Showing posts with label Ann Sweeten. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ann Sweeten. Show all posts

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Ann Sweeten-Love Walks Through Rain

Release Date:  June 11, 2023

Label: Orange Band Records


Ann Sweeten has an extensive discography to share with music lovers. Love Walks Through Rain has assured a place amongst one of her favorite recordings. She shares her music on a magnificent Steinway piano with exceptional grace and precision. Ann returned to Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios to record her ninth proper album—as would be expected, the recording production values are beyond reproach.

The title would imply that true love can withstand life when rain comes our way. When we are in a storm, the one person we know that can be counted on is the one we love or, if we are fortunate, all those we love. In Ann’s life, she has conquered cancer twice and is currently battling leukemia. That says much about her resiliency and ability to let love help her walk through the rain. Her music is beautifully composed and performed with flawless melodies.

In addition, the timeless beauty that her piano gives a listener with each track, there are brilliant guest appearances included such as Charlie Bisharat (Violin), Eugene Friesen (Cello), Nancy Rumbel (English Horn), Premik Russell-Tubbs (EWI, Soprano Saxophone), Will Ackerman (Guitar) and Tom Eaton (Bass).

Her soul's emotional depth and impact in the music is felt strongly. Take “The Winter’s Circle,” for instance; her piano calls out to you like it is singing with the angels from heaven. The additional instruments, such as the violin and cello, are the perfect companions to emphasize the delicate touch of her fingers on the piano's keys. It is an ode to strong faith and unyielding spirituality that the artist feels and how it is transformed and envisioned for the listener to receive. The impact is unquestionable.

You will notice some changes in the mood and pace with a track likeRed – Requiem for an Old Friend.”  There is some melancholy with a requiem; however, you can also hear the triumph and hope in the song. The track runs for 5:58, which is the longest on the album, thus giving it space for several changes in pace and depth. I did appreciate the different feelings I went through, and that was the point of the track. One goes through several emotions when losing a loved one or friend, so the natural flow of the music and its changes was like an emotional mirror for the creator and could serve in the same way for anyone. The power of great music and piano-based instrumentals like those presented on Love Walks Through Rain will show you how that works so well.

Every track on Love Walks Through Rain will allow the listener to use it for healing, grieving, happiness, and sadness. The range of the human condition is far-reaching, and everyone should stop and listen to any instrumental music that can touch upon all that complexity.

Ann Sweeten has created another masterwork of piano instrumentals that will leave an indelible mark on you. You will be compelled to listen to it more than once; I can guarantee you that. With everything to gain and nothing to lose now, why wouldn’t you listen to Love Walks Through Rain?

I cannot tell anyone what they feel or how the music will be interpreted. I can promise that the pure emotion of Ann Sweeten’s instrumentals will touch you somehow. I know how it affects me, and I do my best to describe that in my own words. I hope that each listener will find peace and healing in this music. I most certainly did.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- NAMR Founder

September 26, 2023


01. Valley Greene 4:22

02. Glimmer 5:21

03. Seirios 4:08

04. The Winter’s Circle 5:33

05. Love Walks Through Rain 4:54

06. Red – Requiem for an Old Friend 5:58

07. The Hills of Riversong 5:32

08. The Shadow of You 4:38

09. Through Jasmine’s Eyes 5:12

10. Out of the Fog 4:42

11. Valley Greene Orchestral Reprise 4:26

New Age Instrumental Review: Ann Sweeten-Change Is in the Wind

Release Date: September 3, 2021

Label: Orange Band Records



Ann Sweeten takes us all on another instrumental new age journey on Change Is in the Wind. This is the fourth release I have covered in her catalog.

Ann has defeated breast cancer twice and is now battling leukemia. It makes me wonder why so many people have to go through so much suffering in their lives. It is for a reason, that is what many people will say, and even those going through it. It is about acceptance, healing, and moving to the next phase of your spiritual development, here on earth or another level of existence.

With that thought in mind, I think artists such as Ann Sweeten come from a place not all of us can understand. Although there are physical issues, we all deal with, some are more serious and life-threatening than others. In that very moment of realizing your life is once again being threatened, the enlightened will look at it as another opportunity to grow and get stronger. That is exactly the choice that Ann made recording this album.

While reading all of her notes in the CD pamphlet I realized that there were so many things I could relate to. She mentioned sitting in her garden and a butterfly and hummingbird came to visit. She immediately looked at it as one of nature’s gifts and god’s messengers. I have always felt that way about wildlife I “coincidentally” came across, and no I do not believe in coincidence, I see these beautiful creatures as a reminder of the beauty and life that surrounds me.

This has everything to do with the music of Ann Sweeten. The appreciation, connection, and the awesome beauty of god’s gifts that are given to us while we are here. It is important to me to know about the artist and their music, what drives them, where their energy is coming from, and what is the process that gets them to the end of an entire recording. I find out a lot of this on my Podcast’s however just by listening to the music, reading a bio on a website, or the liner notes, I have a lot to think about before I listen, and then it changes my entire experience.

