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Real Music Corporate LogoVisionary new age music for nourishing and rejuvenating body, mind and spirit

Always Near - A Romantic Collection

Always Near - A Romantic Collection by Kevin Kern

A collection of fourteen of pianist/composer Kevin Kern’s most beautiful and romantic pieces. ...Some of his music sounds deceptively simple, but it takes a master to say so much with so little.” —MainlyPiano.com

An hour of poetic melodies unfolding tenderly, thoughtfully...some with a light layer of strings and touch of acoustic guitar, others speaking directly, without embellishment. Pure, beautiful, emotionally rich piano, suffused with heart and rendered with an ultra-refined touch.

Watch the video for “Always Near”

Instrumentation:

Tracks

1. Love’s First Smile (In My Life) 6:09
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
2. A Time Remembered (Beyond the Sundial) 4:17
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
3. Sundial Dreams (In the Enchanted Garden) 4:44
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
4. Le Jardin (Summer Daydreams) 4:51
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
5. Above the Clouds (Embracing The Wind) 5:23
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
6. Always Near (Endless Blue Sky) 5:19
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
7. And the Light is Forever (Imagination’s Light) 3:21
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
8. The Touch of Love (The Winding Path) 4:17
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
9. Through the Arbor (In the Enchanted Garden) 3:45
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
10. Safe in Your Embrace (Imagination’s Light) 3:44
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
11. Return to Love (Summer Daydreams) 4:23
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
12. Where Paths Meet (Beyond The Sundial ) 5:14
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
13. Through Your Eyes (Embracing the Wind) 3:46
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
14. Softly Falling (The Winding Path) 4:18
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

More Music By This Artist

Enchanted Piano by Kevin Kern
Endless Blue Sky by pianist Kevin Kern
Endless Blue Sky by pianist Kevin Kern
Imagination's Light by pianist Kevin Kern
The Winding Path by pianist Kevin Kern
More Than Words by Kevin Kern
Embracing The Wind by pianist Kevin Kern
In My Life by Kevin Kern
Summer Daydreams by pianist Kevin Kern
Beyond The Sundial by new age pianist Kevin Kern
In the Enchanted Garden by new age pianist Kevin Kern

Press Acclaim

RJ Lannan

The Touch of Hearts and Music
Always Near, the new album from Kevin Kern offers wistful waltzes, warm ballads, and sophisticated airs all in Kevin’s memorable, smooth style. Kevin Kern is a veteran of ambient piano music with a dozen albums, multiple songbooks, and numerous contributions to other albums, but his focus on this recording is pure romance. This music touches the heart and builds glorious memories, all in the name of love. Some of the contemporary and New Age music on this fourteen-track album is already familiar to me, but many are new. All favor Kevin’s melodious touch of piano, guitar, and very light orchestra.
 
The album begins with a fragile piano tune called “Love’s First Smile.” From across the room, or from two seats away on the bus, there is no distance too great, that does not diminish when you first see her and she smiles. The heart becomes wax, the body weak, and the spirit surrenders. Kevin has translated this feeling into notes and the sound is miraculous.
 
Walking hand in hand past the tall, delicate stalks of creamy Queen Anne’s lace and admiring the orange Butterfly weed, the pathway in the garden is always delightful to explore, especially when you have your lover in tow. The song, “Le Jardin,” is ephemeral and sweet. A slow, waltz for two, the violin emphasizes the drowsy sunshine and the orchestra balances the warm afternoon and the earthy delight of it all.
 
“And the Light is Forever” is a passionate, solo piano pas de deux that seems to make time stand still. It is that feeling you get when the music is soft and gentle, the touch of your partner warm and firm, and the light in her eyes is forever.  You do not want the music to stop and you do not ever want to let go.
 
“Through the Arbor” is the smell of tiny red roses, the feel of soft earth beneath your feet and the sense that you are entering a magical gateway. The tall hedges hide what might be a meandering path or perhaps a maze to challenge you.  The music entices you to go around the corner and see what can be seen, so hold her hand tight and cross the grassy threshold.
 
