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Author Topic: Tim Janis: Celtic Heart (Album / CD writeup)  (Read 48 times)
A Sprite so Complete
Posts: 157

One CWazy Canadian!

« on: August 24, 2019, 05:54:55 PM »

Caution: The writeup below may contain spoilers!

Tim Janis: Celtic Heart - Album Writeup Part 1 (Digital Album)

Tim Janis's music is very relaxing and so is this album. The is essentially an instrumental album. The harps, whistles, and flutes, were all excellent and relaxing instrument choices. The voices are used like instruments too. Rather than words, the music relies on angelic humming. The sound is atmospheric ... almost hypnotic.

Lynn's voice is perfect for this album. Its beauty and resonance draws in and enchants the listener. It doesn't overpower the other instruments, but also never gets overshadowed or lost among the other sounds. It's remarkable how her voice maintains such a perfect balance.

Lynn definitely arranged at least some of the songs (she probably arranged most of them). Some of the songs have her distinctive style that she's used on her solo albums and her group projects, like CaraNua. At first, I thought the "da-dum, da-dum" in some of the backing vocals might become distracting. But that thought lasted only for a moment. I found that it to was soothing and it created a rhythm that was almost like a heartbeat. Where her voice carries, our hearts will surely follow.

Lynn's voice is at the forefront of pretty much every song, while Mairead's involvement is a bit more subtle sometimes, but she has some outstanding moments. Mairead gets the spotlight in Western Realms, Fairy Glen, Kid ar an Sliabh, and Hidden Forest. Fairy Glen is fun and soothing at the same time. Kid ar an Sliabh has a familiar and catchy swashbuckling flavor.

My favourite track on the album is Hidden Forest. It features Lynn's voice of course, but also a breathtaking melody by Mairead. The song starts out like the others, lovely and tranquil. Then out of nowhere, it will come sweeping in to whisk away your heart. This is one of the most gorgeous songs I've ever heard Mairead play. When Lynn comes back into the song to join her, it's bliss beyond my ability to describe. <3

The album comes to an abrupt end. The meaning in that I'll leave for you to contemplate. But one thing it achieves very well is leaving you longing for more.

For people that don't know Tim Janis's music and haven't read this writeup, I'm not sure this album would be what they'd be expecting if you told them that Lynn and Mairead were performing on the an album. It's definitely a different style than Celtic Woman and for those who are expecting catchy lyrics, they'll be surprised, one way or another. But this album fulfills its intent exceedingly well and both Mairead and Lynn are used very effectively, though Lynn definitely gets more air time.

Every Tim Janis album I've heard has been amazing. Some have even catchier tunes and epic orchestral swells. But none of those other albums have Lynn and Mairead. If you enjoy relaxing music, I think you're going to love this one, even in the absence of words. If you're like me, one of the things you love about Celtic Woman music is that it relaxes you. Celtic Heart is immensely soothing and hopefully it will touch your heart like it did mine.

Track List

1. Fall of the Great Forest (4:20)
2. Isle of Skye (2:10 )
3. The White Forest (2:59)
4. Western Realms (2:58)
5. Mountain at the River (4:23)
6. Winter's Gate (3:13)
7. The Ancient Woods (5:01)
8. Fairy Glen (3:21)
9. Shadow Glass (2:27)
10. Beyond the Evening Star (2:50)
11. Spirit of the Trees (2:14)
12. Kid ar an Sliabh (2:15)
13. Light on the Sea (2:51)
14. Hidden Forest (3:53)
15. Through the Mountains (2:34)
16. The Light of Highland Meadow (2:54)
17. The Ring of Brodgar (4:57)
18. Spirit Lake (3:06)
19. Celtic Heart (4:13)

Running time of the CD is 1 hour 2 minutes.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2019, 05:59:37 PM by CWazyTom » Logged
A Sprite so Complete
Posts: 157

One CWazy Canadian!

« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2019, 05:57:18 PM »

Caution: The writeup below may contain spoilers!

Tim Janis: Celtic Heart - Album Writeup Part 2 (Physical CD)

Album Packaging

The album came from PBS in thin 6-panel gatefold wallet. Essentially, that's a thin cardboard case instead of a plastic jewel case. Both the front and back panels swing open so you essentially have 6 lovely panels. I usually prefer jewel cases because they're more durable and replaceable than cardboard with the album artwork printed directly on it. The cardboard is "environmentally friendly" and easier to recycle (it's made of 15-point recycle board stock and printed with vegetable-based inks). But let's be honest, I'm probably never going to want to recycle this thing of beauty.

The cover is similar to the DVD. It features images of the principal performers on the album: Eimear McGeown, Mairead Nesbitt, Lynn Hilary, The Harp Twins (Camille and Kennerly Kitt), and Tim Janis. The performers are wearing their outfits from the PBS special and have their instruments with them (Lynn's instrument being her voice). Behind the performs is a backdrop of a dark green hill with rocky peaks and a lake behind it. Above the hill and the lake are the warm, soothing gold and orange hues of either a sunrise or a sunset. It's by far my favourite Tim Janis album cover (and he has some really nice ones). This is a legitimate contender for my all-time favourite album cover.

The back cover features a picture of Tim Janis and includes the set list. If you read my writeup on the Celtic Heart DVD already, you may recall that the set list on the DVD was a bit hard to read, since there wasn't much contrast between text and the background. The album, in contrast to the DVD (pun shamelessly intended), has a track list that's far more legible. The CD comes in a cardboard sleeve inside the back panel.

The cover at first swings open in the typical way, but then folds out a second time to create a 6 panel spread. The other panels include:
- One of Mairead, playing her heart out in the violin
- A 3 panel spread that features a wide photo of the other lead performers on the rocky seaside in Maine where they filmed a bunch of the scenes for the PBS special / DVD. The spread also includes singer Ella Roberts, a quote by Yeats, and the "credits."

The credits list Lynn's contribution as "vocals." Even though it doesn't explicitly credit her for arranging the vocal arrangements in some of the songs, I think it's pretty likely that she did arrange a bunch of these, since many of the vocal arrangements sound like her style.

The album doesn't come with an insert, but it doesn't really need one.

The CD includes 19 tracks. It doesn't contain additional tracks compared to the digital version of the album. As I mentioned in my review of the digital album, these tracks are all beautiful, soothing, and thoroughly satisfying. If you're into this type of music at all, I'd certainly recommend this album for your collection!
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