‘Celtic Peace’ by Bill Leslie is 12 tracks of soul-soothing music that bring us back immediately, and without further ado, to the light and optimism that is life. Remember. – Dyan Garris
It takes a special kind of musical artistry to craft a Celtic album. I think you have to feel it in your soul. And like so much beautiful music emanating from the collective soul, “Celtic Peace” was born out of the 2020 pandemic, which will always be remembered as a dark, fear-filled, isolated, and uncertain time for most. “Celtic Peace” by Bill Leslie is 12 tracks that bring us back immediately, and without further ado, to the light and optimism that is life.
Bill says, “’Celtic Peace’ is what I experience when roaming the Highlands of Scotland or the west coast of Ireland.” And now we, too, can feel that deep peace and enchantment as well through this, his 12th beautiful album.
Who is Bill Leslie? Bill is an award-winning journalist who has won more 70 major news awards. Yes, seventy. These awards include two Peabody Awards and five Emmys. That said, he’s also an internationally acclaimed musician and composer who has had several #1 charting songs and albums on the world music charts. He’s also won several awards in the musical arena, such as “Best Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year” and “Album of the Year” (Zone Music Reporter).
On “Celtic Peace,” Bill performs on Celtic whistles, piano, guitar. He did the orchestral arrangements here as well. Joining him on the album are Joseph Akins on piano, Jennifer Curtis on violin, Linda Metz on flute performance, and Melanie Wilsden on oboe. Together, they make a stunningly beautiful ensemble that is truly unforgettable.
The album opens with the lovely, “Iona.” The song immediately conjures up a beautiful and joyful place. Jennifer Curtis’ violin adds to the depth and incredible spirituality of the song.
The brief, but majestic and awesomely reverent, “Ben Nevis” follows. Aptly so, for Ben Nevis in the Highlands of Scotland is the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom. Instrumentation on this piece features Celtic whistle, violin, oboe, guitar, piano, and orchestra. I found this track very uplifting.
One of my favorites on the album is “Grace in Stone.” The piece was written in 1998 in honor of Bill’s Scots-Irish ancestors who helped build Grace Episcopal church located in Morganton, North Carolina. The piano arrangement was done by Joseph Akins. The track is quite beautiful, as I imagine the church itself is. Sweet flute, Celtic whistle, violin, piano, and gorgeous string instrumentation make this song soothing and peaceful to the spirit.
The title track is equally as flowing, peaceful, and elevating to the soul. Bill composed this Scottish “folk” melody after roaming across the Celtic lands of Scotland and Ireland. This is a gorgeous soundscape that directly transports us effortlessly in our musical mind’s eye to those special lands.
“Golden Eagle” is a wonderful, cinematic piece dedicated to the national bird of Scotland. So beautiful. I think eagles everywhere rejoice.
Although, it’s challenging to pick an ultimate favorite, here are some other highlights: The hauntingly beautiful and quite cinematic “Glencoe” celebrates the majesty that is Glencoe, Scotland. This track is perfect for film. There is a poignant and emotionally evocative instrumental lullaby for Bill Leslie’s four beautiful granddaughters, “Scottish Lullaby.” What a grand tribute to the lovelies! On a rocky west coast area of Ireland, a storm is brewing. “Storm on The Burren” captures the entire picture of such an event. Melodic and dramatic, this is just wonderful.
The album closes out beautifully with an elegant instrumental song honoring the most well-preserved Neolithic village in Europe, “Skara Brae.” This is 3 minutes of magnificence. The piece is gentle, flowing, and has a definitive magical quality, perhaps not unlike the ancient inhabitants of that place.
In my opinion, here in “Celtic Peace,” Bill has perfectly captured the haunting, mystical nature of the perfectly enchanting Celtic lands.” It’s a peace and calmness we can take with us long after the music has stopped and wherever we roam. You will undoubtedly want to get the whole album.
“Celtic Peace” releases on May 1, 2021. You may pre-order now here:
Official artist website: https://billleslie.com/
LAZZ Promotions: Ed & Stacey Bonk
E-mail: [email protected]