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Journey Home

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Customer Reviews

From MainlyPiano

"Journey Home" is the debut recording by solo acoustic guitarist Raphael Groten. Produced by Will Ackerman and recorded at Imaginary Road Studio on Ackerman’s own guitars, this gentle album was created as an offering to those who wish to “Journey Home” within. In Ackerman’s words: “Raphael Groten’s music is an exercise in grace and ease. He’s not out to impress you and he’s not in a hurry. His music beguiles. He creates spaces into which one falls fully and gratefully. Raphael paints pictures of peace and contemplation and creates musical worlds that one longs to visit.” I couldn’t have said it better! The fourteen tracks are spacious and heartfelt, soothing the mind and spirit with each stroke of the guitar strings. Beautifully engineered and mastered by Tom Eaton, the guitar sound is clear and clean, but never harsh. A guitarist for more than thirty years, Groten’s debut is impressive and masterful with the elegance and simplicity of a musician who is at one with his music. This is a wonderful album for relaxation and renewal, and also works well as background music in a quiet setting.

"Journey Home" begins with “Sweetness,” a lovely piece that says as much with the spaces between the notes as it does with the notes themselves. Relaxed and soft-spoken, it sets the mood for the album, which is consistently quiet and easy-going. “Black River” is also very smooth and calm with freely-changing tempos and a dreamy feel. “Journey Home Awakening” is sometimes melodic, but is mostly on the ambient side with graceful open spaces between many of the musical thoughts. If possible, “Journey Home Breath” is even more open, expressing musical thoughts freely and spontaneously - almost conversationally. “Journey Home Echoes” is one of the most subtle tracks of the album, perhaps expressing how a guitar whispers. “Journey Home Arrival’ has the feeling of completion and resolution yet retains the quiet charm of the previous tracks. “Grandpa’s Hands,” while remaining in the quiet mode, tells a story that overflows with love and reflection. More melodic than the other tracks, it also has occasional “percussive” effects played on the body of the guitar. The gently-flowing “Be” spills over with warmth and encouragement, and is a bit livelier than most of the other tracks - a favorite. The album closes with a shorter reprise of the opening “Sweetness.”

"Journey Home" is a wonderful introduction to Raphael Groten and his music! Recommended!

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus

Although Raphael Groten has been playing guitar for 30 years, Journey Home is his debut solo recording on the instrument. But as the saying goes: “Good things are worth waiting for,” and Raphael has made up for lost time by delivering this finely crafted album that highlights his six-string talents. If listening to this recording brings up memories of the iconic Windham Hill sound, it is more than a coincidence. Journey Home was actually produced by the GRAMMY winning producer and founder of Windham Hill Records, Mr. Will Ackerman himself, at his renowned Imaginary Road Studios.

One of the most outstanding characteristics of Raphael’s sound is his spaciousness, allowing the music room to breathe between notes and phrases. In fact, the maestro Ackerman perfectly characterizes in this way: “Raphael Groten’s music is an exercise in grace and ease. He’s not out to impress you and he’s not in a hurry. Raphael paints pictures of peace and contemplation and creates musical worlds that one longs to visit.”

The album opens with “Sweetness,” which has a dreamy quality that puts you in the perfect relaxed state of mind to enjoy “Journey Home.” Tracks 4 through 7 are part of the album’s title suite, which Raphael describes as: “a microcosm of my work; each part carrying the listener to a different place.” “Ebb & Flow,” is also slightly more up-tempo and features some nice classic folk-style fingerpicking that reminded me a bit of guitarists like John Fahey or Leo Kottke.

There are many times and spaces where this would be the perfect soundtrack: early morning, late night, for relaxing, receiving a massage, doing yoga, etc. Again, I must reiterate about the spaciousness of these compositions. New age music pioneer Steven Halpern often speaks about the space between notes being as important and as much a part of the music as the notes themselves. Raphael seems intuitively aware of this in the way his notes and phrases are punctuated by silence. “Journey Home” is one of the most serene acoustic guitar albums I’ve ever heard.

To read a full-length feature article on this album, as well as others, please visit: MichaelDiamondMusic.com

It is perfect just the way it is!

I really enjoyed every track on this recording, however I listed the key tracks for their significance in title, besides the fact that they were all stellar compositions of beauty and grace.

Raphael Groten chose the right people to work with that would understand his music. Will Ackerman is a fine guitar player and producer himself so it is not hard to imagine why this project turned out so well.

Journey Home can hold different meanings for everyone but I know one thing for certain, if you like solo acoustic guitar music you will love this album! It is perfect just the way it is.

Keith Hannaleck

Journey Home, Raphael Groten
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