What a gorgeous CD! Mahoney's guitar playing is hypnotic, and Finzer's flute playing is magical.

The album begins with the plaintive “Alger Street” that features the resonant qualities of Mahoney's custom OM koa backed, cedar-topped guitar. The sound of this acoustic instrument is extraordinarily warm without losing any crispness in the articulated notes. It has the quality of those really great guitars that are more like lap organs.

The second track is “Confused.” Finzer leads the action with her DiZhao curved head alto flute. It's a soft and pensive song. Each musician takes a turn leading the song through its twists and turns. “Reflection” resembles an old English country melody or folk song. The flute leads with a straight melody while accompanied by the guitar. “Early Spring” incorporates bird song in the background, giving a strong sense of being out in the woods. It's lovely and thoughtful. “Joplin” is a guitar piece of great richness and texture that highlights the instrument's sonorous qualities. The flute provides a nice descant floating above the guitar's texture.

“White Sky In November” is more bleak and somber. Again, the music evokes nature, but in this case, it's a snow-covered landscape with barren trees in the distance. Sustained notes in the lower register of the Guo bass flute feel hollow and forlorn. It's spooky flute! The song really does give a sense of the emptiness of November. “Jane's Song” moves into a slightly faster tempo. The impression is still pensive. A viola joins the duo to add some much-needed contrast. The final song is “The Door.” It bears a resemblance to the beginning of the album – the listener has come full circle.

This is an exceptionally good CD for ritual and meditation use. Finzer and Mahoney are veritable wizards on their instruments and transport the listener to another realm. Quite extraordinary – merits top marks! Very highly recommended.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artists: Sherry Finzer and Darin Mahoney
Heart Dance Records, Finzer Publishing, 2013
www.heartdancerecords.com
8 tracks, 47:32 minutes
$7.92

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