Beyond The Clearing Reviewed
Back in 2011 the acoustic guitarist Robert Linton released the impressive Throughout The Autumn Light. From cover to music the theme was simplicity and what a winning formula it was making this recording an unassuming quiet sleeper hit. Being the first time that this reviewer had heard him, the surprise factor was now gone. Add on the fact that he was also having to follow up a strong recording there was a certain expectation that Beyond The Clearing would not live up to its predecessor. How wrong a conclusion this would be as Linton has followed up with another stellar release.
Neither underwhelming nor overwhelming Linton has stayed true to the many winning ingredients of Throughout The Autumn Light. As a result Beyond The Clearing focuses on Linton’s concise acoustic guitar self composed songs that he co produced with Corin Nelsen. Add in some special artist friends such as Heidi Breyer on piano, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Jill Haley on English Horn, Jeff Pearce on EBow guitar and Sara Milonovich on violin just to name a few, and you have all the ingredients for another successful outing. Nine duet tracks later there is no doubt that Linton has established him as one of the lead shepherds’ in the pastoral guitar genre.
From composition to performance to production Linton has presented another laconic and unassuming recording which matches perfectly with Linton’s very subtle musical style. With consistency being the name of the game and no track standing out over the other, Beyond The Clearing is clearly beyond a doubt another impressive recording from Robert Linton.
December 2nd, 2016
Acoustic guitarist Robert Linton's third release solidifies his place as the top purveyor of "autumnal" music recording today. By autumnal, I mean music rich with delicate nuance, deep introspection, and a somber beauty that is emblematic of the season where red leaves are lit by orange sunsets, birds on high head south before the snow flies, and frost glistens on pumpkins and cornstalks. Linton plays with the most uncommon grace and beauty I have ever heard. He is joined by a stellar cast of guest stars, and together they will hold you spellbound and enraptured. Beyond the Clearing is surely one of the best albums of 2016.
June 16th, 2016
With clear mind and pure soul You feel an endless joy and love What can be said about this music? It brings joy from the first moments and fills the heart with tranquility and purity. You feel your anxieties and troubles easily fading away and you eagerly want to start an exciting journey to a beautiful land hidden behind the veil of fog and heavy rains. And you can begin this unexpected trip to the unknown and this path will lead you to yourself… The music of Robert Linton is full of imagination. It plunges you into a wonderful and interesting movie. And the artist‘s guitar playing has one more very important feature. There is understanding of the essence of human being in the compositions of Robert Linton. They invite the listener to feel your inner thoughts, to realize the true center of your existence which is pure love and boundless joy. You also can feel the real source of your creation and release the most intimate desires. And your spirit will be filled with infinite creativity again... I have not heard such a clear and pure musical message for a long time. Besides, these compositions are unique from the first and till the last second. Robert Linton has his own musical language which is very expressive and at the same time refined. “Beyond the Clearing” is the third release of the gifted artist. Many outstanding musicians participated in this project such as Sara Milonovich on violin, Heidi Breyer on piano, Kitty Thompson on cello, Adam Miller on guitar, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Jill Haley on English Horn, Stephen Katz on cello and Jeff Pearce on EBow guitar creating very special meditative environment for Robert’s brilliant guitar solo. I am sure the album “Beyond the Clearing” will be among the most powerful and recognized releases of this year. And the long and very good future awaits it too. This music brings the best which exists in our world. It is very integral and real. The main message of this music is that your true essence is love…
July 29th, 2016
It’s been a good while since I’ve reviewed Robert’s music (issue # 115). On this January, 2016 release, Robert’s wonderful guitar is joined by Sara Milonovich on violin, Heidi Breyer on piano, Kitty Thompson on cello, Adam Miller on Guitar, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Jill Haley on English Horn, Stephen Katz on cello and Jeff Pearce on EBow guitar in a most poignant reminder of how sensitive a well-played guitar can be. Tunes like the gentle “Gathering Over the Surface” will elevate your outlook significantly! If it’s been a while since you encountered the tyranny of Mother Nature, you’ll feel all her power on “A Distant Storm“! This is decidedly among the most high-power sonic adventures I’ve listened to (yet) in 2016, as evidenced by my personal favorite of the nine tunes offered up, “Stretching Across the Horizon“… you’ll hear this echo in your thoughts for months/years to come. I give Robert and his talented crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98 for this splendid music.
Issue # 161 Reviews
Beyond The Clearing is Robert Linton’s third studio release. My introduction to Robert was the track “Aside the River Bed.” It was featured on our Rate The Tracks site. His delicate guitar playing led me along the river and I felt like I was there, one with nature.
If music moves you enough to be picturesque then it is doing what intends to. Instrumental tracks must create something other than an auditory experience for the listener. Without words there is no story right? This is not always the case when someone knows how to deliver a message with music alone. Mr. Linton accomplishes this with a flair and excellence on Beyond The Clearing.
“Lingering Rustle” certainly holds a meaning. It is a sound, perhaps a feeling one has, something is moving and trying to tell you something. That lingering could be a feeling you have internally, whether it’s an urging, a rumbling in the stomach or just a voice within giving you direction. That fact that it is lingering indicates that it will not go away unless addressed. This song is very gentle in its approach and Robert
paints the sky with the gentle pastels of his decisive guitar lines. Other instruments come into the picture and are then sprinkled in ever so slightly to accentuate the atmosphere and sincere feeling of the track.
As always I leave the interpretation of each song to each individuals own perception. I look at the CD cover, the title of the track and listen intently then put all of that together as each track develops and then I start feeling certain things and begin seeing a movie unfold in my mind’s eye. This can only happen with exceptional music and this album passed the test.
The title track is always significant and the artist holds up his end of that expectation with “Beyond The Clearing.” Once again gentle acoustic and melodic guitar lines whisper on the wind as it swirls around your being you begin to feel like you are melting into the scenery unfolding in your mind. It is the very essence of beauty and perfection much like the natural surroundings that Robert is standing in the middle of on the cover of this album. A man, his thoughts and his guitar take the barren hot desert and turn it into his own personal heaven. What was once looked at as a desolate and lonely place blooms into a haven of peace and solitude that a spiritual individual can appreciate and want to return to.
Beyond The Clearing is a work of art that an artist with a clear vision of what he wanted to present to a listening audience. The sheer beauty of one instrument leading you down the path of completion and satisfaction is what awaits you inside this music. The sounds and colors that paint this musical canvas are bright with life and the promise of a new day. What more could one ask from a recording?
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
January 20, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews
It was interesting to receive the new album by guitarist Robert Linton exactly on the fifth anniversary of my Music and Media Focus website, considering that his previous release, Throughout The Autumn Light was one of the first albums I had the pleasure to write about here. That release went on to do very well, garnering a number 2 spot on the ZMR Top 100 Radio Airplay charts, as well as a nomination for Best Instrumental Acoustic Album.
As I said of his playing on that album: “Robert Linton has the artistic acuity to convey a particular mood in a way that envelops the listener and draws them into his space for the duration of the recording. His guitar playing is sensitive, deft, and evocative, providing a gentle journey you’ll want to embark upon often. In fact, if you are looking for the perfect soundtrack for a mellow Sunday morning, you couldn’t do much better than this.” All of the wonderful qualities that made that album so likeable are found in abundance here on his new recording, Beyond The Clearing.
On this project, some previous musical relationships were renewed and some new one’s formed. Robert once again worked with well-known producer Corin Nelsen who mixed, mastered, and co-produced the album. Reprising their roles as accompanists are Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Jill Haley (English horn), Jeff Pearce (Ebow guitar), and Stephen Katz (cello). Also joining Robert are Sara Milonovich (violin), Heidi Breyer (piano), Kitty Thompson (cello), and Adam Miller (guitar). Interestingly, each song on the album is a duet between Robert on guitar and one of the above-named accompanists. As I mentioned about his last album, Robert’s instrument of choice is the nylon string acoustic guitar, which he tends to pluck fingerstyle, rather than strum, providing a harp-like sonority, which I found quite heavenly and relaxing.
In my interview, I asked Robert how he would describe or classify his music, to which he replied: “As I’ve triedrobert linton to describe my music over the years I’ve settled with using simply instrumental guitar or New Age as the genre. New Age is familiar to most people yet I’ve wanted to define my music further into something more unique. As my music is being played, I would hope the people hearing it would take time to reflect on their own lives. I strive to evoke emotion with my music, providing a soundtrack to that moment. Taking these things into consideration I’ve mentioned my music as being ‘Reflective Instrumental’.”
So let’s reflect on the beautiful instrumental sounds found in Beyond the Clearing. The album opens with gentle grace on a track called “Aside the River Bend.” Robert’s peaceful flowing guitar, accompanied by violin creates the mood and sets the stage for the overall ambiance of the album. On the next track, “Gathering Over the Surface,” Robert is joined by one of my favorite pianists, Heidi Breyer, whose own music, I’ve always enjoyed listening to and writing about. Here, her contribution is both supportive and understated, allowing Robert’s guitar to be the primary voice. I particularly liked his chord progression on this piece and the dreamy atmosphere it creates.
Another of my favorite artists, Jeff Oster, is heard on track 3, “Lingering Rustle,” adding his trademark ambient horn playing. Jeff is a frequent collaborator with Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman and is a chart-topping artist in his own right, having worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry and garnered numerous accolades internationally. Here, his spacious and sweet horn lines drift peacefully over Robert’s pastoral melody. A more wistful air characterizes “Shadowing the Hillside” as Robert’s classically influenced guitar is accentuated by the soulful strains of cello.
While all of the songs on he album are exquisite, one that especially appealed to me as a guitarist was “A Distant Storm.” This track featured Robert in a duet with fellow acoustic guitarist Adam Miller, whose graceful lead lines intertwined so beautifully with Robert’s melody on this impressionistic composition. The piece also exhibited a perfect blend of sound and space. This balance is also maintained on the next song, the title track, which starts out as solo guitar for about the first third before being joined by the heartfelt violin playing of Sara Milonovich.
4-5-sunset-crescent-moonLong time Will Ackerman collaborator and studio musician Jill Haley adds her haunting English horn parts to the expansive “Stretching Across the Horizon.” A similar feel is evoked on “Amid the Stillness,” although this time in duet with cello played by Stephen Katz. However, the track I was most looking forward to was the final one. Entitled “Beneath the Cloudless Sky,” the piece features Robert’s duet with ambient guitarist Jeff Pearce, whose own highly regarded music I’ve had the pleasure of writing about. On this track, Jeff plays the electric guitar with an Ebow, which is a handheld electronic device that when held over the strings, makes them sustain as long as you want them to. While somewhat similar to the sound of a violin, with the addition of effects like reverb and digital delay, the effect is quite ethereal and made for an interesting contrast with the earthy sound of Roberts acoustic guitar.
Among the standout aspects of this album, as I’ve been mentioning, are Robert’s musical interactions with the various accompanists. I liked the way he chose just one musician to play with for each song. Each duet has its own unique characteristics, while maintaining the general tone and consistency of the album. I appreciate the subtlety and understatement in Robert’s songs, which are like pastel portraits in sound.
Music and Media Focus
January 14, 2016
I have much to thank Robert Linton for; his graceful release, Throughout the Autumn Light made my life easier to deal with in the latter half of 2013 and I always have very fond memories of that album. Now here we are two years later and once more I am sitting here bathed in late winter sun, listening to Robert and Beyond the Clearing.
As a guitarist I find it inspirational to hear a musician of such skill perform wonderfully emotive music. Take the opening track for instance, it’s called Aside the River Bend, it has vision, calmness and tenderness and one can easily imagine Linton performing out in nature as a slow and deep moving river drifts by.
Robert Linton is an artist of great accomplishment and can create such sensitive soundscapes by a simple heart felt desire to do so, listen to the peaceful vibes of Gathering Over the Surface, the additional piano is so respectfully played it adds to the dimensional quality of the track.
