ALBUM PROFILE: Speak Peace (2022)
In January of this year, I began work on Speak Peace, my 8th studio album. Little did I know that a terrible war in Ukraine would soon begin. In the face of war, the Covid pandemic and other major issues in our world, I recorded Speak Peace in hopes that these songs of beauty and peace might help renew and replenish our spirits.
The beautiful field of poppies on the album cover references Poppy (Remembrance) Day in the U.K. and Memorial Day in the U.S., when poppies are worn to memorialize the nations’ war dead and symbolize the hope for peace.
1. Speak Peace. The title track sets the mood for the album with majestic strings and angelic voices speaking peace to the listener. Just as we all yearn to experience peace, we help create peace (or not) with the words we say, the memes we use, the music we make. “Blessed are the peacemakers…”
2. Harvest Moon. Neil Young’s beautiful tribute to lasting love has been a favorite of mine ever since its 1992 release. I framed the simple melody and chords with light synthesizer rhythm, flute and angelic voices. It’s a perfect fit for Speak Peace and the first of two cover songs on the album.
3. Little Princess. There is a whimsical, almost music-box feel to this song that speaks to the innocence & joy in every little girl’s heart. The photo I chose for the single was a great inspiration for the song.
4. Dragonfly Dance. The imagery of dragonflies dancing in the air suggests beauty and wonder, along with a lightness that I tried to capture with a series of simple piano arpeggios framed by strings and voices.
5. Lass of Inverness. A nod to my Scottish heritage with a gentle waltz in ¾ time. Journey with me to the Scottish highlands in this romantic tune dedicated to the lovely lass from Inverness.
6. 1912 Waltz. The piano waltz I would have written in 1912 for my grandmother Matilda’s wedding, had I been around then - I think she would have loved it. The first of two piano solos on the album.
7. A Love That Lasts. My quiet piano celebration of the lifelong love I’ve known with my wife now for 46 years, a combination of beauty, wonder and gentleness. She speaks peace to my heart every day.
8. Prayer for Ukraine. The lead single from the album begins with a somber cello solo. I felt compelled to compose this tribute to the people of Ukraine as we pray for their deliverance from the horror of war. All proceeds from the single are being donated to World Vision’s Ukraine relief fund.
9. End of Day. As the day winds down and night approaches, the pace of nature slows with a quietness that speaks peace. The 2nd of two piano solos on the album.
10. We Wait Upon the King. The arrival of a king who rules with kindness and justice was always the hope of every nation in antiquity. The ethereal beauty of this song was inspired by the Biblical prophecy in Revelation that Christ will someday return to earth as King.
11. Auld Lang Syne. From the poignant lyrics of Robert Burns to the bittersweet Scottish melody (of which I include both versions), I close the album with this favorite tribute to friendships of days gone by.