12 Songs, 42 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

pianoteacherpam ,

Peaceful and inspiring!

Over the centuries, countless musicians have been inspired by visual art, and vocalist, pianist and composer Mary Lydia Ryan joins their ranks with her 2018 solo piano release, “Little Red Boat.” In 2015, she discovered ”Little Red Boat,” a painting by artist Steve Jensen; she fell in love with the energy, depth of layers of beauty and artistry in the piece, and as she studied it, she felt music within her bubbling to the surface. From the very first first composition, “Little Red Boat,” the music wove throughout the artist’s life like the threads of a tapestry. Recorded, mixed and mastered by the legendary Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Studios in Sedona, Arizona, this is a delightful musical journey, indeed.

The title track, “Little Red Boat,” features a winsome melody that sparkles and splashes like sunlight on the surface of the water over a gently rocking left hand accompaniment. The poignant and evocative “Woman in the Moon” is followed by “Floating on a Gentle Breeze”—mesmerizing, peaceful and relaxing as drifting on a raft atop the water on a warm summer afternoon. “The Joy of Ten Knots” is pulsing and exuberant; “In Wonder” is poignant and passionate. “Sailing This Sea Alone” is darker in mood, solemn but not quite melancholy and perfectly captures the essence of a person who is alone but not lonely.

“How Did I End Up Here” is a musical expression of the philosophical question we all ask ourselves from time to time; the quietly joyful “Gentle Sunshine” is one of the shorter pieces on the album but is one of my favorites. “Waltz Under the Sun (Kevin’s Song)” was composed for a friend going through a period of turmoil; light and delicate, ethereal and romantic, it is healing and restorative. “A Song About Sea Turtles” pays mesmerizing homage to these mysterious creatures who spend most of their lives underwater and migrate hundreds of miles between nesting and feeding grounds; “Sparkle on the Water” is a musical painting of the glittering of the sun on the ocean waves. “Ocean of My Soul,” the longest track on the album is at once mercurial and introspective. Another favorite, it brings the album to a peaceful conclusion.

Little Red Boat is a nominee for Whisperings Solo Piano Radio’s “Album of the Year” award and was named as a “Top 3 Best Piano Recordings of 2018” by Dyan Garris of NewAgeCD.com and it is easy to see why. This peaceful and inspiring album is a must for everyone who loves solo piano music. Highly recommended!

KathyPiano7 ,

From MainlyPiano

I have always found it fascinating how a painting (or another art-form) can have a huge and lasting impact on someone’s life. A perfect example is the painting that inspired Mary Lydia Ryan’s solo piano album, "Little Red Boat." The painting with the same title graces the cover of the album and was painted by Seattle-area artist Steve Jensen. The painting entered Mary Lydia’s life in 2015: “I fell in love with the energy, the depth of layers of beauty and artistry it holds. I felt the music in me rising to the surface while gazing at it. I placed it on my music stand atop my piano and began composing with ease.” The music and titles to the twelve piano solos were created as the musical journey unfolded. It is interesting to note that Mary Lydia lives and composes on a floating home on a lake in Washington State, which helped to shape the feeling of the pieces. All of the tracks are very relaxed and express the gentle rocking movement of a boat on peaceful waters. Little Red Boat has been nominated for Whisperings Solo Piano Radio’s “Album of the Year” award and has been named as one of the “Top 3 Best Piano Recordings of 2018” by Dyan Garriss of NewAgeCD. The album was recorded and mastered by Joe Bongiorno at his PianoHaven Studio in Sedona, AZ.

"Little Red Boat" begins with the title track. The gently rocking rhythm conveys the feeling of being on water while occasional percussive notes make me think of light dancing on the surface of the lake. “Woman in the Moon” is slower, more mysterious and very graceful. The haunting melody is played with a hypnotic velvet touch that says more than words ever could. “Floating on a Gentle Breeze” is positively dreamy as it soothes away the stresses of the day. “The Joy of Ten Knots” picks up the tempo a bit and you can almost feel the wind in your hair as you effortlessly go sailing through the water. “Sailing this Sea Alone” is wistful and perhaps “wishful” as well. A bit more melancholy, it feels like a musical soliloquy spoken to the sea at night when “alone-ness” feels the most real. “How Did I End Up Here” could also be late-night musings by candlelight - gently introspective and poignant. “Waltz Under the Sun (Kevin’s Song)” was composed for a close friend who was “experiencing his own inner ocean storms.” Light and overflowing with warmth and caring, I’m sure Kevin found healing in this lovely gift. In “Sparkle on the Water,” the left hand seems to be expressing the gentle movement of the water itself while the more percussive right hand conveys the beauty of light dancing on the surface of the water. “Ocean of My Soul” provides almost 6 1/2 minutes of peaceful bliss, floating on a sea of tranquility without a worry or trouble in the world. Very open, free and beautiful, it brings the album to a serene close.

"Little Red Boat" is an excellent choice for music for relaxation, meditation, background music for working or quiet activities, or simply to enjoy calming piano music.

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