What is the sound of paradise? It is of course impossible to get a precise answer to that question. But I think that Jerry Rockwell on his new album Tapping at the Edge of Paradise has found a unique, almost heavenly sound. It is beautiful beyond words, and a worthy follow-up to 2013’s Nine Meditations for Dulcimer.
Jerry Rockwell is a mountain dulcimer builder and musician who lives and works in the Appalachian foothills of southeast Ohio. Here you’ll find our recent interview with this amazing artist.
A Gentle Sound
On Tapping at the Edge of Paradise Jerry uses a few more synth effects than on previous albums. But they are used with care and precision, so not to overpower the gentle sound of the dulcimer. The first song is called Surfing at the Savoy Arcade. It has a catchy melody and a cool atmosphere. Notice the nice combination of dulcimer and synths; it shows just how versatile the dulcimer is in the hands of a talented musician.
Next track out is Louie – Very Free and Easy. Here Rockwell is in his right element, playing an ambient melody charged with positive energy. The song is 5 minutes long, but I wish it would go on for an hour; it is that beautiful. I can’t help thinking that Louie must be a nice person.
Tapping refers to the playing technique on the dulcimer. According to Rockwell this is “a trio of electric dulcimers over a bed of two-handed tapping on an electric dulcimer.” With such a setting, I guess the title had to be beautiful. The light atmosphere and uncomplicated yet refined melody make it into a magnificent piece of art. It is easy to understand that Rockwell felt that he was almost tapping into paradise while making this song.
There are other great tracks here as well; Journey In, Journey Home, Tapping Into the Light and The Firefly Trio. The album ends with the 7 minutes long The Sailor’s Transformation, which is a wonderful meditative song. It makes me think of the endless ocean and the many sacrifices sailors have made through the ages.
In conclusion: Tapping at the Edge of Paradise is a wonderful album for meditation and relaxation. It is also an amazing album if you are interested in the dulcimer. It is Jerry Rockwell’s best album to date.
The only way it could have been better, is if he had tapped right into paradise itself…
Score: 93/100 – See how I rate music here.
Sample and buy the album here: