Showing posts with label Acoustic Guitar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Acoustic Guitar. Show all posts

New Age Acoustic Review: Ryan Michael Richards-More Than Time

Release Date: February 20, 2021

Label: Independent



Ryan Michael Richards started playing guitar at 14 and was influenced by artists on Will Ackerman’s Windham Hill label like Ackerman himself and Alex De Grassi. The acoustic guitar performances of the EP More Than Time, echo those influences in a most profound and appealing way.

I enjoyed all of that Windham Music myself back in the early 90s so have some familiarity with the artists he references on his bio and in his approach and style. For this listen that is a door I willing walked through without any hesitation. Not to say I knew exactly what to expect but had some idea.

The five tracks on the EP are beautifully presented with Ryan Michael’s precision acoustic guitar playing.

“Moving Forward” starts off the proceedings with a warm introduction to the acoustic bliss you are going to experience from beginning to end. A little over 3 minutes gets the atmosphere set with some very nice and infectious notes. The sound of one man playing acoustic guitar and sounding like two is an amazing thing to hear. I most certainly appreciated his abilities straight away and anticipated more of the same.

“At Your Leisure” continues with the relaxing ambiance and the exquisite addition of Premik Russell Tubbs (Lyricon) and Michael Manring (Bass). The additional instrumentation is added layers of serenity that are easily created by the joining of all three instruments. Ryan’s guitar permeates the track and invites the other sounds to intermingle with his acoustic guitar like it was simply meant to be. In case anyone was wondering, the Lyricon is an electronic wind instrument that sounds similar to a flute. The track is the longest on the EP clocking in at 5:18. It was my favorite track.

Charlie Bisharat (violin) and Jill Haley (English Horn) join Ryan on “May I Have This Dance.” The title is very insightful into the question being asked of a prospective dance partner. I think what brings that element out more than ever is Charlie’s violin. It sounds elegant and with the appropriate addition of Jill’s English Horn, the track takes on a very majestic aspect, like watching the King and Queen dancing in the ballroom to start the coronation of the new prince in the castle.

“Friday At Five” is quite different than all the other tracks. It has a distinctly different rhythm to it, as all the others do, however, this one caught my ear as a different style of picking than what I heard previously. It is very purposeful and succinct but once you hear it, it definitely feels like a step away from the flow you heard prior.

“Timeless” which is the second-longest track at 4:01, closes out the EP. Premik returns to play but this time a lovely “quiet storm” saxophone gives the track a nice acoustic new age jazz feel. This I absolutely love and have appreciated for many years now. The interface of the genres, Ryan’s beautiful playing, and Premik’s lovely sax make this one a real gem and superb way to close out the album.

Although More Than Time is a brief excursion of acoustic ear candy, it is enough to satisfy any musical palette. It was done well by all involved including the unbeatable production team of Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton.

So, grab your favorite comfy chair, pop in the CD “At Your Leisure” and enjoy every second offered on More Than Time. I know I did.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
June 2, 2021


1. Moving Forward
2. At Your Leisure
3. May I Have This Dance
4. Friday At Five
5. Timeless

Instrumental New Age Review: Robert Linton-Beyond The Clearing

Release Date: January 5, 2016
Label: October Moon Records

Beyond The Clearing is Robert Linton’s third studio release. My introduction to Robert was the track “Aside the River Bed.” It was featured on our Rate The Tracks site. His delicate guitar playing led me along the river and I felt like I was there, one with nature.

If music moves you enough to be picturesque then it is doing what intends to. Instrumental tracks must create something other than an auditory experience for the listener. Without words there is no story right? This is not always the case when someone knows how to deliver a message with music alone. Mr. Linton accomplishes this with a flair and excellence on Beyond The Clearing.

“Lingering Rustle” certainly holds a meaning. It is a sound, perhaps a feeling one has, something is moving and trying to tell you something. That lingering could be a feeling you have internally, whether it’s an urging, a rumbling in the stomach or just a voice within giving you direction. That fact that it is lingering indicates that it will not go away unless addressed. This song is very gentle in its approach and Robert
paints the sky with the gentle pastels of his decisive guitar lines. Other instruments come into the picture and are then sprinkled in ever so slightly to accentuate the atmosphere and sincere feeling of the track.

As always I leave the interpretation of each song to each individuals own perception. I look at the CD cover, the title of the track and listen intently then put all of that together as each track develops and then I start feeling certain things and begin seeing a movie unfold in my mind’s eye. This can only happen with exceptional music and this album passed the test.

The title track is always significant and the artist holds up his end of that expectation with “Beyond The Clearing.” Once again gentle acoustic and melodic guitar lines whisper on the wind as it swirls around your being you begin to feel like you are melting into the scenery unfolding in your mind. It is the very essence of beauty and perfection much like the natural surroundings that Robert is standing in the middle of on the cover of this album. A man, his thoughts and his guitar take the barren hot desert and turn it into his own personal heaven. What was once looked at as a desolate and lonely place blooms into a haven of peace and solitude that a spiritual individual can appreciate and want to return to.

Beyond The Clearing is a work of art that an artist with a clear vision of what he wanted to present to a listening audience. The sheer beauty of one instrument leading you down the path of completion and satisfaction is what awaits you inside this music. The sounds and colors that paint this musical canvas are bright with life and the promise of a new day. What more could one ask from a recording?

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Aside the River Bed, Lingering Rustle, Beyond The Clearing

01. Aside the River Bend
02. Gathering over the Surface
03. Lingering Rustle
04. Shadowing the Hillside
05. A Distant Storm
06. Beyond the Clearing
07. Stretching Across the Horizon
08. Amid the Stillness
09. Beneath the Cloudless Sky

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
January 20, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews