listeners to hear more and be more. Just This Side Of Spring works so well because Sweeten never gets complacent, shifting gears and perspective before there's ever a chance to get too comfortable. Just This Side Of Spring is a strong effort and highly recommended.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Ann Sweeten at You can purchase Just This Side Of Spring as either a CD or Download from

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