CD Review: Kelly Carpenter, Passages

Unrealistic as it may be I have an image in my mind of what it means to be a "grown up." This image is purely out of the '50s, (regardless that I wasn't born anywhere near that era, some things you just inherit) and it involves hosting a dinner party, with beautiful settings, chic cocktail attire on all attending, soft yet intelligent music, and sophistication sprinkled liberally throughout.

According to my inner vision I have not quite achieved adulthood yet. I've made it through the beers and bar-b-que milestone with flying colors, but while we have attempted a few dinner parties they have not met my poor, preconceived notions. For one thing, I never seem to make it into a cocktail dress, just dust-spattered jeans, and I always panic about the music.

However, I think I've solved at least one of those problems.

Kelly Carpenter is best known for his devotional music, especially the song "Draw Me Close". Passage is his second instrumental album, primarily piano and keyboard offset with a five piece ensemble. I am always hesitant when I approach modern instrumental music; it can go in so many directions, from very experimental to complete snooze, and I've always been more angst-driven in terms of musical preferences. (Which again, don't work so well for dinner parties.) The songs on Passage are very melodious and pretty but they still have interesting hooks, ones that often very subtly grab your attention. What I also like about Passage is that each song has a definite narrative and tone. While there are shared thematic elements the songs do not blend into each other and together they tell a story as a whole. (Which I personally miss, since so many new releases are collections of singles rather than "albums.") I really like the tracks "The View From Here," "Distant Shore," and "Reunion." By the time I got to the end of the album I felt like it had lived up to its name and taken me on a journey. You could put this album on as background and it will make your brain work without you even realizing it, relaxing but with energy.

In essence, this is a CD I would put in for a dinner party. And I'd feel very grown up about it, too.

If you'd like to learn more you can visit his website at Kelly Carpenter Music.

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