Monday, February 23, 2015

CD: KAREN MUELLER - Landscape of the Heart

Landscape of the Heart
Hangman's Reel - Green Green Rocky Road - My Cape Breton Home - Our Kansas Traveler - Spanish Fandango - Fly Around Pretty Little Miss/Barlow Knife - Fields of Gold - Little Martha - Landscape of the Heart - Heart of the Heartland - Sarah Armstrong's - Birdland - SLO Twilight/Julia Delany - Josefins Dopvals - I Ride an Old Paint - Forked Deer/Blackberry Blossom
This amazing CD is an incredible showcase of Karen Mueller's incredible musical talent.  I first met and heard her a long time ago in a land far away called Avoca.  It was there that Karen, just a young princess then, entered an autoharp playing competition.  She won of course, and went on to visit many far away lands, continuing her pursuit of a landscape of her heart.  Autoharp of course being her major musical instrument, but she added mountain dulcimer, guitar, and mandolin on her trek in life, and asked some of her close musical friends to make some contributions to this magical musical presentation.  The mountain dulcimer (Janita Baker), fiddle (Tom Schaefer), cello (Michelle Kinney), bass (Pete Mathison), drums (Art Dougall), bass & vocals (Mark Anderson), and herded them carefully to Sutton Sound in Atascadero, California, to create this simply beautiful musical experience.  Karen is not just an autoharp player.  She's a kind of 'wizard' on that instrument, and her own beautiful voice forces the autoharp to step back, quiet un-noticeably, to let the 'voice' emerge, beautiful and lovely.  She selected some beautiful and lovely traditional songs for this adventure, and they all turned out exceptional.  In her own words, "Places from our past can have great power to call up unexpected memories when we return there."  The title song 'Landscape of the Heart' is in the middle of this delightful recording.  The beauty of Karen's home state of Kansas and the great plains landscape, often ignored by those unfamiliar with it, is brought to the forefront of everyone's imagination as they listen to this lovely anthem to those very old and far away principles that Karen brings to the forefront so easily.  Karen goes on to say, "While much of this song (and this CD I might add), relates to her experience growing up in Kansas, it becomes universal when you consider the landscape of your own heart and the memories that continue to live there.  Music also has the power to transport us to another place and another time.  That's exactly what happened to me sitting in the sunshine in California, listening to this incredibly lovely musical tapestry of memories from far away and long ago.  What a simply wonderful feeling to tap ones fingers to the delicious melodies she plays on her autoharp, and tap ones toes in a meaningful step toward wizardry and a time long past but still very alive in the musical art of Karen Mueller. Thank you Karen for this wonderful experience. Searching for the stars in the landscape of my own heart is easy as I listen to your wonderful guidance, no mountains to climb, no clouds in the way, searching for the stars.  I will be passing your CD along to the Rural Roots Music Commission who are already looking forward to listening to your delightful memory maker.
for Country Music News International Magazine 
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