The band The Song Gardeners illustrates the power of the single format. Instead of waiting for the album to be completed (People Passing Through, to be released on October 1), they have over the last year released seven singles that have already made them into a fan-favorite and established them in the forefront of the New Age Pop movement.
The Song Gardeners is a band featuring Corrie Dunn and Mary Gospe. Below I will give a presentation of all the seven singles released by this band so far. I guess we all can use a bit more positivity in our lives, and The Song Gardeners is ready to deliver a colorful bouquet of music custom-made for the post-Trump, post-Covid19 era. Without further ado, here are the singles:
The single “Love Flows” is a welcoming and highly optimistic pop/crossover song. The slow rhythm, steel-string guitar, and bass lay the foundation before Mary Gospe enters the stage. Her magnificent vocal makes you hang on to every word. The lyrics are about how the journey of self-discovery and love is impossible without peace. “In this stillness, may you be blessed, comforted in times of chaos and stress,” sings Gospe. It is a timely message; rarely have we needed quiet contemplation more than now.
I love the melody! I could listen to it all day, and still be amazed by its loving atmosphere. I also like the production and the electric guitar in the end. “Love Flows” is a genuine soft pop song with broad appeal. Its replay value is obvious from the first listen. And most importantly; it is a fabulous introduction to The Song Gardeners!
Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu, a Buddhist chant of happiness, is our guiding star on the next song – where we are greeted by light percussion, electric guitar, and piano. I don’t know if Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu is a mantra, but it has that meditative quality. The lyrics are hopeful and inspirational, wishing spiritual awareness and good luck.
The recording and mixing are outstanding; notice how the song creates a “room of sound”. It is almost hypnotic, and I find myself wishing for the song to go on and on.
If we were to put a label on Altered State, it would be a ChillGroove/New Age Groove song. Its catchy rhythm makes the listener pay attention, and when Mary Gospe’s brilliant vocal comes on the band has our undivided attention. Leaving this crazy world for a while and joining them in an altered state seems like a great idea!
On a deeper level, “Altered State” can be interpreted as a recommendation to log off social media, 24/7 newsfeeds and start meditating (using 1970s logic it might be more of a suggestion to do LSD or other hallucinogenic drugs, but I don’t think that is the case here…). Judging by the overall atmosphere, the altered state is about recognizing that our everyday problems are tiny (to say the least) compared to the vastness of space. There is a lot of healing in that.
The moment you press play on “Love Is The Magic Of Change”, you step into The Song Gardeners’ world of music. It is an incredibly well-made soundscape; a catchy rhythm, pop textures, and a rich synth pad with a nice tremble – and Chris Day’s amazing bass (too many New Age music artists sadly overlook the bass). There is also an Eastern-influenced harp-like instrument (which we from the video can see is played on a Korg synth), which refines and completes the sound. It reminds me of Sally Oldfield’s best songs, it is that good.
It is easy to discredit songs dealing with “peace and love”. It somehow doesn’t feel genuine. “Love Is The Magic Of Change” though, is the real deal. It is about positive change – and it is encouraging on many levels.
“Reveal” is, according to the band, “an invitation for women across the globe to break free of outdated patriarchal, religious and cultural norms that keep them silenced and hinder their choices and freedom of expression.” The single contains chant sung by Gospe in Farsi, Spanish, and English.
In a world still dominated by men, songs like “Reveal” are essential. You could listen to a song before going to a job interview or before embarking on a creative project. Because your voice deserves to be heard and you have something interesting to say. It is a powerful and possibly life-changing message.
When dealing with a song like “Reveal”, it is easy to focus on its meaning from a philosophical and political angle. But make no mistake about it: “Reveal” is, simply put, a great pop song!
“Warrior of Light” is an incredibly well-made and radio-friendly piece that goes straight to the listener’s heart. The way it deals with problems and issues makes me think of political songs of the 1960s and 70s. It has that same powerful “we can fix this together” attitude. Even the color palette is all Peace & Love. Before Trump, it might have been a bit over the top, but now – in light of recent events – it is just right.
I love the use of “Activate”; being a Warrior of Light is a choice, not something that comes automatically. We humans are pre-programmed to be egotistical and are easily manipulated (“Fear or love, you decide”). But when we “activate the love inside”, everything changes. It is an awakening in every sense of the word, making you “Learn, discern, then go with your gut / Uncover cover-ups”. It is, without a doubt, the finest and most timely political New Age music lyrics ever.
Thinking of people as works of art is an eye-opening experience! “Harmony of Contrast” is like a three-and-a-half-minute crash course in “human artworks” and how to interpret people around you. Using art theory such as size, shape, texture, and color, The Song Gardeners show how we can “live peacefully in a harmony of contrast.”
Notice the many references to art and how every human on this planet is seen as a part of a “giant painting.” Talking about paintings: The one you see on the cover is called “Somewhere You Feel Free,” by Corinne Landphere, and is an homage to Tom Petty’s song “Wildflowers.”
With such powerful and inspiring lyrics, it is easy to miss all the other things that are going on. I have already mentioned the “70’s funk rhythm meets 80’s pop”, but just as important is the catchy melody. It is textbook hit material: 40 seconds of build-up and an equality long, well-crafted chorus, a bridge around 2 minutes and 20 seconds, and then repeat before the song goes in for a landing. In other words, perfect New Age pop.
Wow! What a nice collection of singles! It will be exciting to see how it all will fit together on the upcoming album, due to be released on 1 October:
For more information and music samples, visit thesonggardeners.com