Solo piano is a very personal genre. Playing the piano, the artist may tell personal and heartfelt stories. The sound of the piano always touches a nerve. It is for sure one of the reasons why the genre is so popular. “North Maple Road” is Kurt Reiman’s debut album. It is a fantastic start to his music career and a welcome reminder of why we love solo piano. Each track is a story of family, friendship and the love of nature. It is a heartfelt album in every sense of the word.
Kurt Reiman was born in Stowe, Vermont and began playing the piano at six years old. He learned piano by listening and playing along to his favorite composers, such as Frédéric Chopin, Billy Joel, Lyle Mays, George Winston and Dave Brubeck. Now in his 40s, after a long career in finance, Kurt is pursuing his dream of recording the many songs he has composed throughout his life.
You’re My Friend
I’m very impressed with the album opener “Sunrise over Narragansett Bay”. It instantly sets the atmosphere and tone, much like a George Winston song. The tableau of the bay coming to life after the night is beautiful beyond words. Indeed, the song is like a sunrise over the album too. Absolutely brilliant!
“You’re My Friend” is the name of the next piece. It is a warm and positive song, flowing effortlessly like a conversation between good friends. You can sense the love. With a friend like this, you’ll never have to worry. It is the best feeling of all, and the song captures every aspect of it.
Push Me Higher Daddy
There’s much life wisdom here. “Push Me Higher Daddy” is a song seen from the parent’s perspective. When your child explores the world for the first time, you see the dangers that are lurking everywhere. The child, on the other hand, wants to do and try everything – and be pushed higher, both literally and metaphorically. The song balances the parent’s feeling of pride and worry. It is a jewel of a song.
“Walk with Me” has a nice feeling of movement. Notice how gentle it is in the beginning. The walk starts slowly and gradually gains speed and intensity. It truly is a gift to have someone special to walk with, and a big thanks to Reiman for reminding us of this. The song “Together and Alone” has both light and darkness. Again I’m amazed by how wise this album is. Close your eyes and feel how the music touches your soul. It is over 6 minutes long, so you’ve got plenty of time to absorb the stories that are being told.
The latest episode of Magic Piano is dedicated to Kurt Reiman:
North Maple Road
The title track takes us back in time. I guess most people have a “North Maple Road” in their heart; a place you remember with love and gratitude – a home from the past. It is a marvelous piece with a welcoming feel. This atmosphere continues on the next song, “Live Your Dreams My Son”. Supporting a child’s artistic visions is often hard, especially when he or she initially chooses a more secure career path. The conclusion, as listed in the song title, often comes after much struggle – but it is a declaration of love. You want your child to be happy and fulfilled, not everything is about money.
I must mention the brilliant cover artwork by Sabra Field. The forest view has a certain light and expression that matches the album beautifully. It is in many ways the perfect album cover.
By Your Side
“I Need to Say This”, “Evening Snowfall” and “By Your Side” take us even deeper into Reiman’s world of music. The songs are gentle, positive and personal. We can all relate to his stories. The warm and positive “By Your Side” is my favorite, I could play it all day. “Stars and Constellations” takes us on a walk on a starlight evening, while the romantic “You’ll Always Be Here with Me” is a magnificent album closer. You really believe that it is true, that this love of ours will last forever.
In conclusion: “North Maple Road” by Kurt Reiman is an album about the here and now, about nature and the places that are dear to us. It is 100% from the heart. As a debut album, it is mature and well-balanced. I was extremely happy to learn that Mr. Reiman now is working on a new album. While waiting I’ll revisit “North Maple Road” many times, knowing that friends are waiting there for me.
Score: 95/100 – See how I rate music here
You may hear more samples and purchase the CD on kurtreiman.com