On Lingering Rustle a single leaf would be able to dance across the hedgerows to this delightfully sweet and delicate number. This arrangement, no doubt because of the additional horn used on it, gave me a feeling of a January sunset and as I watch the beautiful yellow orb outside my studio window creep below the horizon, I feel I am listening to the soundtrack of my moment, this is sheer bliss.
As a guitarist Linton is so careful and gentle and this can really be felt on the composition called Shadowing the Hillside. How redolent of now for me, as musical shadows pass through my mind and afternoon ones gather with a relish of nightfall outside, the attention to detail on this piece with the added inclusion of strings is amazing and has to be my favourite technically proficient track off the album, which even contains a hint of classical too, brilliantly arranged indeed.
There is nothing more exciting in nature than the impending atmosphere created by A Distant Storm and here on that very piece, Robert Linton manifests a sense of a strong and sullen storm brewing on the far off horizon, his stylish performance on this piece drives a very artistic narrative and we can almost see in music, a flash of lightning crackle over the hills, a gentle track, with an undercurrent of suspense, in a very stylishly creative performance.
We now move into the realm of the title track as Beyond the Clearing is upon us, the theme is piloted well by Linton and his gentle hand carries us along as he weaves an intricate path of quite sublime music. This seems to drift us back to and fro musically, in the same way a gentle summer tide would do on a deep blue ocean of acoustic sound. With the inclusion of the strings, this almost felt like a symphony all of its own and I found this one deeply moving.
The sun has now disappeared from my view and evening stretches its long arms around us and the deeper notes and chords of Linton’s guitar create a beautiful composition called Stretching Across the Horizon. This is an idyllic piece, Linton’s skills are so good, that they create a vista of loveliness right before our very eyes and one could easily be standing on some distant coastline watching the sun turn orange and drop into a sea filled horizon, this is simply stunning.
The penultimate track off the album is called Amid the Stillness, I wanted to be still to listen to this one, the fingers run over the fret with the skill of a master craftsman, the slow build and flow of this arrangement creates a stillness not only in music, but in our very souls as well.
Our last offering before we leave is called Beneath the Cloudless Sky, you will honestly not fail to be impressed by the mood on this piece, it has an Ariel essence to it, but remains rooted in nature. Robert Linton has created a vast soundscape here, but has made it so peaceful and safe to view from the sanctuary of his guitar.
Well two years may have passed, but Beyond the Clearing was well worth the wait to hear another Robert Linton album. I cannot recommend this album highly enough, listening to this with my guitarist hat on I feel inspired, as a music writer I feel fulfilled and very pleased, as a listener I feel incredibly peaceful and calm, so how many more reasons can I give you to suggest, you need to include this album in your collection?
One World Music
Beyond The Clearing provides a most peaceful and relaxing listening experience. The sound of Robert’s 15216_Cordoba_GK_Studio_1fingerstyle nylon string guitar exudes a softness and warmth that is different from the brighter tone of a steel string guitar. His compositions are visually and emotionally evocative, exhibiting enough diversity to keep it interesting, while maintaining the overall ambiance of the album. Robert’s deep affinity for musical expression comes through in his composing and playing, as well as in his words: “I love expressing myself through music and have a strong passion for playing yet one of the most fulfilling aspects of being a musician is hearing that my music has played a role in someone’s life. It means a lot to me that something I’ve created has had a profound effect on the listener.”
Beyond the Clearing is the fifth album from acoustic guitarist Robert Linton, following his critically-acclaimed 2011 release, Throughout the Autumn Light. Much like the earlier album, Beyond the Clearing is a collection of nine original pieces composed as duets for guitar and other instruments (piano, violin, flugelhorn, cello, English horn, a second guitar, and EBow guitar). The album features an impressive group of artists that includes Heidi Breyer, Jeff Oster, Jeff Pearce, and Jill Haley and was mixed and mastered by Corin Nelsen, one of the best in the biz. Linton’s finger-style nylon-string guitar playing is lyrical, melodic, and very relaxing. The quiet tone of the entire album makes it perfect for soothing background music, but give your ears a treat and listen it with full attention to savor the subtle nuances and gentle beauty of each piece. It is interesting to note that in 2012, Throughout the Autumn Light and Whisperings at Nightfall were added to the music library of The C.A.R.E. Channel, a program of Healing Healthcare Systems that is played in more than 700 leading hospitals around the country.
Beyond the Clearing begins with “Aside the River Bend,” a duet for guitar and violin (Sara Milonovich). Its peaceful, visual quality evokes images of a lazy river meandering through a quiet forest or rural setting - a lovely start! “Gathering Over the Surface” features one of my favorite pianists, Heidi Breyer, who adds tonal color and grace without calling much attention to herself - a gorgeous piece! “Lingering Rustle” is a duet with Jeff Oster on flugelhorn. Although the combination of instruments seems a little odd, the piece is warm and dreamy and works seamlessly. “Shadowing the Hillside,” a duet for guitar and cello (Kitty Thompson), is a favorite. Poignant and wistful, it suggests images in soft shades of gray. English horn virtuoso Jill Haley joins Linton on “Stretching Across the Horizon,” a piece that eloquently defines blissful tranquility without using a single word - a soothing mind massage and another favorite. “Beneath the Cloudless Sky” features another one of my favorite musicians, Jeff Pearce, playing EBow guitar. (The EBow is a hand-held electronic bow that replaces the pick, allowing the guitarist to mimic strings, horns, and woodwinds - Pearce is a master.) Ethereal and ambient, it’s a beautiful way to close this impressive album.
If you are looking for a great musical escape from the stresses of everyday life, Beyond the Clearing is an excellent choice! It is available from www.RobertLinton.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
Throughout the Autumn Light Reviewed
Review by Bill Binkelman
June 3, 2011
When an artist releases an album as good as Robert Linton's previous recording, Whisperings at Nightfall, I wonder what will happen with the next CD. Will it equal its predecessor or disappoint? Will it underscore the promise of the earlier artistry or betray it? I was only a few minutes into my first playing of Throughout the Autumn Light when I realized that Linton had not only trumped the success of Whisperings at Nightfall but had recorded and released an album that is going to land on any self-respecting critic's "Best of 2011" list come January of 2012. I know it will be on mine.
Retaining the services of ace engineer Corin Nelsen, who worked on Whisperings.., but taking over the reins of production (along with Nelsen) from the highly esteemed Will Ackerman (who helmed Whisperings..), Linton proves that he is as accomplished at riding herd over an album as well as writing and performing on it. Bringing along some of the same stellar accompanists who sometimes grace Imaginary Road Studios recorded efforts, such as Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Jill Haley on English horn, and Tracy Silverman on violin, and adding one of my favorites, Jeff Pearce on E-bow guitar, Linton fleshes out the ten tracks on the CD with a deft touch, applying just the right amount of "extras" to further enrich his exquisite acoustic guitar playing.
Throughout the Autumn Light is ideal "autumnal" music, overflowing with a gentle somberness, tinged with warmth and friendliness but also carrying a mood of reflection and, sometimes, melancholy. Linton plays with a nuance and delicacy that is both intimate and inviting, as if he was playing for you, the listener, alone in a room. His guitar is expertly recorded - every note and chord is crystal clear, as are the contributions from the accompanists. The music seams to wend its way into your soul, carrying you to a place of restfulness but also of remembrance and, at times, subtle regret. Each track reinforces the overall soft plaintive mood of the CD with nary a disruption in tempo or style. However, with the presence of the guest artists, monotony doesn't creep into the songs at all - a cohesive artistic vision is self-evident to the attentive listener.
The title track opens the CD with Linton's evocative guitar matched by Stephen Katz's cello - one can almost imagine the music being a soundtrack for a walk through the woods in the golden light of an autumn afternoon. Drifting Reflections conveys a more somber mood with Haley's English horn counterpointing Linton's guitar perfectly. Pearce appears on the haunting Glistening after the Mist, coloring Linton's acoustic guitar notes with subtle shadings from his textural E-bow. Moments of Reverie is brushed lightly by a neo-classical influence and a hint of Spanish flavor - but just a whisper, really. Oster joins Linton on the closing Evening Sunset and it's a sublime, soothing conclusion to one of the most relaxing and beautiful albums I've heard in the last year.
It would seem that Robert Linton learned (or absorbed) a lot from working with Will Ackerman on his previous CD, as Throughout the Autumn Light matches any of Ackerman's releases that I have heard. Bold words to be sure, but that is how good this CD is as far as I'm concerned. If you are a fan of soft, introspective acoustic guitar instrumentals, this should positively be your next purchase, bar none. Likewise, if you favor music that speaks to the quieter emotions and the subtler moods, Throughout the Autumn Light will likely hold you spellbound by its relative simplicity (which belies its rich emotional texture and sincere evocations) and its sepia-toned soundscapes which are imagistic of all that makes the autumn season a favorite of so many people. I recommend the CD with no reservations whatsoever for all fans of acoustic instrumental music.
Review by R J Lannan
July 15th, 2011
Falling For the Music
It is almost summer as I write these words, but after hearing Robert Linton's new album Throughout the Autumn Light I am awaiting fall with baited breath. His album offers ten intricate acoustic guitar pieces dappled with muted sounds of English horn, cello, violin, ebow guitar and flugelhorn. These contemporary tunes are guaranteed to add color to your spirit after only one listen. I have to admit I played this one longer than I needed to, but not nearly as much as I wanted to. The music is that good.
I started reading Robert Linton's biography and when I came across the part that said he played piano, I scratched my head. I was listening to some extraordinary guitar tunes and not a piano note among them, but everyone has to start somewhere. He came from a family of musicians who played jazz and rock, and in 1993 settled down with a six string to make his magic. And magic it was. His latest CD, under the brilliant auspices of music legend and producer Will Ackerman, suspended time so that I could savor the fading warmth, the waning light and multi-colored season that we call fall, but what the poets referred to as autumn.
Throughout the Autumn Light takes in the mottled sunlight just before the fall...of the leaves that is. Autumn is an odd season, sometimes providing warmth in the late afternoon or a cool wind in the mornings. Like some enormous chameleon, Mother Nature changes her cloak and before you know it, her sister, winter is here. All she asks is that you enjoy the time in between. Linton captures that diminishing warmth with the help of Stephen Katz' friendly cello.
The cover of the album shows Robert standing with his guitar case under the shade of a tree, one of many in a row. Alongside the Silhouettes seems to be the perfect song for that image. The song is one of cooling shade and the promise of protection from the ravages of late summer's lingering heat and the coming winds, and yet you are still among a feast of color. Dig in.
Seasons of Years Past is a lazy song. Not one of lesser effort, but of languid intentions. I often have those times when I sit on the front steps and count the yellow hickory leaves as they fall to the ground. The tall tree itself reminds me of one thing, the scaly bark another. And each tree has its own story to tell, does it not? The one thing I do know is that I count my life in seasons, not in months anymore. This music is perfect for reflection.
I live on a hill so I am friends with the wind. Winds Swaying in Trees reminded me of Joaquin Rodrigo for some strange reason. Whenever I hear the wind in the trees, it sounds like the earth taking a breath. Everything moves in sequence. The leaves flutter and wave, the branches sway and then return to their origins. Then it happens all over again. Breathing. Once you have captured Robert's tempo, your heart seems to beat along with the music.
Moments of Reverie is the stuff that dreams are made of. The guitar and the violin of Tracy Silverman provide a pastoral quietus. The music allows for daydreams of the passing seasons and accountability of the years they took to accumulate. The melody is so beautiful, I could imagine the leaves changing colors before my eyes. I am an autumn person. I look forward to it like gardeners look forward to spring. I long for the cool mornings, warm afternoons and even cooler nights.
As it should be, Evening Sunset is the final tune on the album. The echoing purity of Jeff Oster's flugelhorn compliments Robert's gentle interpretation of sunset. It starts out with a sky full of copper and gold. A meandering breeze, the last chirrup of the crickets and a platinum crescent in the darkening sky tell us that it is the end of the day. Soon the stars will blink on and the night will be full of dark and beckoning me to sleep.
