"Waking the Muse" by Michele McLaughlin on iTunes

13 Songs

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Customer Reviews

5 out of 5

10 Ratings

From MainlyPiano

KathyPiano7,

I had serious doubts that Michele McLaughlin could ever top her 2010 release, "Out of the Darkness," but she has outdone herself with "Waking the Muse"! A fabulous new piano and extensive touring seem to have inspired and brought out the best in McLaughlin’s muse, dormant as it was for awhile. Usually an exceptionally prolific composer, I’m sure it was agonizing when the music just wouldn’t come, but once the floodgates opened, out came McLaughlin’s best collection of original piano solos yet. The thirteen pieces are a rich emotional mixture of joyful light and deepest darkness with the scale tipping a bit toward the dark, turbulent side. Strength and self-confidence flow from this music, even at its most despairing. Being familiar with McLaughlin’s recordings from the beginning and witnessing her artistic growth over the past eight years has been nothing short of awesome! (Her new 6’11” Fazioli sounds fantastic, too! Ooooh, that bass!!!)

There isn’t a weak track on "Waking the Muse," but I’ll cover some of the highlights. It begins with the title track, a lively piece that expresses a mix of emotions ranging from almost mournful and desperate to anxious and excited with anticipation. “Radiance” is vibrant and alive with happy fingers dancing all over the piano keys. “Spiritual Awakening” was inspired by a serene morning cruise in Alaska and feeling connected to the universe. Sometimes flowing smoothly and sometimes more rhythmic, it’s a complex and powerful piece. “Humbled” seems to be a self exploration as well as a musical one - a beauty! “Misty Fjords” is the most carefree and joyful of the pieces on the CD. Inspired by an exhilarating seaplane ride over the Alaskan mountains in Ketchikan, it swirls and leaps with excitement. “Gratitude” is a graceful and heartfelt expression of thanks. “Until We Meet Again” was composed in honor of an uncle who passed away last year. Warm and loving, it also conveys deep sadness. “The Little Red Bird” is a Celtic-tinged improvisation created while a little red bird jumped from branch to branch in a tree outside her window as she played. “Torn” is a deeply poignant heartbreaker overflowing with tears and powerful emotions. “Unrequited Love” is too sad for words, but McLaughlin pours her heart out in one of her most affecting pieces yet, allowing us to share her painful emotions. “Dangerous Obsession” is extraordinary. Very dark and dramatic, the ominous deep bass goes right to the soul. Fury, passion, and frustration cry out from the heart of the piano as well as the pianist, reminding me once again that life’s worst experiences often culminate in an artist’s best work. That makes me sad, but this music is incredible!

"Waking the Muse" is certain to be on my list of Favorites for the year. I give it my very highest recommendation. (A companion songbook is on its way!)

This is Michele Mclaughlin's best album!

Joseph Akins,

This is Michele Mclaughlin's best album. I've listened to it many times and enjoy it a little more each time. Recorded on a Fazioli grand piano, it has a warm, rich superb sound.

It's difficult to say which track is my favorite because I like so many of them. One track after another gets 5 stars from me. She plays with such freedom and passion. The muse is definitely awake!

About Michele McLaughlin

A self-taught pianist and composer with a delicately facile style, new age keyboardist Michele McLaughlin played the instrument as a kindergartener. Inspired by a performance of George Winston's she saw at just eight years old, she applied herself to learn his tunes by ear and eventually began writing her own pieces. She released her first album, the tranquil Beginnings, in 2000. After positive feedback, she composed 16 songs in four months for her second release, Elysium. Over the next few years, she composed, performed, and self-released 2002's The Journey, 2003's A Change of Color, 2004's The Beginning of Forever, and the next year's After the Storm, before releasing Reflections 2000-2005: The Best of Michele McLaughlin. The collection was followed by 2006's Christmas Plain & Simple, and Dedication in 2007. Around this time, she committed to being a full-time musician and began performing and touring regularly. A Celtic Dream arrived in 2008, and 2010 saw Out of the Darkness and Christmas Plain & Simple II. Breathing in the Moment was released in 2012, followed by 2013's Waking the Muse. 2015's Undercurrent debuted at number five on the Billboard New Age Albums chart. ~ Marcy Donelson

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