It has been four months now since I released my debut CD “A Priceless Meadow.” It was a hard but fun journey getting to that day so I’ve enjoyed this post project time. My family, friends and many random people made the release a big success in my eyes. So many people bought multiple copies that they gave away as Christmas gifts. It was very gratifying that people loved it enough that they wanted to share. I’ve sold enough to make it worthwhile even though I still have a few stored in my studio. I think that sales will continue and I’m also able to give them to clients and friends as a nice Thank You gift.
Since the release I’ve had many nice reviews from friends and colleagues. People have told me that they are using the CD in yoga classes, in offices, a calming mechanism in the fight against LA traffic and as part of a training program for stress reduction! One thing that has been interesting for me is that I have the album on my iPhone which I almost always have on a global shuffle. Let me tell you my music collection is nothing if not eclectic! So periodically one of my songs will pop up unexpectedly. It always makes me pause and think “Wow, that is really me.” It is a heartwarming experience.
It is interesting to me to hear from many of the other musicians I know who have said that they all look back at their first album and now say they can’t stand it. I’ve been a harpist for almost twelve years and this album took about three years to complete and I think that in general it is a good thing that it took me so long to finish this project. Right now, I feel really proud of this album and can’t imagine looking back and feeling that way about it. On the other hand, I do plan to continue to grow and progress as an artist so part of me does hope that I feel that way someday. But not anytime soon.
Another interesting thing that happened is that one musician friend said that she had trouble with some of the rhythmic issues on a couple songs. I appreciated the feedback so I went to look into what she was pointing out. Turns out it was specifically on the two songs where I had created the mash-ups and I had purposefully put these songs together. And in BOTH cases they had a certain rhythmic pattern that appealed to me. I liked the ebb and flow of the two songs against each other and I think it works. It didn’t work for her but that is ok. I learned something very interesting because of her comment and I also know that you can’t please everyone.
One of the nicest reviews that I had on my CD is being published in the Spring issue of the Folk Harp Journal. It was written by harpist, Martha Gallagher, whom I greatly respect. To have the CD reviewed in the magazine of my peers means a lot to me.
A Priceless Meadow
Beth A. Stockdell
This debut CD from Beth Stockdell is filled with a peaceful gentleness. From the first haunting chord of the first tune, “A Gaelic Lass,” I was led by the music to a gentle and quiet space. While the music styles and arrangements do vary, the sound and feel is kept consistent throughout the entire recording. This consistency invites the listener to simply sit back, relax and enjoy the music for the tranquil journey it creates for them.
Beth’s music choices complement each other splendidly. Her arrangements of several traditional Gaelic and Scottish tunes are woven into lovely medleys that flow well together and highlight the lovely sound that Beth draws from her harp. Employing the full range of the harp, the arrangements feature lush bass notes, full tones of the mid-range and brightness of the upper octaves, woven together in concerted harmony. Her arrangement of the traditional Irish tune “Kilcash” is appealing with its pleasingly clean lines. Her arrangement of the Scottish tune “Bovaglie’s Plaid” has a gentle playful joy to it.
The music glides from serene to plaintive, from tender to wistful. Light touches of jazz give a contemporary and harmonious feel to the music. The selections also include contemporary compositions by several harpists well known in the harp world for their wonderful compositions. Original pieces by RoJean Loucks include “Promises” and “Farewell”; the CD finishes with her truly lovely “Cyndee’s Farewell.” Carolyn Bame’s tranquil “Etude” and “Beside the Still Waters” sit beautifully among the traditional selections, including Joanna Mell’s engaging arrangement of “The Castle of Dromore.” The deliciously melancholy “Come To Me,” by Dave Parker and Kathy Walden adds another fine musical element to the recording. “Windows of Paris,” by William T. Mahan has a charm to it that transported this listener, in my mind, to a Paris of misty memories and romantic dreams.