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Jill Haley | The Winds of Badlands | Album Review by Dyan Garris

91jqSmEBEUL._SX466_winds of badlands cd coverThe Winds of Badlands by Jill Haley

Album review by Dyan Garris for Zone Music Reporter and New Age CD


Jill Haley has more than perfectly captured the timeless wonder of Badlands National Park with her brilliant album, “The Winds of Badlands.” Through her musical    mastery she paints us a breathtaking soundscape; a panoramic vista that is unforgettable.  We are there. And we don’t want to leave. — Dyan Garris


Multi-instrumentalist, Jill Haley, shares with us the music she wrote while she was an Artist in Residence at Badlands National Park in South Dakota. “The Winds of Badlands” is part of her National Park Series and is her sixth album of music inspired by the beauty and majesty of various National Parks throughout the United States. Jill plays piano/keyboard, English horn, and oboe. She is joined on this album by her husband, Grammy® award-winning David Cullen on guitar and bass, and her son, Graham Cullen on cello.

If I have it right, due to erosion caused by wind and water, the beautiful, colorful, rugged formations of the Badlands are always changing.  Jill Haley has more than perfectly captured the timeless wonder of Badlands National Park with her brilliant album. Through her musical mastery she paints us a breathtaking soundscape; a panoramic vista that is unforgettable.  We are there. And we don’t want to leave.

When Jill gets invited to a National Park for a residency program, she spends a few weeks exploring the Park and writing music on a portable keyboard. She then spends time finalizing the compositions for a concert she gives at the Park near the end of her residency. When she returns home, she releases the music as an album. Be sure to visit her YouTube channel, because she also makes YouTube videos from the stunning photographs she has taken and the music she has written during her time in residency at various Parks.

Here on “The Winds of Badlands,” we have twelve truly lovely tracks.  Opening the album is the lively, vibrant, “Whirlwind,” which brings us right into alignment with the feeling of the ever-present wind Jill encountered in the Park.  “Wind Hymn,” is aptly “reverent” in feel, quieter, and almost feels like being in a place of worship.  Beautiful cello performance here by Graham Cullen and overall quite calming to the spirit. “Cliff Shelf Breeze” is light and flowing, just exactly like a soft breeze caressing the face.

“Silhouettes at Dusk” evokes soundscapes of the grand buttes and stately spires of the Badlands against a soft twilight sky. “Western Meadowlark Call” was inspired by the perpetual calls of the birds to each other. Timeless and captivating, we are so there. David Cullen’s guitar adds another amiable layer to this warm, happy, and perfectly nuanced song.

“Sculpted by Water” is essentially a piano solo, inspired by the water erosion in the Badlands that creates the ever-changing rock formations found there. Very nicely done and through the composition we can clearly visualize the flowing water dancing its eternal dance.

“Floor of the Sky” is a standout on this album. This is mellow, sinuous, and gracefully elegant. Love it.  Again, we have David’s guitar performance wrapping around Jill’s melodic performance, both blending perfectly into each other, just as perhaps the floor of the prairie might look like it’s merging with the sky. This is such a beautiful, dreamy song.

This is followed by “Rustles of Green and Gold.” Fast-paced and fun, this tune speaks again to the ubiquitous wind in the Park.  “Moon Over Badlands” incorporates another wonderful cello performance by Graham Cullen, along with passionate piano and Jill’s soul-soothing wind instruments. We can envisage just how magnificent the moon must look there in the Badlands.

Have you ever seen a soaring hawk? “Uplift” feels exactly like watching birds gliding along effortlessly with the air currents.  Very relaxing.

One of the most popular places in Badlands National Park is Sage Creek Basin. It’s teeming with wildlife such as buffalo, prairie dogs, coyotes, deer, and eagles. The song “Sage Creek Basin” is another favorite of mine on this album. Melodic and free, it perfectly conveys the energy of the environment.  We can feel the freedom of movement flowing through our hearts.

One thing I really love about this album is that it is multi-textured; reflective of what we actually do find in this particular National Park and therefore, effectively transportive.  Being able to translate the particular intricacies of a place through music is true and gifted artistry.

The album rounds out with the feel-good song, “Prairie Grass Dance,” which was inspired by the deer and elk running through the grasses.  So joyful, melodic, and authentic. As I mentioned, we are there. And we don’t want to leave.  But. . .we can always return.  “The Winds of Badlands” is a glorious, rich, full vacation for the soul from whatever ails you. 


Official Jill Haley website:

David Cullen Guitar:

For immediate information or to schedule a booking contact Jill Haley directly by phone 610-823-9087 or by email at [email protected]

Broadcast and Media Promotion:
LAZZ Promotions, Ed and Stacey Bonk
Voice: 905-470-1230
E-mail: [email protected]


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