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Coming Home

Winner of EPR Album of the Year

Voted in the Top 20 Favorites of 2014 by Kathy Parsons at MainlyPiano.com

The CD "Coming Home" is a joyous celebration of life, speaking of home, heart and fun. It starts out with the pastoral song "Gentle Dawn" who's theme was written while sipping coffee and watching the dawn slowly turn to morning. "Where the Heart Is" was an improvisation on a theme speaking of the love of home. A fun song, "Spinning" was inspired while practicing an exercise, even something boring can turn into something fun. "Shenandoah" is an arrangement of a beautiful traditional song that we are all familiar with. This CD marks a transition from intense emotional upheaval dealing with a failing family member, to acceptance and the peace found in resolution.

CD available direct from Greg,  $9.99 includes shipping in US only


Sheet music available here.

Also available on iTunes

Reviews

Review by Cathy Oakes, Enlightened Piano Radio

Greg Maroney’s twelfth album, “Coming Home” was released in the spring of 2014. It is, in Maroney’s words, “a joyous celebration of life, speaking of home, heart and fun.” It is also breathtakingly beautiful from beginning to end. The variety of Greg’s musical background and his technical abilities are evident in this work. His fingers fly over the keyboard producing gorgeous melodies and interesting harmonies that will pull at the listener’s heart-strings and lead them through a whole spectrum of emotional experiences from the warmth of “Where the Heart Is” to the restfulness of “Coming Home” to the palpable love of “Linda's Smile” to the child-like humor of “The Cat and the Cricket.”

The album begins with “Gentle Dawn.” This piece depicts the gentle dawning of the day, but builds to a musical picture of the glory of the sun as it makes its first appearance over the horizon. It is a perfect beginning to the album, gently awakening the senses and preparing the listener for the unfolding of a fresh, new walk through the human experience – guided by Maroney’s talent and artistry. I love the warmth of the rich chords in “Where the Heart Is.” The steady “beating heart” in the midtones keeps one moving through this piece to arrive at the end with a feeling of pure contentment.

“The Heart Is Enough” begins with a soulful, “blues” feel. In my mind, this piece reflects Greg’s personal lifestyle of living in harmony with nature with a heart full of love and compassion. “After the Storm” opens with a beautiful simplicity. However, it builds to a tumultuous climax before returning to a stronger statement of the original theme. It is the perfect musical picture of a summer thunderstorm rolling across the hills and valleys. One can hear the thunder rumbling in the rich bass notes of this piece and the wind and rain building and then subsiding until the storm finally blows itself out with a final show of power.

“Coming Home” is so warm and inviting. It is almost hymn-like with a beautiful melody that evokes contentment and happiness and the warmth of hearth and home. This is followed by “Returning,” which is folksy in flavor, expressing the joy of returning to that place we call “home.”

“Dreams” is one of my personal favorites on this CD. A beautiful, almost haunting melody floats above a truly “dream-like” left hand that dances across the keyboard, building to an ending that literally takes one’s breath away. Absolutely GORGEOUS! “Spinning” moves quickly with a left hand that continues a constant “spinning” motion. It is driving and so aptly portrays the motion of spinning that the listener is left nearly dizzy. The fast-paced “Spinning” is followed perfectly by the wistful “When It’s Gone.” This piece has a light “rock” feel with rich chord structure that expresses the emotion of longing. With “Honeysuckle,” we return to a simpler theme that literally reminds me of bees and butterflies flitting among the honeysuckle blooms, becoming heady with its sweetness. “A Different Sky” has a big beginning and intricate patterns in the melody. I LOVE the surprise chords at the end!

“Reflections” is exactly that – reflective with a pattern in the right hand including trills and parallel 6ths that returns over and over. It allows the mind to wander, but returns the listener to the original theme bringing one’s thoughts back to center. “Linda’s Smile” is a love song written about Maroney’s wife. You can feel the love and happiness being expressed in this piece. It hints at moments of contentment, joy and inspiration all perhaps found in the sight of that smile.

