New music added by Saxon Moon, Tony Vines, Anima, Shambhu, David Davidson, Sherry Finzer, Darin Mahoney, and Llewellyn.
At the age of 13, Tony Vines discovered a love for playing drums. He went on to drum for several bands, but later established a very successful career as a luthier (someone who makes and/or repairs stringed instruments). In fact, his hand made acoustic guitars are rated by experts as some of the best made guitars in the world. Over the years, many well known musicians and others, e.g., Johnny Cash, Henry Smith (recording engineer and producer), Tom Bass (the acoustic player for country artist Clay Walker), and Tad Laven (who plays acoustic guitar for Art Garfunkel), have chosen to play guitars made by Tony. Recently, however, guitar building has taken a backseat to Tony writing and singing intensely personal and heartfelt songs of peace, playing for churches, youth groups, Celebrate Recovery groups, hospital patients, and coffee houses.
His latest album, “Ascension” presents a collection of largely instrumental compositions featuring Tony’s hand made acoustic guitar as the lead voice, and with just the right amount of limited instrumental accompaniment (strings, piano, bass), and occasional light (non-word) vocals by Tony. There is also one solo guitar track (Forgiveness) and one simply outstanding track featuring Tony’s amazing and powerful voice and lyrics (Dance). The album also features the “fretless bass” stylings of accomplished musician Michael Manring on three songs: “Book of Tears,” “Ascension” and “Moonlite.”
“Ascension” is a an extremely impressive album. Tony is clearly a master of the acoustic guitar and the sound he produces is mellow, rich, and exquisite. The music is deceptively complex and sophisticated, with an undeniable classic “New Age” guitar feel (think Will Ackerman and Jeff Pearce). But the music is also especially relaxing, diverting, slow, emotive, and peaceful, with a unique style that captures the listener and pulls them in. The songs also clearly reflect the fact that for Tony, the music is deeply personal and expressive of his life experiences and his faith. The slow, emotional style is particularly pronounced on “Book of Tears,” “Dreams,” “Reflections,” and “Forgiveness.” In contrast, two other tracks have a more positive, optimistic, and uplifting feel (Sunflower and Cafe). In summary, “Ascension” is an exceptional album and we definitely recommend adding it to your collection.
Saxon Moon is a group of instrumental musicians from Houston, Texas, with influences ranging from Scandinavian folklore to hints of Celtic, Gypsy, Nordic, and even New Age music. The group is comprised of Dave Elles (Laud, Bouzouki, Acoustic Guitar, and Percussion), Paul Adam (Bass, Fretless and Acoustic Guitar), and Louis Finkel (Rhythm Guitar and Percussion). On their website, they say that their sole focus is to transport their audience “back to the old world, to re-create images of Saxon ancestry…” As a result, they are regular headline performers (in traditional costumes, of course) at Renaissance Festivals around Texas and other parts of the US, including the Sherwood Forest Faire in McDade, Texas, the Texas Renaissance Festival in Mission, Texas, the Scarborough Renaissance Festival (Scarborough Faire) in Waxahachie, Texas, and the Kentucky Highland Renaissance Festival in Eminence, Kentucky.
“IV” is the third album released by Saxon Moon in the past year and a half, and perhaps their best to date. The music on “IV” is acoustic guitar and percussion driven, with occasional light (synthetic) vocal accompaniment, and for the most part, “up-tempo,” with toe-tapping rhythms, complex and fairly sophisticated instrument layering (e.g., “Freya’s Greeting”), innovative melodies (e.g., “Sleipnir”), and attention grabbing and stylish guitar riffs, especially on “Northmen” (our favorite), “The Shire,” and “Mabon Gambol.” Two of the songs are a bit more down-tempo, with more “mysterious” qualities and with decidedly “Middle Eastern” or “Gypsy” music influences (“The Journey Suffering” and “Song of The Dead”). Overall, “IV” is a truly energizing and purely “fun” album to listen to, and if you like rhythmic and fast moving Irish, Scottish, or folk music, we guarantee you will be tapping your foot to the rhythms and humming along with the music on “IV.” We highly recommend this album. You can learn more about Saxon Moon and their live performance schedule here. To listen to samples of the music from “IV” or to purchase the album, click on the album cover above or click here.