Reviewed By Pam Asberry
Loren Evarts is a music industry veteran. A composer and an arranger, he has performed professionally in the northeastern United States in a myriad of situations for over forty years. He has studied with such noted composers and pianists as Anthony Davis, Neil Slater and David Barnett, has a master’s degree in music education, and has been a teacher himself for many years.
In “Home Again,” Evarts revisits several previously recorded pieces as well as eight new ones with music that commemorates significant places he has seen and books he has read. This album was produced by the legendary Will Ackerman (Windham Hill Records) at his Imaginary Road Studio in Vermont and was engineered by Tom Eaten.
This collection begins with “A Day on the Concord River.” Inspired by the writings of Henry David Thoreau, the ebb and flow of the right hand melody over the ostinato left hand is reminiscent of Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedie.” Next comes “Dugong Dance,” a graceful and elegant two-step over rich and resonant chords and a beautifully descriptive sound painting of these cousins of the manatees. “Far and Away” is quiet and contemplative, melodic thoughts flitting rapidly over a solemn bass. “Ktaadn” relates Evarts’ attempt to hike Mount Katahdin in the state of Maine. Although his efforts were unfortunately thwarted by a snowstorm, the music aptly describes his perseverance and his eventual resignation.
“Sunset Island,” re-recorded from the 1985 album “Water Music,” captures the fading rays of the sun with melodic snippets descending over ostinato left hand patterns and chords. “Evensong” pays homage to the choral evensong experienced at medieval cathedrals in England. The title track, “Home Again,” is a personal favorite. Whimsical and exuberant, it was almost named “Pooh Sticks,” as it was inspired by simple game first mentioned in A. A. Milne’s “A House at Pooh Corner,” in which two players standing on a bridge over a body of running water sticks on the upstream side; the winner is the one whose stick first appears on the downstream side. “Outermost House” was inspired by the book of the same title by Henry Beston, which chronicles his year living alone on the dunes of Cape Cod. With its haunting melody and meditative spirit this piece, like Beston’s book, offers an introspective rumination.
“Wedding at Sunrise,” another favorite, joyfully captures the celebration, hopes and dreams of a couple on their wedding day. “Baker Lake,” re-recorded tune from “St. John River Suite,” with its flowing melody flowing over a rippling left hand, moves just like the body of water it describes. “Nine Mile Bridge” is the final re-recorded piece, also from “St. John River Suite,” and borrows its title from the 1948 book written by Helen Hamlin about living on the St. John River in Maine. “The Good Life,” based on the 1954 book by Helen and Scott Nearing about their homesteading life in Vermont, is nostalgic and contemplative and brings the album to a satisfying conclusion.
With its diversity of style and poignant and emotive musical content, this album will be a welcome addition to any solo piano music lover’s library. Recommended!