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.