Showing posts with label Rick Sparks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rick Sparks. Show all posts

Holiday Instrumental-New Age Review: Rick Sparks-Christmas Night

Release Date: September 17, 2020

Label: Independents


Rick Spark’s desire to recreate traditional Christmas in the most spiritually renewing way is achieved on his most recent release Christmas Night.

This is most definitely Holiday music done with taste and with a touch of angelic beauty. Usually around this time of year or well before it actually, advertising is already pushing the purchase of goods, etc. This is much too early and it normally succeeds in turning me into Mr. Ba Humbug until that blessed day with loved ones finally arrives and all of that disappears.
Rick said: Christmas Night is “the perfect companion for fireside dreams in December.” I have to agree and it is more than that to me. This music made me feel the true meaning of this hallowed holiday that we celebrate every year around the world.

It is warm and inviting and very soothing. So much so, it acts as a meditative and aural experience. All of the walls come down as you let the music into your heart. It will turn your grumpy ba humbug to insignificant mush.

“The First Noel” was one of my favorites as it remained recognizable yet Rick was able to make it his special interpretation. “What Child Is This” will penetrate your being and fill your heart with light and joy. It gives you a feeling that there indeed was a baby Jesus and his mother was blessed to bring him to us here on earth. We sure could use his help right now. I found “Silent Night” as moving as it ever was and loved this version. Those are three examples of many that you will find in this collection.

All the flutes, bells, keyboards, and gorgeous non-verbal singing gave me back memories of when I was a boy going the Christmas mass with my family. It is the time of year I feel most vulnerable to my emotions and memories that I hold so dear to my heart. Christmas Night allowed me to let that love in and feel it for what it is and be grateful for it rather than sad. We all grow up and are introduced to our new families through marriage and partnerships. That can be a beautiful thing as well.

Christmas is for the kids they say, I do not subscribe to that. I think it is for everyone willing to embrace it and enjoy the celebration of the birth of one of our saviors on this planet we inhabit.

Christmas Night inspired me to write these words you read, to feel what I felt, and most important come to the realization that music like this can give me an entirely different perspective on what I normally go through each year. So, folks let all of the pre-holiday advertisements and shelves full of ornaments and decorations coming out before Halloween roll right off your back. Think about the true meaning of the day and hang on to that conviction and everything else will just fade into the background. If you happen to need some help along the way listen to Christmas Night and may you all have a “Silent Night” and sleep in heavenly peace.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
October 26, 2020

Track List:
01. Christmas Night
02. Christ Is Born
03. The First Noel
04. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
05. In the Bleak Midwinter
06. What Child Is This
07. Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
08. Once in Royal David's City
09. Silent Night
10. Nativity

New Age Instrumental Review: Rick Sparks-Endless

Release Date: October 1, 2014
Label: Independent

Rick Sparks began his journey into music at a mere seven years of age with an old spinet. Over the years he has played in churches, been a music DJ, a broadcaster and finally an artist with several albums to his credit. Pop, gospel and classical all make an appearance and he was heavily influenced by Vince Guaraldi and George Winston and grew to love New Age. His new album Endless is a mix of original compositions an Irish hymn and four Scottish ballads with a song from Bill Leslie’s hit album Scotland - Grace of the Wild. The cover was designed by starscape photographer Ben Canales and the theme of the album is God’s everlasting love, always endless, always present even when sometimes it doesn’t seem like it.

The album opens with Gordon Lightfoot’s 1970 piece “Beautiful.” It then moves into the piece “Dream Angus.” When I first heard the title I immediately thought of last night’s dinner of a dreamy looking steak sitting on my plate and as I closed my eyes, my spirit was indeed replenished and rejuvenated. Whether by the thoughts of last night’s bliss or the beautiful piano music drifting over me, I felt the peace Sparks was trying to convey. Sleeping dreams can be had while we are awake if only we allow ourselves to see the greatness in all that God has provided us; sound and substance, melody and rapture, or even just a steak with some very lovely sauce. Piano and eloquence is the champagne of life.

“Endless” is the title track for the album. Delicate piano strains twist and turn into a provocative and thought provoking musical narrative. God is the endless sky…the eternal force that keeps the universe ticking. No matter the name-because names are fleeting-the energy is there. Always and forever. A breath of life and a sparkle in the velvet darkness.

“Wexford Carol” is an old song that makes me think of the holidays whenever I hear it. Full of hearth and heart, it calls to mind the gathering of family and friends to take stock in all that is truly important in this world. Percussion, wind instruments, piano and a myriad of instrumentation bring this classic song of hope and the majesty of the human spirit to life.

“Loch Lomond” is pure magic. The ethereal nature of this piece was a shiver of delight. Vast and eternal as the starry skies on the beautiful album cover, this song is a blend of vocals, piano and various other electronica. The blend of music and effects crafts a piece that dips deep into the primordial mysteries of a loch in the wilds of Scotland and I wouldn’t be surprised if a wee kelpie were to pop up and say boo. Of all the tracks, this song was one that reverberated with mystery and made me want to look into the deep to see what would be watching back.

Rick Sparks is a musician with several albums under his belt. His love of music shows in every track on Endless and the blend of original works, cover songs and historic favorites make this album a wonderful listen. He is a professor of mass communication and a pianist at his local church.  If you want a respite from the world this holiday season have a sit down with Endless. It is a joy to the world. Kind of like pie…

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Endless, Loch Lomond, Wexford Carol, Dream Angus

01. Beautiful
02. Dream Angus
03. Endless
04. Be Thou My Vision
05. Portree
06. Wexford Carol
07. Wonderful, Merciful Savior
08. At Rest
09. Loch Lomond
10. Be Still, My Soul

Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer

November 12, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews