Reviewed by Cathy Oakes
Greg Maroney’s twelfth album, “Coming Home” was released in the spring of 2014. It is, in Maroney’s words, “a joyous celebration of life, speaking of home, heart and fun.” It is also breathtakingly beautiful from beginning to end. The variety of Greg’s musical background and his technical abilities are evident in this work. His fingers fly over the keyboard producing gorgeous melodies and interesting harmonies that will pull at the listener’s heart-strings and lead them through a whole spectrum of emotional experiences from the warmth of “Where the Heart Is” to the restfulness of “Coming Home” to the palpable love of “Linda” Smile” to the child-like humor of “The Cat and the Cricket.”
The album begins with “Gentle Dawn.” This piece depicts the gentle dawning of the day, but builds to a musical picture of the glory of the sun as it makes its first appearance over the horizon. It is a perfect beginning to the album, gently awakening the senses and preparing the listener for the unfolding of a fresh, new walk through the human experience – guided by Maroney’s talent and artistry. I love the warmth of the rich chords in “Where the Heart Is.” The steady “beating heart” in the midtones keeps one moving through this piece to arrive at the end with a feeling of pure contentment.
“The Heart Is Enough” begins with a soulful, “blues” feel. In my mind, this piece reflects Greg’s personal lifestyle of living in harmony with nature with a heart full of love and compassion. “After the Storm” opens with a beautiful simplicity. However, it builds to a tumultuous climax before returning to a stronger statement of the original theme. It is the perfect musical picture of a summer thunderstorm rolling across the hills and valleys. One can hear the thunder rumbling in the rich bass notes of this piece and the wind and rain building and then subsiding until the storm finally blows itself out with a final show of power.
“Coming Home” is so warm and inviting. It is almost hymn-like with a beautiful melody that evokes contentment and happiness and the warmth of hearth and home. This is followed by “Returning,” which is folksy in flavor, expressing the joy of returning to that place we call “home.”
“Dreams” is one of my personal favorites on this CD. A beautiful, almost haunting melody floats above a truly “dream-like” left hand that dances across the keyboard, building to an ending that literally takes one’s breath away. Absolutely GORGEOUS! “Spinning” moves quickly with a left hand that continues a constant “spinning” motion. It is driving and so aptly portrays the motion of spinning that the listener is left nearly dizzy.
The fast-paced “Spinning” is followed perfectly by the wistful “When It’s Gone.” This piece has a light “rock” feel with rich chord structure that expresses the emotion of longing. With “Honeysuckle,” we return to a simpler theme that literally reminds me of bees and butterflies flitting among the honeysuckle blooms, becoming heady with its sweetness. “A Different Sky” has a big beginning and intricate patterns in the melody. I LOVE the surprise chords at the end!
“Reflections” is exactly that – reflective with a pattern in the right hand including trills and parallel 6ths that returns over and over. It allows the mind to wander, but returns the listener to the original theme bringing one’s thoughts back to center. “Linda’s Smile” is a love song written about Maroney’s wife. You can feel the love and happiness being expressed in this piece. It hints at moments of contentment, joy and inspiration all perhaps found in the sight of that smile.
“The Cat and the Cricket” literally made me chuckle! I can hear the curiosity in the cat and the jumping of the cricket, captivating the attention of the feline. This brings to mind a picture that one might find on the cover of a Beverly Cleary children’s book. Such a fun piece! And, oh, the end of this album is so incredibly beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes! Greg’s incredibly beautiful arrangement of “Shenandoah” is the perfect ending to this perfect CD! I can almost feel the movement of the beautiful Shenandoah River through the mountains and valleys in this amazing rendition.
Like a good book that you just can’t put down, yet mourn to have it end, this CD left me wanting to hear more! I give this album 5++ out of 5 stars and very highly recommend it! Beautiful from start to finish, it expresses a journey, so emotional, so beautiful, so human. So, curl up in your favorite chair, light a cozy fire and prepare to be taken on a journey that will carry you through a panorama of human emotions. Relax and enjoy the trip. You’re “Coming Home!”