There is a wonderful interplay between oboe and piano in the tune, “Where Paths Meet.”  I imagined Donald O’Conner dancing with Vera Allen to this sumptuous music. It is the classic boy meets girl story, but this one is in beautiful black & white from so long ago. Fortunately, love, like great music, is timeless.
 
“Return to Love” is a sweet soliloquy of hope for someone’s broken heart. The dreamy title is destined to be in a romantic play and is heard when the boy wonders if he even has a chance. Meanwhile, the girl is off somewhere wondering if she even has a chance. Ah, such is love, confusing and beautiful all at the same time. “Return to Love” is my favorite on the album.
 
Kevin Kern lives in Minneapolis with his wife and they literally and figuratively make music together. I would be remiss if I did not think that that majority of these musical poems are for his wife, Pamela. As for us listeners, we can dance, cuddle, and love to Always Near. This lavish album provides magic to get the romance started and then goes beyond. It almost makes you want to book a ticket to Paris for two. Perhaps it is easier to light a single candle and wait for the sparks.
 
Rating: Very Good+

Dan Cowan

Tender piano is the domain of Kevin Kern. His musical style is romantic, intimate and beautifully tranquil — a trio of characteristics that ensures his soft strains are a certain mood-enhancer when you are planning some alone time with that special someone. Or, for that matter, some alone time for yourself. Indulge in sweet serenity with Kern's Always Near, a romantic collection of favorites from his many albums. Most of these songs are performed on solo piano, with some light synthesizer enhancement and strings on a few of the tracks. In truth, Kern really needs no enhancement — his piano melodies are rich and full enough that they stand on their own really well. Songs here include "A Time Remembered," "And the Light is Forever," "Return to Love," "Softly Falling" and other Kern treasures.

Kathy Parsons

Always Near: A Romantic Collection is a collection of fourteen of pianist/composer Kevin Kern's most beautiful and romantic pieces. Kern began his recording career with Real Music in 1996 and recorded ten albums on the label, not counting the many compilations that incorporate his music. Beloved around the world — and especially in Korea — Kern is one of the best and most expressive pianists on the planet. Some of his music sounds deceptively simple, but it takes a master to say so much with so little. Seeing Kern perform live will leave just about anyone breathless!

Selections from eight of Kern's albums are included on Always Near, some of which are Kern classics:  "Sundial Dreams," "Through the Arbor," "Return to Love," "Le Jardin," "And the Light is Forever," etc.  It's a wonderful collection and a joy to listen to, but there is nothing new for those who have all of Kern's recordings (as I do). Chances are, though, that some of those older albums might have worn out or gotten lost along the way (some of mine are on cassette — does anyone remember those???), so here's a nice, fresh collection to give your music library a boost!  Anyone unfamiliar with Kevin Kern's distinctively warm and masterful piano touch will find Always Near to be an excellent place to start.  So, for wonderful romantic dinner music, music to relax to or to have in the car, or any other activity that can be enhanced by gentle piano music, it doesn't get better than this.

Recommended!

Michael Foster

Kevin Kern has been a steady creator of piano compositions since his first album came out back in 1996. To date Kevin has put out nine albums of peaceful music that are sure to cause you to pause during the course of your hectic day and simply take a breath. Seems like a simple enough thing to do but often we are inundated with endless things that have to get done on a “to do” list that never seems to end. Over the years I think that ambient and new age music came into being because of our frantic lifestyles that never seemed to give us a moment to simply relax and clear our minds. Kevin Kern’s music most definitely fills the bill when it comes to leaving the stress of daily life behind even if only for the amount of time that the album is on. This is the second compilation album Kevin has done for Real Music but the songs on this collection were sculpted to convey the general feelings or emotions connected with romance whereas his first compilation was simply a best of collection with no particular theme that was to run throughout the album.