“The Cat and the Cricket” literally made me chuckle! I can hear the curiosity in the cat and the jumping of the cricket, captivating the attention of the feline. This brings to mind a picture that one might find on the cover of a Beverly Cleary children’s book. Such a fun piece! And, oh, the end of this album is so incredibly beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes! Greg’s incredibly beautiful arrangement of “Shenandoah” is the perfect ending to this perfect CD! I can almost feel the movement of the beautiful Shenandoah River through the mountains and valleys in this amazing rendition.

Like a good book that you just can’t put down, yet mourn to have it end, this CD left me wanting to hear more! I give this album 5++ out of 5 stars and very highly recommend it! Beautiful from start to finish, it expresses a journey, so emotional, so beautiful, so human. So, curl up in your favorite chair, light a cozy fire and prepare to be taken on a journey that will carry you through a panorama of human emotions. Relax and enjoy the trip. You’re “Coming Home!”


Review by Michael Diamond

There is something about the elegant simplicity and spaciousness in much of pianist Greg Maroney’s music that is perhaps a reflection of the earthy rural lifestyle he leads in south central Pennsylvania where he and his wife tend their gardens to raise much of their own food, build their own barn with only hand tools, and seek to live in harmony with nature. Much of Greg’s inspiration comes from the beauty of this region with it’s rolling farmland, with endless fields of corn and wheat that ripple in the winds, and summer thunderstorms. Also, according to Greg’s bio: “His songs are derived from his life experiences as well as the emotional and spiritual journey we all take as human beings.”

I also sensed a connection between the aforementioned spaciousness in his music and a quote I read on Greg’s website by Vladimir Horowitz: “It’s the silence that matters, not the applause. Anyone can have applause. But the silence, before and during the playing – that is everything.” Greg has developed his own style that I’m sure, draws from all of the above, but his musical roots are deep and have been nourished by his studying classical and jazz piano since age 5. And reflecting a totally different facet of his musical spectrum, he also studied classical Indian music and music of the Middle East, and gave performances on the sitar and saz in the early 1970’s.

However, at this point in his artistic career, Greg considers himself to be a Modern Romantic solo piano artist. Another point of reference that came to mind while listening to his gorgeous piano melodies was the pastoral Windham Hill sound as exemplified by many well-loved artists over the years such as George Winson, Liz Story, David Lanz, and others. Greg has been prolific in his recording career, having composed and released 12 CDs of original piano music, in addition to three of his tracks being featured on compilation disks.

The album begins, most appropriately, with a composition entitled “Gentle Dawn.” According to Greg: “This song represents the first pink light of the morning, the time between night and day. It is a gentle time filled with potential and promise.” It’s also a perfect way to begin the album, and one that awakens the promise of the music to follow. I appreciated Greg’s sense of dynamics on a piece entitled “The Heart Is Enough,” which opens with a slow-rolling bluesy gospel feel and builds to a couple high points and eventually settling back down into the space it started from. Greg notes that “this was written to one of my first spiritual teachers, who inspired me to seek a life that is full of love and compassion.” And at the crescendo, it does feel like a heart so full of love that it is about to burst.

In one of life’s little synchronicities, as I was listening to this album, a track called “After The Storm” came up just as the driving rain and wind of the last few hours came to a stop and the sky began to clear. However, Greg uses this title metaphorically to address the challenges and inner turmoil we all experience. Although there are no lyrics, Greg’s instrumental music has a powerful storytelling quality to it that is descriptive purely in its moods, melodies, and ability to convey emotional content musically. Along these lines, Greg refers to a track entitled “Returning” as a “tone poem,” which is a characterization that perfectly fits a good deal of his music. I particularly liked a lively upbeat tune called “Spinning,” which had an interesting genesis. According to Greg: “This song actually came out of an exercise that I was working on. I became a little bored with the dryness of the exercise, so I branched out and made a song out of it. It just shows that inspiration can come out of anything!”

One of the most moving songs on the album, for me, was “When Its Gone.” Greg describes this as: “the feeling of loneliness when something you value is not there any more. I seem to write about a lot of different emotions, not just happy ones. I think we all have a longing inside us that yearns for unity, but the human condition does not always allow it. This song expresses the yearning.” There is something about its wistful air that reaches in and touches a deep soul place that we have all been to, while I also felt a ray of hopefulness in Greg’s haunting melody.