Robert Linton's Throughout the Autumn Light is one of those rare albums that I will never tire of listening. I will keep it on the rack and on the IPod and play it whenever I need a bit of escape to a world of relaxation and dreams. Forget three hundred bucks an hour for therapy. Listen to this instead.
Review by Steve Sheppard
September 17th, 2013
Writing this review now is perfect for one good reason, autumn has just got started here in the UK and after listening to Throughout the Autumn Light by Robert Linton, it has left a feeling far better inside me, of a season that holds many fears for those of us who suffer from a lack of sunlight. In fact this album is a step into a world of embracing the beauty that will soon be all around us all, Linton has composed and performed on an album that blows away the leaves and were left feeling a lot better for this work of great magnificence.
Throughout the Autumn Light, which is of course the title track, is played with such a deft hand and reverence that Linton has created not only the perfect opening title song piece but performed with the skills of Stephen Kats on Cello and clear and definite masterpiece that resonates so deeply with the time of year and with my eager listening ears.
I was hoping when I saw this album it would hold much to entrance me and now here I am in the autumn light writing to you my constant reader about what I would class as an exceptional release and the opening title works so well we are now firmly in the mindset of one of the most beautiful autumns ever.
We move with respect to Drifting Reflections, as a guitarist myself I really respect the talent that Linton most defiantly has, but when I heard the addition of Jill Haley on horn, I was like the leaves of Autumn, blown away. Linton has created something really special here and one can with ease imagine this season of mists, we can feel the slight coldness in the air and smell the decay of life all around. This is also the longest composition on the album and it works so beautifully, in fact it works so well I have no played it twice whilst looking at the autumnal scene from my studio window.
Alongside the Silhouettes is a track I felt deep within, the notes and chord changes were perfect, I have now allowed this stunning album to take me over completely. I love the progression of this piece, it whispers of a dark sullen night, but offers a warm musical fireside to comfort oneself with. This is a composition that you can immerse yourself totally in and allow your gaze to wander out and roam in the failing autumn evening, you can become part of the process and enjoy the music that is our panacea.
As the natural light in my studio begins to fade, I watch the autumn rain fall and the gusts of wind blow the trees back and forth and listen to Seasons of Years Past through, and through my head phones I hear a track that is so redolent of the subject matter I find my thoughts drifting back to the past and one memory of a walk at my local country park comes to mind, I was so relieved to be back in my own country after some unsavoury events in another and the gentle walk eased my mind, if this track had been on my iPod, it may have worked even better!.
In Glistening after the Mist we are treated to more of Jeff Pearce’s sublime E bow and this combined with Linton’s magical finger work on this almost ambient piece, has me transfixed upon its natural beauty, the e bow in this piece really sold the track by creating a mist laden soundscape for Linton to excel on guitar. Please take your time on this one; there are some very wonderful chord arrangements on this track.
Shades of a Spanish style guitar came upon me now; this switch of style was a wonderful choice and the guitar of Linton was now on fire in the smoothest of ways on the composition Shifting to the Fall. This has to be said one of my favourites off the album. The care and attention within this composition is stunning. Linton even has me believing that at some stage he may break into Stairway to Heaven. This I would urge you to all listen to many times over, if you wish to hear good music and excellent guitar playing, then this track you can use as a benchmark.
Night is drawing in here at the office of One World Music and outside the rain streams down, like tears from a jester’s eye’s, the wicked wind whispers and moans and tugs and pulls the branches around with such ease, as this sombre repose in nature fills us with a picturesque vision of Winds Swaying with Tree. With Kats once again joining the team, Linton weaves his seasonal magician’s wand and creates something deeply moving for us all to enjoy.
I note now as the hands of time move past seven o’clock, that a strange orange tinged skyline begins to crawl over this damp and dank horizon, its effect is to give a slightly false visual effect of light. In reality the sun setting is responsible for this, perhaps this is one of the elements that Linton is referring to upon this wonderful piece entitled Moments Of Reverie?
At 3:49, one of the shortest tracks from this sublime album, but its length has nothing to do with its powerful message, that beauty can be found in virtually everything and especially in nature if one looks hard enough we may each have our own moment of reverie, a superbly performed composition that really calms the soul.
Sweet Dreams, this comes at a perfect time as my attention is drawn by how the Autumn glow of the evening shades perfectly over my beautiful wife’s face and gives her a colour which enhances her looks even more. After that brief but rather pleasant reverie, I continue to listen to a master of the art of emotional guitar and now that night is almost upon us, I feel real warmth in this composition. If you wish your spirits to be lifted then this track will do the business, Sweet Dreams is a gentle and tenderly played composition that at times almost has an old English feel to it, but it is a warm cuddling under the blankets tune.
Now dear constant reader, it has been wonderful to have you on this journey throughout the autumn light with me, but that is now what we have at last lost, the light has gone from my autumn day and we have very timely come to the end of this really heartfelt release by Robert Linton, so we finish with an appropriate track called Evening Sunset, from my view we have just that and as the night comes down, this last striking track takes the album to a whole new level with the inclusion of mister Jeff Oster on the horn.
I must say that whoever made the decision to include Oster on this album needs to take a bow, I have a real soft spot for this instrument anyway and have heard it used to wonderful effect on a seasonal album before, but here Oster and Linton create the perfect end to a perfect album.
Robert Linton has taken the New Age genre and given it an album it will be grateful for. I truly feel that Throughout the Autumn Light is one of those rare landmark albums that will one day used to define all that is good in the genre and if you like this style of music, you would really not want to miss out on this one and if you have either a love or hate relationship with this season, then this album will be the panacea which will cure all ills. A superb release for all the right reasons, well done Robert Linton this is truly a classic.
Review by Michael Diamond
March 10, 2011
Falling softly like leaves from a tree, the first gentle notes glide effortlessly from Robert Linton's guitar creating an ambience that is perfectly described in the title of his latest CD. This atmosphere continues throughout the album and is captured in song names like "Glistening after the Mist", "Shifting to the Fall", "Seasons of Years Past", and "Evening Sunset".
