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Sherman, Greg: The Road Home

The Road Home is Greg Sherman's second album of solo piano music, following 2001's Zutique.

For those who know Greg from his work with the symphonic-prog band Glass, this music contains the same melodic qualities but its "texture" is entirely different given that it is entirely instrumental, unaccompanied piano. This is not "progressive rock" and is squarely and wholly within the classical genre. If that puts you off, read no further!

I say "unaccompanied" piano intentionally, despite hand percussion being used on most compositions and an acoustic guitar accompaniment played by his brother and Glass co-member, Jeff, on "Just to See You Shine". I say it because these adornments add no effective "color" to the music and the piano is very dominant in the mix. In fact, if anything, the hand percussion detracts from the overall effect by providing an unnecessary distraction. Perhaps the inclusion of these adornments shows a lack of confidence on Greg's part in the listener's ability to focus on one hour's piano pieces: certainly not all readers of this website will enjoy this "classical" music.

Irrespective of the hand percussion and acoustic guitar, one hour's piano music is what you get on The Road Home. It is extremely pleasant and enjoyable. Mainly played at a slow tempo, it is both very melodic and rhythmic in a hypnotic, relaxing sort of way.

I said before that the music was "wholly within the classical genre". Other than within Glass's own fan-base, this music will have limited market appeal in the "rock" market, even in the niche of the "progressive" market. However, it is stylistically very similar to the extremely popular (in the UK at least) piano music of the Italian composer Einaudi. This is extensively marketed in the "soft" or "popular" classical market and has done very well for Signor Einaudi. I can see the market for Greg's music overlapping almost exactly.

I am a fan of Einaudi's and I also enjoy Greg's The Road Home. Similarly, if you enjoy relaxing,slow tempo, melodic piano music then I suspect you'd also find plenty to enjoy on this excellent album.

Track Listing
1) Seeds of Faith (03:50)
2) The Journey (04:55)
3) This Hand That's Mine (04:08)
4) Bohemian Fantasy (03:05)
5) Just to See You Shine (06:01)
6) Out of the Darkness (For Evelyn) (05:40)
7) Somewhere Along the Road (06:29)
8) Kathy's Dreams (04:44)
9) Maybe an Angel (03:15)
10) Approaching Dawn (07:37)
11) You Were There (04:38)
12) Empty Sky (05:26)
13) Don't Look Back (05:41)

Added: August 26th 2008
Reviewer: Alex Torres
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 3119
Language: english

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Sherman, Greg: The Road Home
Posted by Ryan Sparks, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-08-26 10:14:10
My Score:

Known for his groundbreaking work in the progressive rock trio Glass, keyboardist and composer Greg Sherman has, much like his brother Jeff, also been able to concentrate on his solo endeavours in recent years. This extraordinary disc The Road Home is his latest release of solo piano compositions albeit with a slight twist. While Sherman could have simply recorded this material unaccompanied, and these songs would have still been just as compelling, he instead opts for the road less travelled by complimenting many of these thirteen tracks with trace amounts of hand percussion, and one track acoustic guitar which is performed by Jeff.

There's no doubt that Sherman is a technically proficient musician, as his work with Glass attests, but it's the less is more technique that really speaks to the listener here. Rich warm tones, carefully selected notes and striking melodies merely wait to envelop and strike that emotional chord within the willing listener. "Seeds Of Faith", "The Journey", "This Hand That's Mine" (a bit of an inside joke perhaps?) and "Just To See You Shine" are quite honestly some of the most moving compositions he's ever written. As if to further exemplify that The Road Home isn't all what it seems, the track "Out Of The Darkness initially threw this listener a bit of a mental curveball as it doesn't quite take the expected route as it's title might imply. While brief moments of light reoccur throughout the song, the dark thematic element is dominant and never lifts completely. It honestly took me a few listens to really appreciate this song for said darker qualities. My initial feelings of disappointment were the result of a preconceived notion that the song would eventually immerge from this shroud, but sometimes it's best to expect the unexpected, let go and let the music take you wherever it's going and this song is a classic representation of that ethos.

Instrumental music really doesn't get better than what is offered on The Road Home and when music is presented in this manner the listener is free from the clutter of words, given only a title and then left to depend on their own emotions to paint the necessary mental images to accompany these radiant compositions. Whereas words can have different meanings and interpretations, music thankfully doesn't suffer the same fate, it either touches you or it doesn't. The Road Home definitely makes that connection.

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