7 Songs, 52 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

CandiceMichelle1 ,

Review from Journeyscapes Radio

“Follow the River Home” is the highly anticipated follow-up to the award-winning album “With Evening Above” by Indiana-based ambient guitarist, Jeff Pearce. Mastered by Tom Eaton for Imaginary Road studios, the album is comprised entirely of electric guitars that often resemble a surround-sound of both guitars and synthesizers resonating throughout a cathedral.

“Under Summer Stars” opens the album with an enveloping soundscape of gently melodic guitar amidst layers of tenebrous chords. Conveying a pensive mood with a touch of melancholy, this atmosphere is conveyed throughout most of the album. Carrying us into the next piece, “Downstream I” is a classic ambient-space composition, characterized by low drones, high timbres and mid-range tones, as the collective guitar washes mimic a choir of voices. “Outpost” soon emerges from the shadows, where misty chords morph and swell around a looped guitar melody at its center point. “Snowfall” follows afterwards, a composition I was especially delighted to see included on here. A live recording of this song originally aired on the syndicated radio program Echoes, and while I’ve long known that Jeff could seriously rock, this is the first time he’s included a noticeably rock-influenced composition on one of his albums. The piece begins with cascading guitar loops that are soon followed by a soaring, sensual electric guitar riff, creating an exquisite fusion of ambient-space and classic rock music. On “Downstream II” Jeff once again delivers a composition that deviates somewhat from anything he’s recorded in the past. Ethereal guitar chords open this piece, followed by spinning layers of guitar loops that eventually dissipate into a pool of billowing atmospheric tones, reminding me somewhat of both Steve Reich and Tangerine Dream. The album’s lengthiest track, “Gathering Stars”, is quite possibly one of the most beautiful pieces of ambient-space music I’ve heard in years! Bathed in obscurity, this metamorphic composition emerges with spacious chords that gently rise and fall, and expand and contract, until scattering like particles of light upon the darkness. Closing out the album is the title track, “Follow the River Home”, a comfortingly warm piece that feels intimately connected to hearth and home. Led by a gentle, down-to-earth guitar melody with spacey timbres hovering in the background, it serves as a tender reminder that ultimately, home is indeed where the heart is.

“Follow the River Home” just might be Jeff’s crowning achievement, even among his other seemingly unsurpassable albums, including “With Evening Above” (2014), “Bleed” (2002), and “To the Shores of Heaven” (2000). As someone with a particular affinity for both ambient music and the electric guitar, I’ve been an avid fan of Jeff’s music for many years. It feels observant of nature and the cosmos; often alluding to natural landscapes and the skies above, all while exuding an ever-present yet concealed intense emotion. Gorgeous, haunting, and simply incomparable, “Follow the River Home” is already a top contender among this year’s best recordings!

MDiamond ,

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus

For many, the electric guitar has been a symbol of rock & roll and not usually thought of in terms of dreamy ambient soundscapes. But that is exactly what award winning recording artist Jeff Pearce has been creating with the instrument over the last 23 years. While it would be easy to assume that the ethereal layers of sound originate from synthesizers, they all indeed emanate from six strings, channeled through a variety of electronic effects. This latest release includes two live concert recordings and five studio compositions that reflect structured and improvised works, and some with a bit of both. Sonic cloud formations, shimmering arpeggiated chords, and stellar lead guitar take the listener on a musical magic carpet ride. Jeff’s albums have garnered a variety awards, nominations, critical acclaim, and radio airplay, and “Follow The River Home”, will certainly not be an exception. In fact, it is one of Jeff’s best releases yet.

The album opens with one of the structured pieces, “Under Summer Stars.” The music perfectly fits the title as Jeff’s highly processed electric guitar notes glisten and twinkle like stars in the sky. It’s a lovely chiming sound that creates an air of enchantment drifting over floating sound textures in the background. If there was ever music that was made for listening with headphones, it is Jeff’s music. On a song called “Outpost,” the stereo imaging is expansive with dreamy echoed guitar notes and trippy sonic snippets bouncing back and forth between the left and right side, creating what is known in some circles as “ear candy.” For me a surprise came on a track called “Snowfall,” which featured Jeff launching into a breathtaking stratospheric lead guitar solo that made me realize his rock roots are still alive and well. The combination of this sometimes soaring, sometimes blistering extended lead was something I wasn’t expecting in this atmospheric context, although it quite reminded me of Tangerine Dream, and I loved every minute of it!

A 20-minute long opus called “Gathering Stars,” is actually one song made from two live recordings. This is another piece that absolutely seems like it was created on synthesizers, sonically spinning majestic evolving celestial vistas and vast galaxies of sound. That Jeff is able to evoke such exquisite textural beauty from a guitar is quite amazing. The title track, which closes the album, has a meandering, slow-rolling ambiance with a river-like feel to it, and makes a perfect track to come back to earth on after the extended space opera of “Gathering Stars.”

Every song shows Jeff’s mastery of the instrument and his innovation with electronic effects and playing techniques. “Follow The River Home” continues his legacy and is a shining example of why Jeff Pearce is considered one of the top artists in the ambient music genre.

To read a full-length feature article on this album, with photos, links, and a music video, please visit: MichaelDiamondMusic.com

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