Always Near: A Romantic Collection has brought together fourteen of Kevin’s many compositions that best convey the emotions that we associate most with love and romance. The album runs just over sixty-three minutes which means that once you put it on you’ll have about an hour of music that will gently pluck the strings of your heart and stir within you those tender memories that you associate most with the love that has come and gone through your life over the years. Being a romantic at heart I am always appreciative of albums like this because it translates those elusive emotions that are so much a part of love and romance into a tangible form that can be enjoyed simply by putting this CD into your player.

The music of romance is not all light and airy as you might suppose but takes into account those times when “the course of true love never did run smooth” as Shakespeare observed in his play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The music on Kevin’s collection Always Near runs the gamut of those light and airy moments of happiness when all is right with the world but it also expresses those times when things could be better and work is needed to breathe life back into the romance. One of those songs on this album that leans more towards the thoughtful frame of mind is the very last song on this CD called “Softly Falling.” It is a very delicate song that speaks quietly to the heart and whispers healing to a tired soul that needs just a little rest and a gentle touch.

One of the songs aptly named “Safe In Your Embrace” gives the listener a feeling of a romance that is in full bloom and one in which at the present moment no end can be seen. It is those moments that songs like this one capture; that feeling of safety and security that can be found in the embrace of another person that has chosen to be there by their side. This song also features an acoustic guitar that tends to accentuate the feeling of happiness that wends its way through the music. “Where Paths Meet” is another of those lighter songs that I suspect comes from the moment where the paths of two people who are meant to be together first cross. It is a moment of recognition and a moment of connection that leaves the both of them changed from that day forward.

For the most part Always Near mainly features Kevin on piano but there are a few songs where there is some additional instrumentation to add just a finishing touch to songs that had already been beautifully crafted to express these tender emotions. Bear in mind that this is a compilation but that the songs that were carefully selected for this collection seem to move and breathe as if they belonged together. That is always a good sign that a lot of thought and care went into selecting the particular fourteen songs that make up this album. The music on this collection will touch you emotionally while reminding you of those romantic moments in your own life that are best never forgotten but celebrated instead as points of light in your own journey through this life. Ambient Visions recommends Always Near.

James McQuiston

Kevin Kern has imbued a number of his classic tracks with a vitality and vigor that allows Always Near to speak volumes to anyone listening in, whether it be long-term lovebirds or those that may be new to romantic relationships.

The titular effort Always Near is a softly-crafted track that is at the height of emotionality, where Kern is able to place a lifetime of love in four minutes. The piano’s narrative efforts provide an incredibly rich tapestry that continues through The Winding Path’s “The Touch of Love.” Where Always Near was on the more sedate side, there is a bold sound that is cultivated with “The Touch of Love;” the presence of a flute during this composition is bolstered through percussive and string elements. “Where Paths Meet” is a late-album effort that keeps the momentum strong through the album’s final elements. I feel that the eclectic styles and sounds that are broached during this track will ensure that listeners maintain their interest as they are shuttled into the one-two finale of “Through Your Eyes” (from Embracing the Wind) and “Softly Falling” (from The Winding Path). “Softly Falling” lasts for four minutes before Always Near draws to a close, but Kern’s playing here will ensure that listeners will search out the rest of his discography.

At 63 minutes Always Near is a release that will have considerable replay value no matter whether one is meditating or enjoying the company of a loved one.

Top Tracks:  “Above The Clouds” (from Embracing The Wind) and “Return to Love” (from Summer Daydreams)
Rating: 8.6/10

Chris Spector

If you know enough about Kern’s music to have an opinion about it, chances are it’s always a good one. One of those crafty piano man/instrumentalists, he knows how to consistently make winning instrumental music without ever crossing the line into easy listening dreck. With ten albums already out on Real Music, this is the right time to take a look back and group some of his best into a themed collection. This one focuses on his romantic side and it really ought to be packaged with some candles and some wine better than Two Buck Chuck. Lovely stuff that plays out all too quickly, this really is the best of the best, romance file. Well done.