13 Songs, 53 Minutes

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

From MainlyPiano

KathyPiano7

"Seashells In My Pocket" is the debut album by longtime Georgia piano teacher Pam Asberry. Classically-trained from the age of seven, Asberry always knew she wanted to be a piano teacher and went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy. Like so many of us who had similar training, improvisation and composition were not encouraged, and despite her passionate love for music and the piano, Asberry didn’t feel that she was destined to become a composer. Her quotation explains that feeling so well: “The truth was it felt safer to play someone else’s music than to risk failure trying to create my own. Still, sometimes I wondered, ‘What if?’” Earlier this year, a simple melody came to Asberry when she was out walking one morning, and that melody became her first original piano solo, “Monterey Morning.” By the end of June, she had completed fifteen piano solos, thirteen of which appear on this album. Obviously, the proverbial flood gates have been opened!

The thirteen pieces on the album were inspired by some of the islands and coastal cities Asberry has visited. The music is not overly complex, but Asberry has created heartfelt vignettes that describe special times and experiences “like shells plucked from the seashore and tucked into my pocket as souvenirs from a magical day at the beach.” The music is melodic and graceful, and most of it is played at a relaxed and leisurely tempo. It’s an album that easily lends itself to quiet times of reflection or whenever you feel like slowing down the frantic pace of everyday life.

"Seashells In My Pocket" begins with “Cozumel Blue Waters” with its graceful ebb and flow describing the ocean at its calmest and most serene. “Wishing Stones” is light and wistful and was inspired by a tradition in Aruba where stacks of small stones are built on the beach and a wish is made on each stone. While listening to the album, I kept thinking that one of the pieces sounded like a hymn. It turns out that the piece is called “Island Cathedral” and was inspired by the Alto Vista Chapel in Aruba! “Sleepy Tide” is incredibly peaceful and hypnotic - almost magical. “Dunns River Falls” is much more dramatic with a tempo that really moves and some powerful deep bass accents - a favorite. “The Mermaid’s Tears” is a ballad (without words) that was inspired by the legend of the mermaid who tamed the seas to save the life of a sailor and was banished by Neptune to the ocean depths. A very effective piece of musical storytelling, this one is also a favorite. I really like “Ocean Stars,” “a sound painting of the sun shining brightly on the ocean surface, creating glittering stars in the daytime” (quoted from the liner notes). It begins at the upper end of the piano with a lively, dancing rhythm that beautifully imitates sparkles on the water. I love the ending with a simple phrase from “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” “Sailing Home” brings our journey to a close with the mixed feelings that always come as we return to our “normal” lives after an expedition, grand or humble.

Pam Asberry is off to a great start with this new phase of her musical career! Recommended!

Wonderful Debut from Georgia Pianist/Composer Pam Asberry!

pianohombre1984

Seashells In My Pocket
Pam Asberry
Reviewed by Judson Hurd, Enlightened Piano Radio

It was a great pleasure to get the chance to review the new album “Seashells In My Pocket” by the new pianist/composer Pam Asberry. I had the pleasure of meeting the artist on the Enlightened Piano Radio Awards cruise in 2016. Pam is a wonderful piano teacher based in Atlanta and I am so happy she has composed a new album.
The album begins with “Cozumel Blue Waters” which is a delicate piece that transported me to a scene at a serene beach. The song is peaceful and in a major key that brings calm emotions. The artists writes simple but strong melodies that really create beautiful scenes that you can bring up in your imagination.
The next great piece I enjoyed was “Ocean Stars” . It is in a minor key with a melody with notes based on a pentatonic scale. It goes to a different theme that keeps the listener engaged and interested. I could definitely see this song being used in a Film or TV show! I love the voicings that she uses to create a different theme in the second part of the song. The piece changes different keys and this really shows mature composing skills. This is my favorite song on the album.
Another piece that really interested me was “Mysterious Caverns”. I love the way the chords and notes fall into each other. They really complement the sonic palette that Pam brings in describing the caverns and the ‘mystery’ behind them through her harmonic progressions. Well done!
This album was a really wonderful debut from Pam Asberry. It was a real pleasure to get something that is really an exciting start to an upcoming artist. I am really looking forward to the next album!

Alluring solo piano inspired by the sea

CandiceMichelle1

Pam Asberry is a composer and solo pianist who knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue a career in music. Classically trained from the age of seven, Asberry eventually led a church choir from organ and completed a master’s degree in music. On her debut album, Seashells In My Pocket, Asberry reflects upon the many beautiful islands and coastal cities she has visited by relaying the memories of her experiences through 13 alluring solo piano instrumentals. Contemporary and modern yet imbued with a definite classical touch throughout, the compositions are overall gently uplifting and major-key with occasional minor-key injections along the way.

Each composition is given a picturesque name inspired by a coastal landscape or seafaring moment captured in time, with some of them seemingly drawing upon fantasy and folkloric themes via evocative titles like “Mysterious Caverns” and “The Mermaid’s Tears”.

Cozumel is a Caribbean island off the eastern coast of the Yucatan Channel for which the opening piece, “Cozumel Blue Waters”, is named. Beginning in a lightly brisk manner, the piece immediately imparts a calm yet sunny mood that perfectly lends itself as the first stop on this coastal getaway.

Moorea is a stunning island in the Pacific located just northwest of Tahiti and one of my favorite pieces on the album, “Moonlight Over Moorea”, aptly conveys the kind of romantic mystique that one could easily imagine an evening spent there might entail. Next, we travel all the way to the Atlantic Caribbean with “Dunn’s River Falls”, another favorite piece of mine that’s named for an enchanting waterfall located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Seemingly carried along by a steady and powerful undercurrent, the melody appropriately cascades up-and-down the registers in a manner expressively illustrative of the waters that flow upon the fall’s naturally terraced rock formations.

The second-to-last piece, “Ocean Stars”, feels elegantly nocturnal with a notably neoclassical bent. Flowing delicately in the upper registers, the piece deftly mimics the twinkling of stars, as one might imagine themselves standing by the sea while gazing upon the night sky. The final piece, “Sailing Home”, boasts a softly sweet and simple melody that perfectly signals the conclusion of a fascinating journey, with the return to the comforts and familiarity of home soon drawing near.

Beheld as a magical realm throughout much of humanity, the sea has long been a muse for many artists, likewise having bestowed Pam Asberry with a reservoir of creative inspiration in this most lovely collection of musically-rendered mementos!

More By Pam Asberry

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