"Life" by Michele McLaughlin on iTunes

13 Songs

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Customer Reviews

5 out of 5

8 Ratings

A delicious LIFE

Andy Two Trees,

Michelle McLaughlin has created an album that is beautifully written and impeccably performed. The artwork is fantastic and beautifully demonstrates the color, beauty and messiness of life.

The Gift has a hopeful feeling and is a lovely way to start this record. Michelle's playing is meticulous but flows organically. Her subtle rhythmic variations keep the music fresh. The Storm starts with a subtle seriousness that seems to have the feeling of gathering clouds and a disturbed sea. The storm gathers strength throughout and gradually, peacefully resolves itself. The third track, At Home, is a warm piece that is very spacious and invokes feelings of comfort and safety. I can envision sitting by the fire with a warm cup of tea. The title track Life, presents a rhythmic insistence that points to the constant movement of life. Slowing down the pace, Belonging provides a sweet reminder of joy, connection and hope. A Deeper Understanding is both peaceful and contemplative. The piece builds to a spark of insight with the excitement of realization that gently returns us back to our introspection. Drifting Through A Dream is a hypnotic, almost trance-like waltz. Movement seems to stop while you float through this gentle world. Heartbroken is a delicate flower. It's beautifully played with gentle patience and carefully crafted emotion. Following heartbreak we have Stronger, which signals the slow but steady recovery that builds with the passage of time. Precious Memories is a beautifully gentle tune. One can almost envision opening a music box full with sweet memories and visiting each one. We approach Crossroads with the heaviness of having important decisions ahead. Guilty Pleasures is a freeing exhale, gracefully moving through tempos to invoke images of the best of indulgences. Give It Time is a patient and methodical building of strength, intensity and confidence which ends with a bold restatement of the original theme and resolved powerfully.

Michelle has crafted an exceptional work. It is an emotional journey that is complete and satisfying. There is much to enjoy here and more to discover in each listen.

Al Jewer & Andy Mitran

From MainlyPiano

KathyPiano7,

"Life" is made up of highs and lows, joys and sorrows, memories, discoveries, choices, growth and even some crazy weather. Michele McLaughlin’s new album, Life, expresses it all beautifully with her inspiring positivity, resilience - AND her phenomenal piano! "Life" is her seventeenth solo piano album (not counting compilations), and I think it’s one of her best. To quote the liner notes of the CD, “Life is beautiful and colorful and full of diversity, but it is also messy and chaotic and full of imperfection.” The thirteen pieces on the album reflect on a broad range of experiences and moods, but even the darkest pieces carry a message of hope. McLaughlin always composes with honesty and a depth of emotion that make the music easily accessible to a broad range of listeners. The CD also contains a four-page booklet with the stories behind all of the pieces as well as credits. Life was recorded in McLaughlin’s home studio on her Fazioli grand piano, and was recorded and mastered by Joe Bongiorno from Piano Haven. A companion sheet music book is also available.

"Life" begins with “The Gift,” a gently energetic piece that suggests that if we see life and everything in it as gifts, we will begin to appreciate and cherish everyone and everything. Fingers dance on the piano keyboard expressing joy and a lightness of being. “The Storm” is one of my favorites. It begins in the upper half of the piano with a poignant, melancholy melody front and center. As the piece evolves, it moves around the piano, becoming more dramatic and then subsides. “At Home” is a love song paying homage to the feeling of being held by someone who loves you and makes you feel at home. Very relaxed and often very tender, it is an excellent example of what I was referring to about the emotional content of the music and how personal yet universal it is. The title track is very lively and in constant motion - another favorite. “Belonging” is very open and spare, with a simple, heartfelt melody and an even simpler accompaniment - a great example of “less is more” and how effective it can be. “Drifting Through a Dream” is also very minimalist and another favorite. The quietly rolling left hand pattern is hypnotic while the melody draws you in. “Stronger” is about getting knocked down, bouncing back and emerging stronger than ever. The piece starts out slowly, feeling very sad, and gradually lightens as it develops, expressing hope and healing. I also really like “Crossroads,” which makes the point that life is a series of decisions and choices and that we are in a constant state of crossroads. A variety of themes are woven together to depict life’s ups and downs as well as the choices we make. “Give It Time” is the closing track and it’s my favorite on the album. The piece is about the healing power of time. Very dark and passionate at the beginning, it picks up energy as it evolves and ends with a powerful bang.

Fans of Michele McLaughlin have a good reason to rejoice with the release of "Life"! If you are new to her music, this is a great place to start! Highly recommended!

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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