“Promise” is more than a soggy expectation. It delivers on every level: Up, down, and sideways. –Dyan Garris
“Promise” is a mesmerizing album collaboration between 4 award-winning musical artists. Flow, the group name, is an acronym of the members, F (Fiona Joy Hawkins), L (Lawrence Blatt), O (Jeff Oster), and W (Will Ackerman). “Promise,” the group’s second album, is one long seamless, impeccable flow. As Jeff Oster said in a radio interview with Donna Jo Thornton of The Morning Breeze, “’Flow [their debut album] was perfect for wine and cheese. ‘Promise’ is perfect for scotch and prosciutto. It’s more mature.’”
Sounds tasty, indeed, and I agree. There is a smooth, effortless, upscale sophistication about the album. But I think it’s an understatement. “Promise” is more than a soggy expectation. It delivers on every level: Up, down, and sideways. This is 10 tracks of intimate, magical synergy.
Part of the magic here, and what really stands out over any one song on the album, is that none of the group members – each successful in their own right – tries to upstage any of the others. They show up and play as one. Yes, it’s a flow. And an amazing one.
The album features Fiona Joy on piano and wordless vocals, Lawrence Blatt on Acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele and bass, Jeff Oster on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Will Ackerman on guitar. Guest artists are the masterful Jeff Haynes on percussion, Tom Eaton on guitar, bass, keyboards, and accordion. The songs on the album were all co-written by the four group members.
“Promise” opens with the title track. This is light and hypnotic, a glimmering hint of anticipation for the rest of what follows. A relaxing soundscape, “Something On Tuesday” draws us in with its dreamy horns, fanciful piano, and soft guitar. “Adrift At Sea” perfectly captures the feelings of such, and incorporates ocean sounds and sea gulls. It’s great and we’re floating. Very nice. Gentle, nostalgic and reflective, “All These Years” is the perfect blend of lives well lived. Fiona’s wordless vocals are hauntingly perfect and a beautiful match to the very dreamy horns, percussion, piano, and guitars. Lovely.
“Last Light” is super smooth, just as a pastel sunset might be melting over the ocean. This starts out quietly, then gets lively and up-tempo and we are flowing along with the snazzy and slightly jazzy evening. Great melody, great everything here, and it’s a favorite. Another mind-sticking melody is found on “Fresh Air.” This is quite relaxing, with an outstanding mix by Tom Eaton (on the whole album as well), and we can feel the soft, fresh breeze on the face. And again, nothing on this album overshadows anything else or anyone else. It’s all a cohesive unit. And that is a breath of fresh air.
The super sultry signature horns by Jeff Oster lead us languidly into “Nightfall.” Haunting vocals by Fiona Joy add to the intrigue of the night. Very sensuous. “Blue Umbrella” is carefree and ultra-relaxing. “Chasing Secrets” has a kind of jazz feel and sophisticated elegance. Breezy, understated, and flowing, it’s another favorite. The album closes out with “Memoire du Dome.” Hauntingly beautiful, it’s the perfect close. But we all look forward to more from the group, Flow.
“Promise” lives up entirely to its name and has a phenomenal flow. Just the right amount of breathing space in every song – just the right amount of everything – this is an excellent, soul-soothing conversation that will put you in the “zone.” You will want to get the whole album.
Get “Promise” here: https://flowthegroup.com/
Will Ackerman – Guitar
Fiona Joy – Piano, Vocals
Lawrence Blatt – Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Ukulele, Bass
Jeff Oster – Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Jeff Haynes – Percussion
Tom Eaton – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Accordion
All Songs Written By:
Will Ackerman, Fiona Joy,
Lawrence Blatt & Jeff Oster
Mixed & Mastered by:
Will Ackerman & Tom Eaton
Imaginary Road Studios,
Windham County, VT
GLOBAL MEDIA RELATIONS:
Beth Hilton, The B Company: