Thursday, July 07, 2005

New Review of Overcome....

This review of my latest CD, Overcome, just came in from Wind and Wire magazine. It's a great review, in the sense that it tells me that I accomplished what I set out to with this album....

CD review by Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire Magazine

For me, reviewing deeply personal albums (i.e., albums that artists record which are intensely personal in nature) is never easy. I have to be sure I can evaluate the music on its own terms, but I also try to take into account what the artist is going through by making music that has its inception in a particularly moving event or person in his/her life. In the case of Overcome, the task is doubly daunting, since David Nevue's excellent album is basically the musical version of the grieving process over his beloved father's death. Having lost my own father, I also had to filter out as much of my grief as possible. With all that out of the way, I can happily report (although happily is a poor choice of words, I suppose) that Overcome is one of the better piano releases of recent memory. Carefully and artistically nuanced, the artist balances dramatic and powerful pieces with subdued tone poems that are emotionally more ambiguous, as well as including some interpretations of hymns and songs of worship. The overall effect of the CD blends reflection and introspection with occasions where Nevue's pain and loss come through via more dramatic and forceful melodies and playing. Nothing here is particularly light or cheery, of course, although per the liner notes, Nevue has reached not just an acceptance of his father's death, but a degree of triumph since, in his words, "I also want to emphasize that the focus of this album is NOT sadness or sorrow, but rather, the process of passing through it."

The album opens with the uptempo but darkly tinted title track and through the remaining fifteen tracks crosses through moments of quiet somberness ("winter walk"), gentle nostalgia ( the hymn "take my life and let it be"), delicate George Winston-like melodicism ("treasure falls"), dramatic intensity ("the vigil"), warm yet sad new age sensibility ("words left unsaid"), gospel-ish low-key spirituality ("the old country church") and closes with peaceful serenity and a dash of joy ("it is well with my soul").

Technically, as with other David Nevue recordings I've heard, engineering and production are excellent. The piano sounds rich and clear, with particular attention to the high end, in my opinion. Artistically, while I didn't "like" Overcome as much as Nevue's previous effort, Sweet Dreams and Starlight, I think it's an excellent album and certainly one I can recommend, provided the listener can handle the emotional weight of the album's concept and intent. It's not an easy listen sometimes, but not because of any fault of the music, but rather the unflinching gaze that the artist has trained on his own inner self. Baring one's soul seldom comes easy, but in David Nevue's case, he has done so with grace and beauty and also uncompromising integrity and honesty. Overcome is a boldly personal musical statement from an artist of talent and vision.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, the cd was exactly what it was meant to be... the journey through the emotions, and it is not an easy journey. I made a point of sitting down this past Fathers day, reading the liner notes again, and just melting into the music.... by the time it was over I had shed some tears and found some true inner peace.

Thank you David, for giving so much of yourself, and for giving others the opportunity to take the same journey...

12:06 PM  

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