Steve Sheppard Review – Shifting Sands

Lynn Tredeau has risen to relative fame in her genre on the back of three very successful albums and now a fourth sits proudly on my desktop. I had a long chat with Lynn on skype a while back and she assured me that this release was going to be far different, far more reflective, so let’s start on another musical quest with Lynn Tredeau and her latest release Shifting Sands.

We start this pleasurable perambulation with the first track entitled Lost in Familiar Surroundings. I have now listened to this piece twice and it’s so moving, it reminded me of when I left England, I felt like a stranger in my own land, in my own country, and even more so in my own home and if this music had of been released then, it would have been the soundtrack for that confusion. The creation of tone here is very emotive and almost imploring.

Shifting Sands the title track is up next and this one says it all, there is a real sense of power here, but one that cries as it tries to ride the constant and ever changing motif of life’s never ending amendments. Listen carefully to this one, this is beautifully played and is very cleverly performed.

Our next offering is called Warm Embrace; Tredeau is fast becoming a true artist at creating wonderful visuals in the mind with her musical paint brush, the piano, and one could easily visualize sitting next to a roaring fire and getting a big old fashioned hug to this composition.

On Dance of the Unknown, we have a real change of mood, there is a very ingenious motif used in this piece, this was one of my personal favorites. Here the artist has created a narrative that is both unsure, and then seems to regain confidence through the quicker segments; this is an arrangement that really shows the musical maturity of Lynn Tredeau.

As we move to Looking to Lowman, I feel that I have drifted back in time, to a place I one visited in the states when my life turned chaotic, the place was beautiful, but I had sadness in my eyes. This for me is a song in two parts, one that seems to illustrate beauty, but also one that has a sense of sorrow built deep within its structure, a very moving and deeply reflective piece indeed.

I must own up here now, this track is my favorite off the release, it moved me so much I had to stop writing at one point, it’s called Travel Me Home. A sense of longing can be found here in this performance, and the piano is played with such a tender hand at the helm. I have given this a few listens now and each time I can hear the lyrics of a song run through my mind’s eye. This is perhaps a theme for that moment, when you just want to be back at home and with a loved one, who is many miles away.

Life at Four is once more a change in course and the arrangement has a sense of lightness about its construction; this very playful composition seems to flow with a seamless energy of wonder and happiness.
We now move over the half way marker and come across a piece called To Breathe at Last, I must applaud Lynn Tredeau for this song, it has a clever “sigh” of notes played here, one so obvious, that I found myself letting out air each time it was performed. This is a really beautiful and an empowering track and another favorite of mine. The use of a very slight pause here is so very deft, and created by a musician who really knows her stuff, please listen carefully to this one, it’s a real masterpiece, oh and, breathe!

The Last Mile, could have been also called the last breath, the last smile, the last kiss, but you will get my meaning. This is so deep it touches each of us at a level that reveals our vulnerability to a deeply emotive moment in our lives. The slow, but weighty introspection of this piece is dramatic in its tones, a sadness, a musical moment is created here of when we never want to say goodbye, but have no choice.

We all dream of reaching that Oasis in life, when all is just a bit too much and we need a sanctuary, and perhaps with this rather charming opus we can do just that, perfect in pitch and tempo, this is a restful slice of beauty manifested into our realm by the musician, at a perfect point in the album.

Our penultimate offering is called Whispers of Hope and once more Tredeau creates that with great clarity and style, it’s still reflective in its overall nature, but a slight elevation of notes is enough to allow that feeling of hope to come shining through.

Seems almost a shame dear constant reader that I now must say that this is the last track off the album, the artist will gift us one more offering before she closes the doorway to the album for us here, and it’s called If Ever in My Life. This is probably the gentlest composition on the release and is played with a certain sensitivity that is so very impressive; it is also a calming and uplifting way to leave the musical journey.

Shifting Sands has seen Lynn Tredeau shift gears and deal a hand of musical cards that show a whole new side of her performance, the reflective nature of this release, the professional artistry and stylish arrangements are a delight to behold and I can say that without doubt, the musician is on to a real winner with this one, one that will no doubt carry her far higher that she has ever gone before. If you’re a solo piano fan this has to be an absolute must for your collection. Shifting Sands is a cathartic musical journey of great meaning, it will touch you at the deepest level and move you with every beautiful twist and turn throughout the release. This is a truly special and very honest album, and one that you cannot afford miss out on.

-Steve Sheppard, One World Music Radio