Our world has changed in so many ways in 2020. Covid19 has had an impact on almost all aspects of life. This is also true for creativity and how artists work. “I realized that an unprecedented moment in our history was about to embark,” says Curtis Macdonald. “I wanted to share my feelings of our new normal.” The result is “Waiting for an Ordinary Spring”, an uplifting and moving album that makes quarantine life more enjoyable. It leaves you feeling both optimistic and grateful. It is, in short, a promise that better times are coming.
Curtis Macdonald is one of the most popular artists on the New Age music scene, with 26 albums to his name. He is a graduate composer from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California. In 2013, he received a Grammy consideration for Best Instrumental Pop Record for “When Dreams Come True”, released on his own label, CMMP. In 2007 he received Grammy consideration for Best New Age Record for “Everlasting”. In 2018, EverSound released “Where the Heart Belongs – The Very Best of Curtis Macdonald”. In our review, we wrote: “It is a 17-track tour de force, filled with nothing but hits. It is easy to understand why so many New Age music fans have their hearts set on Curtis Macdonald’s music. Listening to it is like a homecoming.”
Life Leads with Love
The opening piece on “Waiting for an Ordinary Spring” is called “Life Leads with Love”. It instantly underlines Curtis’ message. It is the kind of melody that embraces the listener like an old friend. I love how the piano and lead synth “sing” duette, telling a story of love, good company, and – when you know the context – better times, either in the past or when Covid19 is finally a thing of the past. The gentle rhythm and a Rhodes-like synth are all the backing needed.
Then Curtis has a surprise in store for us! Synth pan flutes are risky but done right, they are marvelous. I have always considered Curtis to be on par with Medwyn Goodall, and “Oceanside Ride” is another proof. There is another impressive element too, and that is the speed. It is blazing FAST. This is indeed a ride to remember! The way “Life Leads with Love” fades into “Ocean Ride” is also inspired. It shows Curtis’s capabilities as a multi-instrumentalist. Bravo!
The feeling of speed and excitement continues on “Passionate Persuasion”. It is a colorful piece with another inspired piano and synth duette. From what I can tell, it is the piano that is doing the persuasion – and the synth is responding lovingly. There’s passion in the air for sure.
The title track is a fascinating piece, featuring a 1970s sounding flute, a female vocal synth, some analog keys, and a guitar. But that is not all; there is a somewhat painful “sting” that comes and goes too. I guess it is a symbol of the Covid19 situation we all are experiencing at the moment. The sting is like an unwanted yet necessary reality check; remember social distancing and facemasks. But most importantly, the overall atmosphere is a reminder that “an ordinary spring” will come.
The Charm of Splendor
Curtis is one of the few New Age music artists who know how to jazz up a tune and create that atmosphere that has defined “neighboring genres” like smooth jazz and chill. “The Charm of Splendor” is such a piece. It is light, laid-back, and warm. It tells us to remind calm and enjoy the ambiance of everyday life.
I mentioned Medwyn Goodall above. I could also compare “Waiting for an Ordinary Spring” to the music of John Adorney. Curtis is just as brilliant. Just listen to “Home for the Harvest” and I am sure you will agree with me. It is a well-crafted, honest, and totally unpretentious piece.
Nearer the end, “Chasing the Rain” takes us for a ride into the wilderness. It is a fast piece with guitar and some sweet synth keys. It is an upbeat song that you can safely put on replay; Only three minutes is not enough to fully appreciate the many details and levels of sound. Before saying goodbye, Curtis reminds us that “A Heart with Hope Shall Rise”. It is a hard-learned lesson, but it is the truth. I love the sorrowful edge to the piece; Curtis is not sugarcoating what hope can do but underlines that it is the last barrier in our protection against despair. In this day and age, it is the most important message of all.
In conclusion: “Waiting for an Ordinary Spring” by Curtis Macdonald is a feel-good album brimming with optimism and playfulness. “Life Leads with Love” and “Oceanside Ride” are destined to become New Age music hits. In this time of political and social unrest, “Waiting for an Ordinary Spring” can safely be recommended to everybody. It is not a cure for Covid19, but it offers an injection of positive emotions. Ask any doctor; Hope is the most potent medicine of all.
Score: 96/100 – See our scoring policy
For more information and music samples, visit cmmpmusic.com