Ann and her Steinway Baby Grand Model B will sweep you away into another time and place, the mists of time melt away, and your feelings are engaged and pictures will enter your mind. This music moves me in a way no other genre can. It takes away any preconceptions of what I will hear and allows me to flow with the music and feelings that are happening. And yes, it is meditative and healing, her music has always had that effect on me.

“What My Eyes Can’t See” is one of the most prolific tracks she has ever created. And interestingly enough it connects to “What Blooms Beneath The Snow.” It is untouched beauty yet to blossom as we wait for the snow to melt and the sun’s rays to provide the warmth to initiate the growth. Life is like that in many ways. In some ways perhaps the disease that this amazing woman is currently dealing with has brought about something she now can see, and the growth is beginning because another part of her physical being is going through yet another change. I can see how she weaved all of these titles with meaning into her gorgeous representation of instrumental piano work. The spiritual essence of this individual is alive and well in this music and as she created it, presents it to us all, she is healing as well. This is her gift to the world and with that, we all must appreciate what is before us and take advantage of the beautiful sound and expressions being delivered through those ivory keys.

I think there has been Change Is in the Wind for several years now. The awareness is getting stronger with each passing day on a global level. For me, I count my blessings every day. When I realized what was going on with Ann it changed my entire perspective on my own life. Even though there is gratitude present, I believe there could be more. We all need to give each other as much understanding and opportunity to express our true feelings and love for each other. Music like this gets me into the right space where all of these thoughts come to me one at a time for yet another moment of consideration. Music without words can be more powerful than heartfelt lyrics. Ann Sweeten has mastered that artistry and Change Is in the Wind is another documentary of her amazing life and talent.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
September 3, 2021 

01. Arctic Dance
02. What Blooms Beneath the Snow
03. May 24, 42 Years Ago
04. Turning the Page
05. What My Eyes Can’t See
06. One Last October
07. Forever Sunday
08. Emergence
09. Change is in the Wind
10. Silver Lining

Instrumental New Age Review: Ann Sweeten-Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow

 Artist: Ann Sweeten
Title: Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow
Label: Orange Band Records

Ann Sweeten has a story to tell. This incredible woman and musician has suffered through 3 bouts of cancer. I found her words inspirational. She does not want anyone to feel sorry for her, she wants positive support and for people to stop and smell the roses of life that abound all around us. 

I covered the 2016 release Where Butterflies Dance and in 2014 Tapestries of Time So now I am ready for the latest offering Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow.

Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow is her story set to music. Words are not necessary with such talent at the keys. The eloquence and beauty of piano instrumental music reach new heights for the artist on this release. With everything going on in her personal life she has found the energy and inner spirit to push herself beyond any physical limitations and turn into something positive and wonderful.

The title track is a gorgeous heartfelt melody flowing like a stream of rhythmic in-sync spirituality. In other words, Ann becomes one with the music and the end result is extraordinary. “Philadelphia 22” is so emotional and full of the grace of the heavens. The power of her rolling piano passages finds its foundation in classical but the soul of the track is all Ann. The addition of the cello, English Horn, and violin give the tracks another layer that brings an additional emotive element and that classical sensibility.

There is sadness in the music however her piano brings out the joy and positive vibes that are within her and it will heal not only the artist but everyone that hears it. That is the beauty of this music. The story behind it all is incredibly real and it will touch many lives.

Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow will leave an indelible mark upon your soul. After reading about her tribulations, the music took on a stronger significance. Just knowing what Ann has been through, her great attitude and the messages she delivers in the music, it would give anyone pause. I heard the birds chirping last night and looked at my wife and said “Hear them chirping? They sound so happy.” That is the purity of nature and all the sounds, smells, and colors that are all around us. I am so grateful for that kind of awareness and the gift of this music, all music, that heals and takes me to another level of reality. 

This kind of instrumental music envelops you in a cocoon of tranquility that cannot be retrieved during a normal busy day. This surely is music made for those seeking healing that goes beyond words.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 27, 2019

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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

01. Across the Midnight Sky          
02. Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow      
03. Beyond the Clouds          
04. The Empty Swing          
05. Saying Goodbye              
06. Philadelphia 22          
07. Vanish                  
08. Lullaby for Blackie Boo          
09. Through Winter Panes          
10. Like Smoke Through a Keyhole  

New Age Instrumental Review: Ann Sweeten-Where Butterflies Dance

Release Date: June 3, 2016
Label: Orange Band Records

Where Butterflies Dance is Ann Sweeten’s twelfth album. The title is such a great fit for the music presented on this album. If you listen to her hands glide across the keyboard it is not hard to envision butterflies flitting about.

If you take the time to read the inner sleeve notes of this CD you will find that this music is dedicated to the butterflies, specifically the Monarch Butterflies. They are on the brink of extinction because of pesticides destroying the milkweed plants which are their source of food and reproduction. After reading all of that information it certainly puts a different spin on the music you are about to hear.

Creating a vision through music without words surely is a process and more difficult than one could imagine, particularly those of us that are not actually recording the music, just listening. We have the easy job.
I make no mistake about letting people know how much I admire and appreciate instrumental music. The more I listen to it the more I understand how amazing it is. It is not unlike an artist taking a blank canvas and painting a striking picture to be admired by everyone that has the pleasure to see it.