Robert's instrument of choice is the nylon string acoustic guitar, which he tends to pluck fingerstyle, rather than strum, providing a harp-like sonority, which I found quite heavenly and relaxing. In fact, if you are looking for the perfect soundtrack for a mellow Sunday morning, you couldn't do much better than this.
Complimenting the guitar with Zen-like brush strokes of sound are some wonderfully talented instrumentalists with impressive recording credentials in their own right. Among them are Jill Haley (English Horn), Stephen Katz (Cello), Tracy Silverman (Violin), Jeff Oster (Flugelhorn), and Jeff Pearce (E-Bow Guitar). This last instrument, which may not be as familiar, involves playing the guitar with a hand-held device that creates an electro-magnetic field around the string which gives it infinite sustain and provides a violin-like quality. I found the yin yang combination of this along with the acoustic guitar particularly pleasing. Although Robert is accompanied by some top-notch recording artists, their sonic colors are applied sparingly, allowing the guitar to be the primary pigment in the musical palate.
Another noteworthy name on this project is Grammy Award winning producer and engineer Corin Nelson, a close associate and frequent collaborator with Windham Hill Records founder and guitarist Will Ackerman. Interestingly, despite his relatively remote Maine location, Corin seems to be one of the most in-demand producers in this genre of music and whose name has been appearing on a significant number of new releases I have been receiving for review recently. Not surprisingly, "Throughout the Autumn Light" has that pastel, acoustic quality that so many have found appealing about Windham Hill releases over the years.
Listeners lulled by Robert's mellow musings on this CD, might be surprised to know that his early six string explorations were as much influenced by the electric energy of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix as by the folk leanings of Cat Stevens and Simon & Garfunkel. However, none of that swirling psychedelia is evident here. Robert has truly found his niche and there is a comforting continuity from one song to the next on the recording.
This album definitely captures the feeling of Autumn in that it's melodies are more introspective and reflective, like a world preparing for the calm of Winter, rather than portraying the bright buzzing energy of Spring or Summer. In this music, one can almost hear the sound of fallen leaves crunching underfoot while strolling along a forest path on an October morn. Robert Linton has the artistic acuity to convey a particular mood in a way that envelops the listener and draws them into his space for the duration of the recording. His guitar playing is sensitive, deft, and evocative, providing a gentle journey you'll want to embark upon often.
Review by Michael Debbage
Included in Michael's 2011 Favorites
June 6th, 2011
As a reviewer a lot of music can pass through your mailbox and onto your desk. Unfortunately, there is not enough time in the day to review everything and at times good music gets passed over not because it is poor but because in this world of immediate gratification you move on to the next piece of ear candy. Guitarist Robert Linton was almost one of those victims because on first blush there is nothing instantaneous about Robert Linton’s music. However, upon careful investigation Throughout The Autumn Light has that delicate and pastoral musical theme that will place you in a very reflective mood that will gently renew your spirit.
Apparently Linton has been flying under the radar for quite a while as Throughout The Autumn Light represents his fourth recording (sort of). After recording a demo back in 2001, three years later Linton recorded his debut Pale Shades and one year after that he released Within The Outline. Around this time Linton met guitarist/producer extraordinaire Will Ackerman who essentially took many of his earlier creations and revamped and revitalized Robert’s material courtesy of Whisperings At Nightfall.
While his latest conception features many of Will Ackerman’s A Team it does not feature Ackerman himself, either as a performer or a producer. Instead Linton co produces with Ackerman’s more than capable sideman Corin Nelsen who is fast becoming an exceptional producer in his own right. The production is concise and unassuming which matches perfectly with Linton’s very inconspicuous musical style.
The album is composed of ten tracks, three which feature Linton going it alone. The first is “Alongside The Silhouettes” which has a very gentle and slow sway to it as Linton caresses his unpretentious melody. Similar results can be found on the soft lullaby of “Sweet Dreams”. As for the collaborations the cello work of Stephen Katz on the title track and “Winds Swaying The Trees” are magical. Equally as impressive is “Glistening After The Mist” featuring Jeff Pearce’s mystifying Ebow effects.
For those of you that enjoyed the unassuming music of guitarist William Ellwood from the heady days of Narada Records, it would prove very beneficial for you to seek out the music of Robert Linton. While there is no pinnacle masterpiece there is also no filler to be found. Unassuming and understated, the music of Throughout The Autumn Light will quietly and slowly envelop your inner soul leaving you refreshed, renewed and ready to face another day.
Review by Kathy Parsons
March 28, 2011 Throughout the Autumn Light is the fourth release from acoustic guitarist/composer Robert Linton. Mixed, mastered, and co-produced (with Linton) by Grammy winning producer Corin Nelsen, some of the ten tracks are solo guitar while some are backed by an impressive group of musicians (as duets), most of whom play on many of Will Ackerman's productions (Ackerman produced Linton's previous release Whisperings At Nightfall). The overall sound of the album is warm yet pristine and clear. Most of the pieces are paced at about the same tempo, which makes the album ideal for meditation, massage, or quiet background music. While the music is slow and relatively uncomplicated, the soulful melancholy is stirring and poignant.
Throughout the Autumn Light begins with the title track, a sweet and gentle guitar solo that evolves into a guitar/cello duet with Stephen Katz. Tinged with melancholy reflection, it gracefully anticipates the coming changes of season. "Drifting Reflections" is a gorgeous duet for guitar and English horn (Jill Haley). Flowing and effortless with occasional pauses (like true reflection!), this is a favorite. The nostalgic and dreamy "Seasons of Years Past" brings in Tracy Silverman on violin, adding soft color washes to the gentle guitar. "Glistening After The Mist" is a collaboration with Jeff Pearce on EBow guitar (The EBow is a hand-held electronic bow that replaces the pick, allowing the guitarist to mimic strings, horns, and woodwinds.). As always, Pearce is evocative and masterful. The guitar solo "Shifting to the Fall" has an almost tragic air that is achingly beautiful - another favorite! I also love "Winds Swaying the Trees" with Stephen Katz. The cello/guitar combo isn't very common, but this album makes me think it should be. The velvet tones of the cello are the perfect complement to the plucked guitar strings. "Sweet Dreams" is a tender solo guitar lullaby. The closing track is "Evening Sunset" with Jeff Oster on flugelhorn - another instrumental combo you don't hear very often but that works well. Soothing and relaxing, it's a lovely finish to an exceptional album.
