Terry Lee Nichols and Rebekah Eden – “We have only come to dream. . . A Resonance of Human Migration to the Americas”
Album review by Dyan Garris for New Age CD.com
Terry Lee Nichols is a Florida based, classically trained composer and multi-instrumentalist. He specializes in New Age, cinematic, and adult contemporary music. Since he was a child, music has been an important part of his life. While at Florida State University, he majored in music composition with piano as his primary instrument. He holds an MFA in Music Composition and Theory. Attending California Institute of the Arts, he had opportunity to score documentary films, television shows, and movies. It is evident that this is where one of his great talents lies.
“We have only come to dream. . .” a collaboration between Terry Lee Nichols and Rebekah Eden, is ultra-rich, deep, wide, vast, and an utterly gorgeous album through and through. It is easily imagined as an epic film score. The arrangements, including the vocal arrangements by Eden, are spectacular. Her ethereal and shimmering soprano vocals are interwoven into many of the songs, giving them a magical, other-worldly feel.
Now, this isn’t just a big, beautiful and poignant musical soundscape for the purpose of being majestic and grand. It’s a journey. It’s the story of the journey of human migration, not just “across the pond” so to speak, but rather, the worldwide migratory flow of various peoples of this planet. The CD comes with a booklet displaying these historic routes.
However, migratory movement is not just what this album is about either. This is a multi-dimensional reflection and reverberation of our humanness and human experiences, as individuals and as a collective, that have shaped where we are today as a global society. All of these songs are masterful, multi-textured compositions that can easily take us back in time and yet effortlessly encapsulate the present moment as well. Listening to this album, it’s as if we are inside of a film watching a movie of ourselves developing. Truly fascinating.
The album begins with the outstanding and magical “Phantasmagorical Voyage.” There is a tender, lullaby quality in the beginning of this song that envelops us with its melodic dreaminess. The piano is fantastic here, as are the interleaved, celestial vocals. And we do feel lulled, as if we are in a lovely dream, and on the threshold of the most important voyage of our lives. We are born. We are at the beginning. We are instantly transported to another time and place that is brimming with hope and our own ideas of all that is to come. The “voyage” leads to an awesome, exciting build toward the end of the track, and finishes with a grandissimo flourish.
The Anasazi were an ancient Indian civilization, known primarily as the “cliff dwellers,” with an interesting culture and history. Track 2, “The Anasazi,” perfectly captures this intrigue. Fast-paced and multi-layered, it’s as if we can hear the ancient and eternal voices bubbling up from deep within our earthly core.
The title track, “We have only come to dream. . .” as track 3, is filled with lusciousness and the echoes of eternal consciousness. Mellow flute, melodic piano, angelic vocals, and great percussion, are all layered into the mix along with gentle nature sounds, altogether serving to remind us that all is perhaps but a dream.
Track 7, “The River of Life,” is a personal favorite. Rich, mellow, melodic, and of course, wonderfully flowing, it’s easy to completely relax and recapture the heartbeat of life through this song.
In between we have “1492,” with its deep, dark, exciting largeness, which effectively portrays exactly what it must have been like to embark upon that particular exploration back then. “1492” is followed by the quite haunting piece, “Conquistadors.” Historically, in brevity, this is the meeting of ancient civilizations who previously had no knowledge of each other’s existence. Meeting one another and subsequently interacting in the terrible ways that they did, had profound effect upon humanity’s conceptualization of. . .humanity. This was a pivotal time in our existence and for a lot of reasons. “Conquistadors” speaks to it all perfectly.
Not to be left out is “The Courier,” which is evocative of the tension and danger inherent in what it could have been like, for example, to be Paul Revere from Colonial times/The American Revolution. By the way, Revere did not just go on that infamous “midnight ride,” but was perhaps the most notable courier in history. I am not certain that Nichols’ “The Courier” composition is intended to be specifically about Revere, but the song effectively portrays the emotions that this particular period in our existence must have brought to the surface.
Track 8, “The 19th Century Refugee Crisis,” is Celtic in feel, and although it has an intrinsic “heaviness” due to the basic subject matter, it’s perfectly lovely and lighter with the magnificent lyric vocals of Rebekah Eden. It’s got that amazing “Celine Dion” star quality to it and could most definitely be the theme song to a blockbuster movie like “Titanic.”
“A House Divided,” track 9, speaks, I believe, to the era of the Civil War. It’s brief at 1:50, but the very poignant and emotionally moving mezzo-soprano lyric vocal of Hekembe Eichelberger, the distinguished Associate Professor of Classical Voice at Howard University, make the song particularly unforgettable.
Track 10, “The Last Cowboy,” is quite interesting as it’s completely transportive. Tuneful it is, with warm strings and a wistful, charming piano melody. Interspersed in here as well is a bit of honky-tonk piano that we might well hear in a “wild west” saloon. Along with that we are then transported right into the heart of the bustling saloon with some interesting sounds and verbiage, presumably the “last cowboy” ordering up a drink. Then it’s back to the open freedom of the prairie.
Last track, “Canyon Sunset,” brings us full circle in a way. The soulful sweet flute touches our heart and opens us to new horizons yet to be discovered. So even though it may seem as if we’ve reached the end of our journey, it’s not really an ending. It’s an opportunity for new beginnings. Here, we are reminded through the richness of the music that what we do now and where we decide to go from here is past, present, and future, all in one.
Other credits on the album include the poetry of Philip Spevak and the flute artistry of Sherry Finzer. As well, Dr. James W. Norris, is credited with historical background research. Audio engineering is by Gordon Davies, and Dan Edminster is vocal track recording engineer.
“We have only come to dream. . .” is bold and brilliant, and perhaps as courageous in some ways as the very first ancestral phantasmagorical voyage must have been.
It would be challenging to try to choose just one or two songs from this album to download as singles, as the whole thing is truly extraordinary as a work of art. Love it, and on every level.
Even if you didn’t know or care about what “We only came to dream. . .” is about in terms of its deeply thematic premises, if you enjoy cinematic music, this one is at the very top of its game. Here we are nudged on every level to remember who we are and to care about it. Memorable, impressive, and highly recommended.
Buy “We have only come to dream. . .”
CONTACT TERRY LEE NICHOLS:
5 Jasmine Drive
Palm Coast, FL 32137
Email: [email protected]
Official Artist Website: http://www.terryleenichols.com
CONTACT REBEKAH EDEN:
Official Artist website: http://www.rebekaheden.com
Ed & Stacey Bonk: Lazz Promotions: [email protected]