Posted on: October 23, 2007 Posted by: James McQuiston Comments: 0

Fiona Joy Hawkins – Angel Above My Piano / 2006 Self / 13 Tracks / /

Fiona Joy Hawkins is an award-nominated (MusicOz Awards) and award-winning (NAR Lifestyle Music Awards) pianist. “Angel Above My Piano” really starts going with “Flight of the Albatross”. This track presents a wide-open soundscape, one in which no vocals are needed. The rich lines laid down by Hawkins tell more of a story than practically any other vocal musician could. Individuals that are not familiar with this style may be a little put off by this track, but by the time that a song like “Love In Winter” (all three movements) ends, individuals will clamor for more of this style. The arrangements are Spartan, but Hawkins provides story and narrative in the empty spaces of the track just as well as the audible arrangements. Less is more for Hawkins, and the resulting music on “Angel Above My Piano” is stellar.

The first movement of “Love in Winter” starts off with pointed arrangements, gradually allowing different influences and sounds to enter into the equation. The resulting track could be present on any major movie’s soundtrack, and the use of repeated piano lines and soaring instrumentation makes this into an impressive track. While a track like “Down The Aisle” starts in a much more emotionally nuanced way, the arrangements are equally as intricate and affecting as they were during the three movements of “Love In Winter”. Taken together, “Love in Winter” and “Down The Aisle” show the extremes of Hawkins’ music on “Angel Above My Piano”. Both are united by the ability that Hawkins shows in crafting a compelling tale for listeners to glom onto; despite what style listeners may prefer, any true music aficionado will find a reason to appreciate the tracks on this album. “Thinking of You” provides listeners with another interesting and challenging introduction, with Hawkins elaborating on musical scales.

The incorporation of woodwinds during this track gives further variation to the songs on “Angel Above My Piano”. This inclusion also reinvigorates listeners, allowing them to stick with Hawkins for the rest of the album. The compositions on this full length will lend themselves well to repeat listening. If individuals want to hear a piano-heavy style that defies genre conventions, while still having a grip on the past and present of popular music, Fiona Joy Hawkins’ “Angel Above My Piano” should be the album that individuals pick up. Give the disc a go if you like your music to tell a story, and do it in the most aesthetically-pleasing way possible.

Top Tracks: The Child’s Game, Watching The Wind

Rating: 6.9/10

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