Ms. Sweeten takes you on a journey through 10 tracks focused on her love of the environment and the creatures that inhabit it. Her staunch support and respect for those two factors are the driving force of the music that she creates.

Ann’s piano playing is gorgeous throughout this album, that is the best way to explain it. There is a flow and natural rhythm like what mother earth so generously gives us all. A heartbeat of life that pulsates, ebbs and flows like the tides of the sea, the music will capture you as you fall into it without even knowing it. That kind of experience is indeed magical like all of the miracles of life around us. Most importantly it is a reminder that we need to respect all life and not let corporate greed extinguish it for their profit. 

Each track follows the next in natural progression. One track is not more important than another because they become intrinsically linked like it was meant to be. For that specific reason I need to acknowledge the entire album as one entity not just a few significant tracks, I want to bring attention to it all. 

If you enjoy instrumental music and most particularly piano based tracks, you will love Where Butterflies Dance. It can be enjoyed by just sitting back and listening, meditation, focusing or just decompressing at the end of the day. For those of you that happen to have a stressful commute to and from your place of employment this music would be a great tool to avert the stress associated with that travel.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: ALL

01. A Trace of You
02. Broken Wing at North Light
03. Elysian Fields
04. Love Among the Ruins
05. Veil of Tears
06. Morning Mist at Chimayo
07. Sateo
08.The Hanging Road
09. Where Butterflies Dance
10. Migration

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
May 2, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

New Age Instrumental Review: Ann Sweeten-Tapestries of Time

Release Date: February 14, 2014
Label: Orange Band Records

Ann Sweeten has been delighting audiences for seventeen years with her exquisite performances. In her newest album Tapestries of Time, Sweeten is even more focused than ever, providing a musical experience like no other. An activist, actress and environmentalist, Sweeten is dedicated to using her music as a healing tool. A breast cancer survivor, she is active in programs that promote artist and patient interaction. This new album is Sweeten’s tenth and is co-produced with the legendary Will Ackerman.

A blend of classical style with improvisational flair, this album comes to life with “Afterglow.” A melodious experience, the music just flutters there, hovering like a butterfly on the wing.  

“Cavu” is a term in aviation that describes ceiling and visibility unlimited. This song was written and dedicated to Sweeten’s father, a Navy Pilot in WWII. The piece floats and twists smooth as a plane drifting through the clouds. Elements of string instruments delight and summon memories and a moment in time that will be held deep in my heart forever. The plodding rhythm carries you along as you experience the cohesive nature of this piece.

“Send Me An Angel” is a proclamation against animal testing. Sit there and look out through the bars. Someone in a white coat comes and opens your cage. A hand reaches inside and something is plunged into your flesh. It burns and hurts, but there is nothing you can do. The hand puts you back in the cage, leaving you there in pain. What have they injected into you? Will it cause cancer? There is no way to know. The endless hours of staring out and watching the world go by never cease. Sweeten captures this hopeless feeling in poignant detail with a composition that will bring tears to your eyes. Eloquent piano strains fill your eyes as the hope of these little animals reaches out like an infinite prayer. Animal testing, no matter the good it may do is still an atrocity and that will never change.

“Riversong” is dedicated to a space dear to Sweeten’s heart. The river travels far and wide, but this place stays the same. The lull of tempered melodies and the majesty of  the Oboe, English Horn and a small part for the French Horn within the piece bring the listener to that tranquil place where nothing matters but where you are. The river is there and you hear its song.
“The Great Divide” brings to life a poem Sweeten composed about the gap between adults and their inner child. Keep the magic alive and reach inside yourself to find that elusive light. Never forget the magic. Sweeten’s talented fingers lead you through an inner journey; a reawakening of the spirit.

Each piece in Tapestries of Time is in some way a reflection of a special memory held by the artist. Whether it is her father and his experiences in WWII in “Cavu” or an awakening of the spirit in “The Great Divide,” Sweeten’s hypnotic compositions relax and restore. Her plea to stop animal cruelty in “Send Me An Angel” is vitally important. As someone who lives with rescue dogs, it warms my heart to see her fighting for the rights of animals everywhere. Each and every track is special and spending a week listening to it is not nearly enough time. This album has earned a long time presence in my library. Ms. Sweeten has the fingers of an angel and the heart of a warrior. She has won her own personal fight with cancer and helps others to do the same all the while trying to protect the animals that get thrown in the middle. Some people are heroes. They don’t wear capes but they do fly. Ann Sweeten is one of those. Music is her super power and she uses it with dead on laser accuracy. Beauty, grace and selflessness come out of every note. 

If you want an album that will take your breath away, you won’t want to miss Tapestries of Time.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Afterglow, Cavu, Send Me an Angel, Riversong

Dana Wright

March 6, 2014


01. Afterglow

02. Cavu (Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited)

03. Endless Sky

04. Hypnotique

05. Ventanas Al Mar (Windows to the Sea)

06. Of Clouds and Dreams

07. Send Me an Angel

08. Tapestries of Time

09.The Great Divide

10.The Hourglass


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