Today marks the release of “The Presence of Wonder” by Pam Asberry. It is an album filled with a deep sense of admiration for the world around us. Asberry’s music deals with things we all know and can feel happy about, from the simple beauty of a lullaby to the kindness of strangers – and much more. It is a fantastic release from one of the most promising solo piano artists in New Age music today.
Pam Asberry has a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in piano performance and piano pedagogy. She released her first album of original solo piano music, “Seashells in My Pocket“, in October 2017. The album was nominated 2017 Album of the Year by One World Music Radio and Asberry was awarded Best New Artist 2017 by Enlightened Piano Radio. Her second album, a collection of holiday arrangements titled “Thankful Heart, Joyful Mind“, was released in October 2018.
The Presence of Wonder
The title song sets the atmosphere for the whole album. “The Presence of Wonder” shows the magic of everyday life, that there is good to be found everywhere if we take the time to look. I think it also contains a healthy dose of gratitude. It is, simply put, a jewel of a song. I could listen to it all day.
Next piece is called “Nebula”. It beautifully communicates the feeling one gets when looking at the night sky. There’s a duality here; we feel both incredibly small and insignificant, yet somehow connected to the universe and everything out there. Notice the very well-made build-up, from gentle to hard notes, portraying the enormity of space. Even here there’s a feeling of wonder and gratitude.
On “Lullaby for Mackenzie” we are safely back on earth, nicely tucked in. A lullaby is perhaps the most loving kind of songs. To me, this song is a small masterpiece! Its theme, sadly only repeated two times, is beautiful beyond words. To drift off into dreamland listening to this must be magical. I’m 100 % sure that Mackenzie appreciates the song as much as I do.
Asberry’s “Nocturne” has the grace of Chopin with a modern, neoclassical twist. The gentle melody has a nice hint of melancholy, making us reflect on life gone by and places we used to know. The somewhat blue feeling is not to last though; “Above the Clouds” gets us flying in less than five seconds. We can almost feel the wind on our faces, reaching out to touch a sky as we fly by. I love the song’s speed and sense of adventure.
An Invisible Thread
“The Love of Thousands” portrays how we all are connected. Kindness and friendship are universal concepts. Taking a look at the beautiful cover, we see a chain of small pearls. I interpret it as a comment on how love, happiness and the feeling of wonder can be found everywhere. It is an “An Invisible Thread”, all over the world, which happens to be the name of the next song. It is a marvelous, gentle piece, reminiscent of masters such as David Lanz, Wayne Gratz or David Nevue. So light, yet so incredibly strong.
The album shifts gear with “Surrender”. It has a very well-made build-up and a nice theme. It is followed by two romantic pieces, “Something Found” and “Devotion”.
If I were to choose one favorite song, it would be “The Kindness of Strangers”. It has such warmth, like a loving embrace. Even if I didn’t know the title, I would say that it was about hope and tenderness. The last two songs, “Wishes in the Wind” and “Now”, conclude the album brilliantly and inspire us to start looking for wonder as soon as the last note fades away.
In conclusion: “The Presence of Wonder” by Pam Asberry is a heartfelt and well-balanced album, perfect for both active listening and as background music. It might sound like a cliché, but it really makes you see the world with new eyes. In Asberry’s music there is a gentle poetry that is simply irresistible.
It is, in short, a truly wonderful album that will give Pam Asberry many new fans – and hopefully an award or two.
Score: 94/100 – See how I rate music here
Make sure to visit Pam Asberry’s homepage. The CD is available on Bandcamp.