Chill Out Island

From New Age to downtempo electronica to acoustic folk, Chill Out Island surveys the finest in relaxing music.

Archive for piano

Geresti fuses own personality in piano renditions of ’70s classics

Reviewed by Julian Wilson

Artist: Geresti

Title: Keys into the 70’s

At first, Keys into the 70’s may seem like one of the dime-a-dozen Muzak versions of moldy Easy Listening hits. But when you begin listening to the album itself, you’ll be as surprised as I upon first spin. Geresti isn’t simply playing note-for-note piano renditions of Top-40 classics from the bell-bottom generation. Rather, he has fused his own personality in them, letting his fingers create magic on the keyboard. On his cover of the Stylistics’ priceless “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” Geresti’s playing is immaculate, radiating a loving glow that doesn’t wear off until long after the CD is done. He’s not trying to imitate the soulful, angelic qualities of the original; instead, he’s paying tribute to it.

You get the feeling that these songs are personal to him, that they most likely helped inspire his growth as a musician. Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly” is given a jazzy elegance; you don’t need hear any singing because Geresti’s piano is already whispering the words in your ear. Styx’s breathtaking “Babe” was almost unrecognizable in the beginning with its playful intro, but when the familiar melody kicks in, you are swept away by it. Geresti has turned what could’ve been a generic Brand X product into a deliciously seductive work of art.

http://cdbaby.com/cd/geresti22

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Vickie Russell returns wit to country music

Reviewed by Carson James

Artist: Vickie Russell

Title: Next

If Dolly Parton is interested in reviving her superstar country career, she might want to think about covering the title track of Vickie Russell’s new CD. “What about the one before, I think it was Wayne?/At your 10th reunion you rekindled the flame/Got you hot and bothered by the way he kissed/Had a second job as an arsonist,” Russell sings. Such twisted humor has sadly become a lost art in country music; I applaud Russell for reminding us that this genre is not as vanilla as people think.

Russell sways back and forth from old to new country, utilizing elements of both to create a sound that is neither too retro nor too pop. She should be able to corral both audiences then. Her singing borrows from folk music, such as on “Painted by Monet” and “I Want You,” with its reflective acoustic opening that then picks up speed. The piano song, “Go to Sleep,” is as sweet and uplifting they come. You will emerge from Next with a large smile on your face, either from laughing out loud or simply being touched. 

http://www.vickierussell.com