Another favorite of mine was “A Different Sky.” With its more ornate phrasing and technically difficult passages, this one reveals a slightly different facet of Greg’s playing and composing skills. On “Linda’s Smile,” I also appreciated not only the lovely playing, but also the sweet sentiment behind this expression of love that Greg wrote to his wife. This, like many of his songs starts out simply and builds in complexity and emotion as it evolves. And speaking, once again, of different facets, a lighter side is evident in a fun, nursery rhyme-like romp called “The Cat and The Cricket,” which Greg says was inspired by his imagining of a cat playing with a cricket. However, he assures us that: “no animals were harmed.” The album draws to a peaceful conclusion with Greg’s arrangement of the classic song “Shenandoah.” This piece works well as a closing number that evoked, for me, a feeling of sunset and a winding down of the day, which bookends perfectly with the dawn energy of the opening track.

Coming Home by Greg Maroney is perfectly titled in that evokes a warm cozy feeling like relaxing by fireplace with a steaming cup of cocoa after a long winter day. While it is evident throughout the album that Greg has well-developed technical skills as a pianist and composer, he sometimes finds his expression in simple uncluttered phrasing and motifs. Yet when a song evolves and blossoms into something more complex and challenging musically, it provides a contrast and a reminder that this is an artist with extensive abilities and range. I must emphasize again Greg’s sensitivity to dynamics and feel, which, to me are some of his strongest attributes. His knowing of when to let the music breathe and when to build it up animates his artistry and provides an evocative listening experience. I’ll leave the final words to Greg himself in his wish for the listener: “I hope you find music in your world and your world in my music.”


Review by Kathy Parson, MainlyPiano.com

Coming Home is the twelfth album from pianist/composer Greg Maroney, one of my all-time favorite artists. Maroney released his first album, Songs of the Water Rose, in 1997, and although that is a great album, his artistry has grown and matured over the years. Equally comfortable composing a tender love song or a turbulent piece about a wild and dramatic storm, Maroney’s albums are truly a glimpse into his life, world and heart. A trauma nurse as well as the owner of a small farm in rural Pennsylvania with his beloved wife, Linda, Maroney has a wide variety of inspirations to draw from and expresses them vividly and beautifully. Coming Home is a collection of fifteen piano solos, all of which are original except Maroney’s gorgeous arrangement of “Shenandoah.” As usual, there is a colorful variety of moods, from sweetly romantic to sadly reflective to playful and energetic.Coming Home is very likely to be on my list of Favorites for the year!

Coming Home begins with “Gentle Dawn,” a classically-styled piece that is as soft and dreamy as daybreak - welcoming and optimistic. “The Heart is Enough” overflows with feelings of contentment and peace. The freedom and spontaneity of the music suggests that this one might be improvised - beautiful! “After the Storm” is one of my favorites. Graceful, dramatic, and darkly powerful, I can’t wait for the sheet music for this one! The title track is a gentle ballad that expresses anticipation as well as a deep happiness. “Dreams” is another favorite with its day-dream blissfulness and passionate flow. Maroney uses his impressive playing chops to full effect on this one! Love it!!! “Spinning” playfully dances around the piano keyboard, fast and fun! I also love the deeply emotional and expressive “When It’s Gone.” Sometimes quiet and reflective and sometimes stronger and more complex, it says so much. “Honeysuckle” returns to simplicity and an appreciation for the small things in life. “Linda’s Smile” is a tender love song that will touch even the most jaded heart - another favorite. “The Cat and the Cricket” is in a similar style to Maroney’s earlier “Dancing Dogs” and “The Chicken Chase” - high energy and fun, and again thoroughly enjoying one of life’s simpler moments. The wistful melody of “Shenandoah” has made it one of my favorite American folk songs for most of my life, and Maroney’s heartfelt arrangement is one of the best I’ve ever heard. A beautiful ending to a fantastic album!

Longtime fans of Greg Maroney’s music will love Coming Home! If you are new to his music, this is a great place to start. It is currently available from GregMaroney.com, CD Baby, and iTunes. Coming soon to Amazon.
I give Coming Home my highest recommendation. 

Kathy Parsons
MainlyPiano.com
4/5/14