Tuesday, May 1, 2018

MUSIC REVIEW: They Were Here

Producer-percussionist Byron Metcalf and singer-songwriter-author Jennifer Grais have managed to blend their two passions for music and shamanic healing into one hauntingly beautiful collaborative concept album. The artists' shamanic influences are quite apparent in the vibe of this latest work, They Were Here, exploring the plight of America’s wild horses. The energy of the music is both reverent and mournful as they explore the ongoing mistreatment and loss of these magnificent creatures, one of our most unique national treasures.
Jennifer Grais: singer-songwriter and author of "Christa's Luck."

This album is less song-oriented than others, rather, it functions more like one complete, flowing work of art. Native American influences run thick in the veins of They Were Here to create the perfect setting for such a tale. Metcalf provides the majority of the instrumentation including frame drums, rattles, udu, ceremonial drums and synthesizer.  His characteristic style of tribal-trance drumming is the energy that fuels this piece, providing the driving force that echoes the sounds of horse hooves galloping with intense gusto. Ron Oates lends a helping hand on keyboard, synthesizers and orchestral arrangements as well. Jennifer Grais’ heart-wrenchingly beautiful vocals soar like an eagle to perfectly accompany the earthiness of the instrumentals.

Byron Metcalf, award-winning musician & shamanic practitioner.
The title track sets the mood for the album as it opens with the sounds of horses galloping as the earth stirs underneath their hooves. Slowly, the ambient music sets in like a looming mist that rises incrementally. The sound of Dashmesh Khalsa on didgeridoo wavers ominously in the background as Grais’ mournful vocalizations take the forefront. Henceforth, the songs get incrementally more intense as the story lingers on until reaching a crescendo in the fourteen-minute “Run.” Fiercely carried by driving beats and Grais’ intense, almost desperate chants, the track sets the scene of wild horses fleeing their native homes. Wrapping up the album, “Song for Solo” feels like an ending to a melancholic story, one that is very personal to Grais. It emanates a sense of mourning for what has been lost, yet incorporates sounds of nature, providing a reminder that life carries on ever still.

With They Were Here, Byron Metcalf manages to create a concept piece using ambient music. Utilizing his creative ways with music, he manages to create a soundscape that brings awareness to mother earth.  This album is available on Amazon and iTunes. For more information, and to experience the music, visit www.byronmetcalf.com.

-Samantha Garcia, BEING