Throughout the Autumn Light is a beauty from start to finish!
It is available from www.robertlinton.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
Review by John M Peters
March 24, 2011
Using the term 'pastoral' for describing music seems to have become passé or passed its sell-by date, yet it is the one term that most encapsulates composer/guitarist Robert Linton's new album most succinctly. Throughout The Autumn Light is a collection of ten instrumentals, mainly solo guitar with just one other instrument in support on most tracks. Quasi-classical in style, with perhaps a little 'folk-lite' flavouring, this is an extremely gentle and restful album. Mr Linton has a lyrical way of playing the guitar, where the music just seems to flow out from those fingers. The track details are: Throughout The Autumn Light, Drifting Reflections, Alongside The Silhouettes, Seasons Of Years Past, Glistening After The Mist, Shifting To The Fall, Winds Swaying The Trees, Moments Of Reverie, Sweet Dreams, and Evening Sunset. Many of the titles contain strong and poetical imagery, which adds to the impact of the music. Guest musicians include: Jill Haley - English horn, Jeff Oster - flugelhorn, Jeff Pearce - E-bow guitar, Stephen Katz - cello, Tracy Silverman - violin. Throughout The Autumn Light is a wonderful album, full of quietly drifting melodies, slowly shifting moods and lyrical performances. Anyone seriously interested in the acoustic guitar and acoustic music in general should buy this album as I think it sets a new benchmark in quality.
Review by Raj Manoharan
March 27, 2011
Robert Linton is a man of deep thoughtfulness, and this sensitivity is evident on his latest recording of lyrical guitar instrumentals. Linton plays finger-style nylon-string guitar on the ten tracks, which exude such tranquil beauty and peaceful solace that they work their way into your soul without you even realizing it. They become part of your being without any conscious effort or mood-setting required, which is the essence of true musical artistry.
While the compositions and the guitar-playing stand on their own, they are beautifully accented on various tracks by Stephen Katz on cello, Tracy Silverman on violin, Jill Haley on English horn, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, and Jeff Pearce on e-bow guitar. The most affecting of these collaborations for me is "Glistening in the Mist", with the gentle finger-picked strokes of Linton's classical guitar and the drawn-out siren-like sustain of Pearce's e-bow guitar creating a lingering, haunting eloquence. I hope that Linton and Pearce seriously consider recording an album of classical/e-bow guitar duets.
This is a fine guitar album and is highly recommended for guitar enthusiasts as well as anyone seeking a perfect soundtrack for relaxation and solitude.
Review by Rotcod Zzaj
June 17, 2011
Robert and his players (Jeff Pearce on EBow/Guitar, Jeff Oster on Flugelhorn, Stephen Katz on Cello, Tracy Silverman on violin & Jill Haley doing English horn) will give your day a pleasant wake-up call, to be sure. Robert's own guitar work is solid, yet not rushed on all 10 tracks on the CD. I particularly enjoyed "Glistening After The Mist", featuring Jeff could almost hear the dewdrops forming through the guitar strings. A shorter piece, "Moments of Reverie" featured Tracy"s penetrating violin very pleasant & a playlist "keeper"! Even the most hardcore jazzer needs a set like this to keep musical perspective in balance, & "Throughout The Autumn Light" fills the bill without question. I give this one a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an "EQ" (energy quotient) rating of 4.96' well done, folks!
Review by Erin Legg
September 10, 2011
The tranquil songs featured on new age music artist Robert Linton's latest album, Throughout the Autumn Light (October Moon Records) have the ability to dissipate whatever stress has been met in listeners' days.
Linton is a talented musician who skills have been demonstrated on three previous albums. His soulful healing music has been used by both mainstream and alternative healers for holistic sound therapy techniques. For any listener with a desire to escape into the dreamy waves of peace brought about by states of relaxation, Throughout the Autumn Light is the new age guitar album to do so.
Well suited for a meditation session, a spa treatment, or just to provide light ambient background music, Linton's Throughout the Autumn Light (produced by the esteemed Corin Nelson) is a beautiful and calming soundtrack for all music lovers. Linton's mellow guitar playing skills soothe even the weariest of souls, like with the title track "Throughout the Autumn Light," a calming and serene song. "Seasons of Years Past" is a melody designed to accompany listeners' moments of reflection, perhaps while looking out the window onto the world or sitting back in a favorite chair with a cup of tea. "Sweet Dreams" is aptly titled, and listeners will surely be embraced by it's soft and entrancing melody. Listeners will be enchanted by "Glistening After the Mist", a beautiful, meditative song featuring the soothing sounds of the violin. "Drifting Reflections" is the perfect meditative song, as it slows listeners' thoughts with it's calming melody.
Linton's family had a big influence on his early attraction to music: his grandfather was an esteemed pianist and his father played sax in a local band. Both Linton and his sister played piano as young children, before beginning guitar lessons. Although his albums are serene and instrumental, Linton was highly influenced by classic rock artists, including Led Zepplin, and popular folk musicians, such as Simon & Garfunkel and Cat Stevens. As a teenager, Linton began writing songs, a creative process that continued throughout his college years and beyond. After graduating from Utah State University with a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Linton began recording his music. Linton released his first album, Pale Shades in 2004, and followed with Within the Outline in 2005. His third album, Whisperings at Nightfall, was produced by award winner Will Ackerman. Throughout the Autumn Light has earned a warm welcome from listeners who appreciate Lintons powerful musical skills and soothing songwriting. To complement your next yoga session or Sunday afternoon tea, this classical acoustic album is the perfect music CD..
