Skip to main content

Holiday/New Age Instrumental Review: Erwilian-Midwinter’s Night

Release Date: December 2009/Remastered November 2014
Label: Independent

Erwilian is a band that embraces acoustic sound at its finest. A blend of Celtic, renaissance, fantasy folk, bluegrass and more, every instrument resounds with a natural symmetry. Midwinter’s Night is the band’s first ever re-issue with remastered, non-continuous sequencing. 

The Seattle based group is comprised of Bill Bowser (Guitar, Violin), Jordan Buetow (Recorders, Hammered Dulcimer), Brian Matheny (Sound Engineering), Bethel Melton (Hammered Dulcimer, Soprano Recorder), Scott Melton (Guitars, Mountain Dulcimer), Robert Schuweiler (Mandola, Bouzouki, Tenor Guitar) and Jeff Reed (Percussion). The group was saddened this past autumn with the passing of Jeff Reed and the void left by his absence has been keenly felt by all who knew him.
keenly felt by all who knew him.


When I first began to play this album, I had never encountered Erwilian before. In a few seconds I was hooked for life. The magic these artists weave is a solid one, bound by years of working together and a harmony of sound and spirit you don’t often find. It was like being at a Ren Fest while I was sitting in my writing room, minus the giant turkey leg in hand and mud on my shoes. Much better.

The album opens up the “In Convivio” complete with the audience applauding in the background. The music spiraled up and out like a smooth bite of seasonal mead going down the hatch. Ah but it made my heart happy. Perfect for the season, the very familiar holiday tune came through, along with the joy of the musicians playing it. I was in love. 

Midway through the play list is “Wandering.” The recorder lilts out a solitary melody that invites introspection and solitary contemplation. It fit my mood on this gray and gloomy November afternoon as time just stopped and I was thankful for good company, a warm puppy snuggling at my side and the blessing of this wonderful music in my ears. Simple, but profound, other instrumentation seamlessly wanders in and takes what is there and expands it. Guitar, percussion and more. It is beauty personified and it made me want to weep. About half way through the piece, it livens up and I thought immediately of the Hobbit and the wandering voyage of our lives. We are all of us wanderers and some of us blessed with companions that love us and little things like this music to brighten the path we go by. 

“Gigues” is the final piece on the album, a medley of five familiar holiday tunes. The multi-instrumentation of this piece brought me back to memories of watching A Christmas Carol when I was young. Then it spun up and became a jolly romp of festive dance music. A ball of brightly colored gowns and gallant gentlemen escorting the ladies as they bowed and curtsied, making their way through the paces. Joy. Pure and simple. 

Erwilian is a band I will now follow like a fan girl. Their unique blend of acoustic instrumentation is bold and lively and brings out all the best from New Age to bluegrass and folk. The remastered album is a seamless live effort without too much in the way of clapping that can be annoying, at least to me. This was perfect. All the music, moderate applause…full on enjoyment. This is an album that you will love all year round but especially now as the holiday season comes upon us and we draw close to those we love best. In closing, a heartfelt thought to the band members and family of Jeff Reed. Some lights never dim even with the passing of time. 

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Midwinter’s Night, Wandering, Gigues

Tracks:
01. In Convivio
02. Midwinter's Night
03. South Prairie Rain
04. Villancicos
05. Wandering
06. Billy in the Lowground/Swinging on a Gate
07. Calling Birds
08. Memories
09. A-Wassailing
10. This Little Babe
11. Gigues

 
DanaWright, Sr. Staff Writer
November 18, 2014
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Rock Review: Aunt Mary-New Dawn

Release Date: 12th February 2016 Label: Wind-Up Website
Aunt Mary, as a name, somehow suggests an “older” band and it came as no real surprise to find that they are a Norwegian prog band from the 70’s. The band were considered by many to be one of the best prog bands in Norway with their brand of music a mixture of heavy hard rock tunes plus clear indications of a more symphonic nature, although that only really showed itself on their 3rd, and last, studio album, Janus, in 1973. Last that is, until now, with the release of New Dawn. This would appear to be an apt title for a release which follows 24 years after an album of blues covers, released in 1992. 

At their height, Aunt Mary were “up there” with the likes of Deep Purple, Ten Years After, King Crimson, Jethro Tull and many more. After the release of Janus in 1973, the band split up but did a few sporadic appearances, as well as releasing the blues covers album mentioned earlier.

3 years ago, the Norwegian guitar legend and producer, …

Alternative Rock: mariaFausta -Million Faces

Release Date: November 12, 2017
Label: Independent
Website mariaFausta is a European alternative rock vocalist. Recently her album Million Faces became available. I knew that she would probably sing with an accent and she does. Here is the thing with that aspect of a recording artist, either you cannot get past it or you like it, there is no middle ground. After that process and you decide you like it, you realize it is part of the charisma and make up of what the artist is presenting. For my ears things landed on the positive side in all aspects.

Maria’s sound is a varied approach that works very well. It certainly is alternative rock and one of the most original and different albums I have heard in 2017. I hear a ton of instrumental music and sometimes find it difficult with redundancy regarding my words. That is something that all writers worry about. You are cognizant of that fact at all times. Well let me tell you, this music was a total joy to hear and then have the opportunity to p…

New Age Instrumental Review: Anaya Music-AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music)

Release Date: February 2, 2018 Label: Anaya Music Website
Around this time a year ago I had the experience of listening to Anaya Music and providing coverage of Eternity.  It was an uplifting experience and a memorable listen as I recall.
Now with February drawing closer AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music) will arrive.
Once again, the recording features several exceptional collaborations between Anaya Music and a live virtual symphony orchestra recorded in the heart of Prague, the capital of the Czech republic. The orchestra combines members of the finest ensembles in Prague, including the Czech Philharmonic.
I think they should rename the orchestra to “The Live Spiritual Orchestra.” If you have been exposed to Anaya Music you will understand what that means. If this is your first journey with this music you will find out very quickly. Either way, this is spiritually uplifting music that leaves a smile on your soul. It’s like the term digital footprint, there is an everlasting m…