View from the Parkway
Excerpts from a review of View from the Parkway from The Mountain Times, a weekly publication in western NC: High Country composer Robert Thomas knows a thing or two about creating visual music. And although his music bears no real relation to the bluegrass or gospel native to the Blue Ridge Mountains, his is a music that is deeply rooted to our area. His latest intrumental album, View from the Parkway, takes inspiration from the scenic vistas of the Appalachians in much the same way that pianist and composer George Winston has found inspiration from different times of the year. Thomas' music is perfect for those wintry days when you're forced to find indoor entertainment but the last thing you want to do is watch television. Whether your company is a cherished friend or a good book, View from the Parkway makes a perfect third companion-gentle enough not to intrude upon the gathering yet interesting enough to listen to intently during those quiet moments between words. It's also a great date album as it's serene moments will put your guest at ease but the compositions are so elegant and interesting that you won't have to worry about them going to sleep. View from the Parkway has some nice bits of vocalese that vary from Lucianne Evans' soft scatting on 'Ridge Runner' to Thomas' hypnotic chants that remind one of the vocal parts on Pat Metheny's late 80s albums Still Life (Talking) and Letter From Home. It is precisely the addition of a few added instruments that gives the individual tracks on View from the Parkway depth and character beyond mere piano compositions. But at the core of the album is Thomas' precise yet casual keyboard sound. He has an innate sense for when to use electronic keyboards and when to go for a more intimate approach with a traditional acoustic piano. 'Blue Ridge Waltz' would lose it's stately air of andering solitude with the addition of too many instruments so Thomas keeps it perfectly simple with piano and accordion. Thomas will be performing at Beanstreets, on the corner of College and Broadway in Asheville, this Friday, November 19th from 9 to 11 p.m.