Isn’t it wonderful how music can express things we cannot easily say with words? Music truly is a language of its own, a universal and ancient form of communication. This is the topic on Ron Korb’s album “Native Earth”. Inspired by the First Nations Legend “The Native Love Flute Story”, we are taken on a spiritual voyage into the wilderness and back. It is one of the finest albums released in New Age music in recent years, a genuine must-have.
“Native Earth” is a development from Korb’s “Our Native Land” (2007) CD, with remastered songs with new acoustic performances replacing the synthetic instruments. Also there are five new tracks; “Spirit Blessing”, “Elk Man Prophecy”, “Visionquest”, “Native Sun”, and “Transformation”.
The album opener is called “Spirit Blessing”. It is a gentle piece with Native flute and guitar. From the very first notes it is apparent that this is an album for thinking, reading and dreaming. The sound of the flute is so fresh, so clear. Korb’s attention to details is, as always, amazing.
“Warpath”, previously known as “The Gift of Caribou Spirit” (which is one of my all-time favorite Korb songs), is up next. I very much enjoy the new version; The sound is richer and has more depth. If you own the 2007 release I would recommend upgrading the album for this song alone. The piano and guitar parts are great too. The song binds the whole album together – but more about that later!
Elk Man Prophecy
As mentioned above, Korb has based the album on the First Nations Legend “The Native Love Flute Story”. The legend is included in the liner notes. This is a story about (spoiler alert) a young man who is unable to express the love he feels for a girl. One day he finds a strange arrow. By shooting it he is taken on a journey. In the deepest of woods he meets the elk men – who we also are introduced to in the song «The Elk Man Prophecy». He gives the young man a magical flute. Returning home from his grand voyage he is able to tell the girl how he truly feels when playing the flute. Listening to Korb’s song there’s not a doubt in my heart that his flute too holds magical powers.
Next out is “Warrior’s Dance”. It you thought only heavy metal could sound aggressive, you were wrong. Here we get a taste of how an angry flute sounds like, preparing the warriors for battle. It is quite remarkable. “Courtship Song” is something totally different. It is a gentle melody with violin and piano, probably telling about the before mentioned young man and his love.
“Courtship Song” performed live:
On “Visionquest”, with it’s amazing electric guitar, Korb is on par with Mike Oldfield. This brand new song is marvelous; it is a prefect unity of ancient and modern music. The song “Wolf Night Voices” is equally impressive. It is wonderfully meditative. Close your eyes, and Korb take you into the night for a visit to the wolves.
“Broken Heart” is not, as the title might imply, a sad song. It is more of a prelude to “Magic Arrow” and “Native Sun”. If I were to sum up the album with only a few songs, these three would make the list. Here Korb shows that he is a first-rate storyteller. This is, after all, a tale about a voyage into the wilderness. Also “Running The Wind”, “Northern Plain” and “Dreamstate River” have this feeling of movement and adventure.
Song Of The Forest
I find that Korb’s music always has a certain poetic quality. Listen to “Song Of The Forest” and you’ll understand what I mean. This could have been a poem about the woods and all its magic. Near the end “The Calling” feels like a genuine link between us and the culture of the ancients. The sound of the Native flute takes us effortlessly back in time.
The album closer “Native Earth” binds all tracks together. The return of the “Warpath” theme with electric guitar is magnificent and powerful, a true musical tour de force.
In conclusion: “Native Earth” by Ron Korb is close to a perfect New Age music release. It is genuine, totally unpretentious and heartfelt. The arrangement itself is spotless. No other artist out there could have done it better. It is also a welcome upgrade to the beloved “Our Native Land” album. All in all “Native Earth” is a must-have, a pillar in any New Age music collection.
Score: 98/100 – See how I rate music here
Make sure to visit Ron Korb’s website, where you can purchase the CD.
The latest episode of New Age Star’s Chill Guru is dedicated to “Native Earth”: