Reviews

CD Reviews

Read reviews of PMA member music. Search for your favorite style of music by narrowing your search by category.


“The Celtic Rose” by Marita Brake

Reviewed by Rosemarie Ashley

“The Celtic Rose” is a collection of original Celtic folk songs, presented with a blend of traditional and modern musical instruments, produced with state-of-the-art equipment. The listener is transported back in time by a variety of lyrical wording and melody styles, common many centuries ago; perfect for Renaissance enthusiasts and history lovers. The album cover and packaging draw the listener into a journey of deep introspection and wonder. This unique and original album is artistically courageous and thought-provoking, with phrases and metaphors not common in most commercial music.

Beginning with a welcoming instrumental on the first track, the album includes a variety of styles, most notably, a beautiful, heartfelt a cappella song.  Marita Brake is a talented singer, characteristic of a classically trained artist. Her tender but strong tone is soothing to the soul, with a mystical appeal. The album is filled with seamless, emotion-packed delivery of technically advanced vocal maneuvers.

Production of “The Celtic Rose“ is well above professional grade. The various instruments are mixed in perfect balance to highlight the vocal arrangements, in a dance of musical perfection. The musicians are obviously skillful in their respective crafts. Beyond that, they deliver a sound quality generally achieved through a harmonious synergy of talent and friendship between members. 

Buy the music: www.maritabrake.net/music.html

“Songs for Humanity” by Cahill & Delene

Reviewed by Rosemarie Ashley

“Songs for Humanity” is a well-written, performed and produced album of songs for introspection, reflection and celebration of life in a variety of musical styles including Adult Alternative, Pop Rock, Country Rock, Smooth Jazz, Gospel with a little Funk & Reggae. The album is a journey of hopes, fears, dreams, memories and right-action, focused on creating a better world, beginning within the self.

Barry Cahill and Delene St. Clair are both exceptional singers, supported by instrumental and production excellence. Their voices are smooth, clear and engaging. This team blends male and female energies seamlessly, focused on a single objective – communicating peaceful love energy to the world. Their harmonies merge in perfection to create hair-raising vibrations, touching the spirit and penetrating the soul of the listener.

This collection of “Songs for Humanity” is likely to find a home in many venues, from church choirs to bar room dance floors. Some of the music is upbeat, fun and engaging while other songs possess a mystical quality, reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s, drawing the listener in to experience cosmic enlightenment. The lyrics include spiritual truths, applicable to virtually any religious worship, without preaching dogma. Themes include friendship, race relations, personal growth, empowered involvement, romantic love, social consciousness, devotional praise and affirmative thinking, appropriate for any audience. 

Buy the music: www.cahillanddelene.com/products.html

“The DayMaker” by Richard Mekdeci

Reviewed by Rosemarie Ashley

“The DayMaker”is an excellent title to this collection of musical affirmations, motivation, inspiration and reflection. Richard Mekdeci has a keen ability to encapsulate universal truths into succinct, entertaining messages that everyone can grasp. The musical style is contemporary, with flavors of pop, adult alternative, jazz, reggae and country.

This album reflects spiritual values, including comfort and encouragement for those in pain, gospel music and prayers, encouraging reflection and hope. They are ideal for inclusion in church services and youth activities as well as family entertainment. Listeners can sit back and absorb the positive mental attitude lyrics, engage in solemn introspection, enjoy toe-tapping beats and sing along while being enveloped in a divine embrace of unconditional love.

“The DayMaker” includes songs that speak personally to this reviewer and are likely to appeal to a broad audience. “Delivery Driver” is a feel-good parable with thought-provoking lyrics, reminding us about the importance of serving humanity in our every-day lives. “The Part of Me That Is You” touches the heart as it affirms the divinity within us all. “The Way of God” is an inspirational story of persevering hardship by facing the illusion of fear and moving forward. “Peace in Our Lifetime” is a mystical hymn, supporting living in the now. “The DayMaker” is a perfect demonstration of the power of Positive Music. 

Buy the music: www.empowerma.com/catalog

“Little By Little” by Nathen Aswell

Reviewed by Rosemarie Ashley

“Little By Little” by Nathen Aswell, in addition to being an exceptionally produced collection of songs that support a conscious life, uses the power of vibration to create a spiritually interactive listener experience. The presentation opens and closes with a ceremonial ringing of a meditation bell, subconsciously preparing the listener for an energy-balancing, mystically cleansing connection to the Cosmos. Nathen sings directly to the soul, using a combination of professional excellence, entertaining melodies and a sincere delivery; including exceptional a capella performances and engaging harmonies. Song lyrics include messages for action-oriented personal growth, universal love and divine oneness. The musical style varies from light percussion and acoustic to adult contemporary, smooth jazz and a little funk.

“Breathe” is a daring a capella duet with hair-raising harmonies that balance male and female energy in divine communion. “I Can See You” is a Divine embrace of omni-present love. “Choose Love” celebrates free will in a relevant distinction between fear and love-based decisions. “Psalm 96” is a work of artistic genius, blending the human voice with tastefully engineered effects to passionately deliver ancient poetry to soothe the body, calm the mind and regenerate the soul. “Little By Little” is an introspective journey within, appropriate for any age and nearly every belief system. 

Buy the music: www.nathenaswell.com/page7/page7.html

“Feel The Presence” by Dan Del Negro

Reviewed by Rosemarie Ashley

“Feel The Presence” by Dan Del Negro is a collection of songs for spiritual growth, affirmative programming and meditation, performed by exceptional musicians, produced to the highest engineering standards and delivered with purpose-driven passion. The music is supportively peaceful, as if sampled from the gates of Heaven. Dan is a highly talented vocalist, demonstrating a combination of technical expertise and personal sincerity.

The album begins with songs that welcome listeners into a mindset of “Infinite Love”, emotional release, spiritual surrender, “Inner Harmony” and abundance. “Om Shanti” is a chant, backed up with various percussion instruments and synthesized serenity. The long tones vibrate to a universal frequency, transporting the imagination to an ancient tribal way of life; connecting humanity with the pulse of the planet and all her inhabitants. The multi-layered vocal tones merge to create hypnotic harmonies. “Loving Spirit” invokes a divine presence in an expression of gratitude for life. “Infinite One” is appropriate for a sitting or walking meditation, engaging the conscious mind as the subconscious ponders the indescribable vastness of Infinity. The album closes with a guided meditation, inviting communion with the source of all, encouraging loving cooperation and leaves the listener feeling revitalized and at peace. 

Buy the music: www.dandelnegro.com/store.html

“Light The Way” by Karie Hillery

Reviewed by Rosemarie Ashley

“Light The Way” by Karie Hillery is a delightful combination of upbeat songs and tender ballads with a consistent message of encouragement, perfect for any age and most belief systems. This is the kind of album that can be used as background music for individual, family and community activities or as a focal point for introspection, connection with the Divine and personal growth.

All of the musicians demonstrate professional technique and personal commitment to a spiritual way of life, as evidenced through the passionate delivery. Karie is a strong singer, with a luscious tone and conviction in every song. She weaves engaging harmonies throughout the album, like angels from Heaven. The musical accompaniment is top rate, with a variety of instrumentation including a two-piece horn section, guitars, piano & percussion. Universal truths including oneness of all, internal connection, gratitude, free will, surrender and the power of thought are reinforced in a variety of cheery and reflective music.

All of the songs on “Light the Way” communicate spiritual love energy, connecting humanity to the greater whole. Among them is “Releasing Letting Go”, a reminder to all the travelers on a spiritual journey that we must balance the visions of human potential with every day needs and “I am We Are God Is”, an affirmation of the divine essence within us all. 

Buy the music: www.karie.com

“Passages” by Joy Katzen-Guthrie

Reviewed by Cathy DeWitt

Joy Katzen-Guthrie is one of those rare players who is equally accomplished as both a pianist and a vocalist. Her voice is warm, expressive and personal, occasionally even reminiscent of Barbra Streisand, and her piano playing is excellent. This eclectic singer/songwriter shows her versatility on her recent CD release, “Passages.” It opens with an upbeat call to action, “Be Yourself,” driven by Tim Diehl’s rockin’ percussion, and ends with the celebratory, positive message of “Passages.” Although infused with a pop sensibility, the album comfortably crosses back and forth between musical genres.

A couple of my personal favorites are “Good Friends, Good Times and Good Music,” a Carole King-ish tribute to friendship and fun, and the moving love song to a child, “Every Day More Love,” which includes a lovely guitar solo from Brad Carlton. “Time Out” and “Freeway of Life” take different approaches to the busy-ness of our lives. Everyone can relate to “Sweet Friend, Dear Friend,” a song that asks a departed loved one, “Are you crying in the darkness, or floating on a cloud...are you singing to the angels?” “Make This Journey” is an earnest prayer to our Higher Power to help make us the best we can be, and “In Our Hands” reminds us that in this world it is really up to us. Joy Katzen Guthrie’s “Passages” is a musical journey worth taking. 

Buy the music: www.joyfulnoise.net

“Love Can Change The World” by Bev Barnett and Greg Newlon

Reviewed by Cathy DeWitt

Bev Barnett and Greg Newlon’s new CD “Love Can Change the World” truly takes the listener on a journey. The flow is excellent, beginning with somewhat contemplative pieces like “Let the Walls Come Down,” “Listen,” and “Prayer,” and eventually lifting into songs with faster tempos and more rockin’ instrumentation like “What is Enough,” “I Found Myself” and “Fire of Love.”

This is an album of carefully crafted songs, with wonderful harmonies reminiscent of Crosby, Stills and Nash; the Eagles, and some of the other great bands of the 70’s. That’s not to say that the music isn’t fresh and interesting, just that these are folks who have obviously been in the “biz” for awhile, know their way around a studio and a good arrangement. Newlon’s raspy voice is a perfect complement to Barnett’s smooth, beautiful alto; both the guitar playing and the vocals are excellent.

Some of my favorites include “Let the Walls Come Down,” and “What Makes a Man;” both are very personal, from the masculine point of view, and sweet reflections on love and family. “Everyday’s Back in Town,” co-written with the stellar J.D. Martin, has a clever message and a great swinging feel. The title cut, “Love Can Change the World” is also skillfully sung, heartfelt, and speaks to what all of us in the Posi movement are focusing on with our music these days. This CD would make a great addition to your Posi collection. 

Buy the music: www.bevandgreg.com/mystore

“Yes” by Nathen Aswell

Reviewed by Rosemarie Ashley

The album “Yes” by Nathen Aswell is a celebration of life, transformation, evolution and oneness of humanity, delivered in a variety of popular music styles. He captures the heart by affirming universal truth in upbeat and tender songs about facing the uncertainties of life with faith in self, each other and the divine source of all. The reaffirming theme is a connection between thoughts, words, feelings, action and results; encouraging personal responsibility for the choice of how to perceive circumstances and events. This CD is a non-denominational love song to God.

Title song “Yes” is a head-nodding positive affirmation about harnessing the power of thought. This song is an ideal pick for an on-the-way-to-work play list, setting the mindset for intentional co-creation. “Go For It All” is an upbeat soft rock song reminding the listener he is God’s expression of perfection in human form. It suggests a profound trust replace illusions of the external world. “The Faith of God” is about unlearning limiting beliefs, embracing faith, forgiving the self and being mindful that every thought and word is a prayer.

The album has clear and clean production aligned with engineering perfection, providing the listener with a smooth entertainment experience. Ideal performance venues include religious services and social events as well as any gathering of spiritually minded people. The music will be a welcome addition to positive mental attitude collections.

Buy the music: www.nathenaswell.com/page5/page5.html