Review by Erica Durrett
4/5 Star rating
March 8, 2011
If you close your eyes while listening to Robert Linton's Throughout the Autumn Light, you might imagine yourself in a spa-like setting, or even in a Yoga studio meditating in the Child's Pose. Linton grew up surrounded by music of both his father and grandfather's influence, as well as that of various mainstream artists like Cat Stevens, Led Zeppelin, and Simon and Garfunkel. Starting out as a piano student, he later picked up the guitar where he had a knack for learning their signature songs by ear long before receiving formal lessons. Here you will find the combination of his classical acoustic guitar paired with that of the cello, violin, and English horn just to name a few, extremely soothing to both the ears and the mind. If you're waiting for something drastic to happen, you'll be waiting a rather long time. I found in this case, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes we all need to slow down and reflect on the important things in life, and with tracks such as "Drifting Reflections", I was able to do just that. If you're looking to curl up with a cozy throw and a hot cup of cocoa, watching the "Winds Swaying The Trees", then you've picked the perfect album. Although classical acoustic is a long way from Stevens or Hendrix, I'd say Robert Linton has found his niche with this, his preferred style. If I had to sum it up in two words it would be simplistic beauty; staying true to the ambiance created even by the track titles.
Whisperings at Nightfall Reviewed
Review by Lloyd Barde
"Here is yet another fine release produced by Will Ackerman. Even with some of the same outstanding guests, Robert Linton carves out a distinctive sound and his guitar playing fits well practically anywhere. The beginning, middle and ending tracks are each solo pieces, each with its own pensive, fluttering style, but for me it's the tracks that are embellished by some of the best artists in contemporary music that carry the album to stand on its own. For example, Eugene Friesen plays cello on two tracks, and they benefit greatly from his sensitive touch. Tracy Silverman is also heard twice, with stunning violin work, and Noah Wilding, who is also heard on Ackerman's "Hearing Voices", adds his voice to two tracks as well. Keeping the Noah's ark theme alive, bassist Michael Manring is also hear on two selections. Fortunately, Will, who serves as co-producer with Corin Nelsen, appears only on one track; otherwise we would predict 40 days of you know what along with the pure joy of fine guitar playing in the company of others. We will definitely be hearing more from Robert Linton, and those who acquire this CD will be hearing plenty of "Whisperings at Nightfall" through repeated listenings."
Review by Bill Binkelman
Rating: Very Good +
May 20, 2008
"The moody and atmospheric black and white photography featured throughout the CD booklet should've tipped me off, but even by the usual Will Ackerman-as-producer standards, acoustic guitarist Robert Linton's recording is more subdued, introspective and (pleasantly) somber. Of course, Ackerman doesn't produce "bouncy" music even at his cheeriest. Still, Whisperings at Nightfall earns its title with only one track breaking out of the mood which I refer to as "late autumn music." None of these comments are meant as a criticism; in fact, I love nearly this entire album. I'm just defining the CD's music to distinguish it from Ackerman's ever-growing cannon as producer Note: Ackerman shares producing credits on this album with Corin Nelsen, who engineered and mastered the disc.
The usual cast of guest artists is scattered throughout the recording, although Linton offers up three solo guitar songs, too. Eugene Friesen's haunting cello work on Autumn Moon adds the perfect shading to Linton's quietly pensive fingerstyle playing, although why use Friesen so sparingly? More..please! The title track unites Linton's gentle lonely guitar with Noah Wilding's wordless vocals (Wilding's vocals are always so well integrated with the music on Ackerman's productions). The one relatively "boisterous" track is next. Within the Outline starts off quietly but builds by adding O'Hearn-esque echoed percussion (Derrik Jordan) and spirited (yet less joyful than the tempo might dictates) violin (Tracy Silverman). While I use the term "boisterous" to describe this track, in all honesty, the "oomph" only stands out in contrast to the overall somberness of everything else here. It's only boisterous by comparison, not objectively so.
You'd expect songs with titles like Silent Hollow (guitar, violin and Michael Manring's bass), Flowing Echo (guitar and bass) or Field of Lilies (T-Bone Wolk on bass, Jill Haley on English horn, Ackerman on guitar, and Wilding' vocals) to be subdued pieces, but "Field.." is less melancholic than most of the others here (and again, that statement is not judgmental, since I love sad music; it's only meant to describe the mood).
The three solo guitar numbers are the equal of those with accompanists. The opening Candlelight is delicate yet with a slight sprightliness and I detect a hint of classical guitar influence as well. Wait Until When has the feel of a sad ballad; in fact, (and I don't recall ever writing this before about any piece of instrumental music), I could see the right lyrics and singer turning this into a tremendous folk song. Closing the album is the ultra-moody (perfect!) Moonlit Rainfall, a song exemplifying the approach Linton (who wrote all ten tracks) and producer Ackerman took on the album, which I would describe as beautifully sad. In some ways, this CD is emotionally similar to the music of Tim Story (circa Beguiled) and (in his earlier days) Mychael Danna (see his album with Paul Clement, North of Niagara), except they are pianists/keyboardists, not guitarists. Note to the artist: When I start comparing you to Story or Danna, to quote the worn-out phrase, it doesn't get any better than that. On second thought, though, maybe who I should compare Linton to is his own producer, hmmm? While most of Will Ackerman's recordings are solo works, Whisperings at Nightfall resonates on the same emotional level with me as did Ackerman's recent career retrospective, Returning. Both are damn near flawless recordings (while I can't fault the more energetic Within the Outline on its own merits, I don't necessarily agree with including it on this release). Despite the tiny nit I'm picking, this is a great recording. Recommended without reservation to all acoustic guitar instrumental lovers provided they like music on the soft, gentle and, particularly, sad side."
Reviewed by Serge Kozlovsky
When twilight falls
And you're alone
Just be yourself
Stay naked with your soul
Be real as you are
It's nothing to contrive
It's nothing to pretend
Your love is your true self...
Robert Linton's guitar is entirely meditative. It speaks to your soul directly without any intermediary. And, Robert Linton's music is very expressive. It conveys the smallest details of the artist's feelings and longings. The cello's sound helps the listener to deeper sense the composer's various emotions.
Robert Linton is a great storyteller. The artist isn't afraid to show his innermost emotions and yearnings. Listen to his "Whispering at Nightfall" album attentively and be alone with your desires and most important aspirations. And feel how wonderful and pleasant it is to be with your true self...