For some reason, I somehow think Wayne Bethanis doesn’t really know how outstanding his new album, “Listen,” really is. Or maybe he does. But what I’m saying is there is an undeniable authenticity genuineness, and spirituality about Wayne that one cannot help but mistake as such. These qualities shine brightly through his music and that is part of what makes it so special.
Wayne started playing the piano at age five and was considered to be a musical prodigy. He has since then enjoyed numerous awards and accolades for his top-performing albums and singles on New Age charts and radio stations across the world. In 2022, Wayne was named “Best Piano Artist” by several music platforms, including The New Age Music Guide and One World Music Radio.
Now let’s dive into this luscious new album and have a good “listen.” The album opens with the pretty and melodic, “The Four Corners.” Wayne, in the liner notes, describes this as a “meditation,” designed to activate the pineal gland. It feels that way. This is mainly piano combined with sitar as a perfect accompaniment and some very light orchestration. With our 3rd eyes stimulated, we can continue joyfully on this journey.
You’ve heard of the American aviation pioneers, Orville and Wilbur Wright? This song, “Orville and Wilbur,” speaks to their great accomplishments in that field and reminds us to keep on striving to ascend higher and higher in our own worlds. Piano based, with light string orchestration, the piece is lively and energetic, as one might expect, painting us an aural soundscape of airy excitement and exuberance, which we can find ourselves completely enmeshed in without any effort.
“Tender Years” reminds us to stay connected to our innate innocence and inner child. This is very beautiful and gently sweet, the piano having a lullaby quality to it. Along with the soft, ethereal voices, Boy’s Choir, and subtle percussion, this is thoroughly enjoyable. Gorgeous, truly.
Filled with pleasant chord harmonies and an engaging melody, “That Popular Boy In My English Class,” delights in every way. It’s hard to imagine that Wayne ever perceived himself as nerdy and unpopular, but apparently, he did at one time. Wayne says: “Day after day I
was subjected to a full-blown confrontation with everything I thought I wanted to be.” I like this very much, not only for its musical structure, but for its vulnerability.
I wish we could address every track of this wonderful 11 track album, but we can’t do that here. You will have to have a “listen” for yourself. Some other highlights: “Lonely Is The Normal Heart.” This is an exquisitely beautiful, melodic piano piece with gentle orchestration. You won’t want to miss this one. As well, be sure to have a listen to “The Bexley Bop.” I love this fun, jazzy (now viral!) crossover. I think you will too. Wayne says, “This song is my anthem for anyone going through a broken heart and turning lemons into lemonade. . .hard, spiked lemonade if necessary.” With Marcus Sjowall performing on jazz flute and Julian Shaw-Tayler on lead guitar, this one will carry you effortlessly right out of any current troubles.
“Francesca’s Affair” is based on a fictional character Wayne “channeled,” who travels to Spain to experience deep passion and love. This is a highly romantic piece with a warm and intimate piano melody and light orchestration that will find you wanting to stay in this mood forever. Just gorgeous.
This outstanding album closes out with the epic, mystical, and emotionally stirring, “Egypt and the Sea People.” It’s based upon a story Wayne wrote. High energy, the sounds of the sea, and ancient instruments along with a passionate, extremely skillful piano performance, make this the perfect, breathtaking (Wow!) ending to an album we find ourselves wanting to listen to again and again. My advice, get the whole thing.
Official artist website: https://waynebethanis.com/