ENLIGHTENED PIANO RADIO
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Pam Asberry

Dacula, GA, UNITED STATES

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Solo pianist and composer Pam Asberry combines contemporary, new age and classical sounds to create music that is alternately melodic and graceful, dramatic and powerful, peaceful and hypnotic. Classically trained from the age of seven, she decided early on that she wanted a career in music. She played the clarinet in her high school band, accompanied vocal and instrumental groups, and played keyboard in the jazz band. She went on to complete a master’s degree in piano performance and piano pedagogy and has worked with hundreds of piano students in the time since.

Pam’s musical influences are wide and varied – Beethoven and “Yes” were early favorites – and she eventually found her way to the genre of neoclassical or new age solo piano music. As years went by and she began to attend live concerts and meet composers such as David Nevue, David Lanz, Chad Lawson, and others, friends began asking when she might record an album of her own. But like many classical musicians who are not encouraged to improvise and compose, she felt that was not her destiny. Then in early 2017, a simple melody that popped into her head while she was out walking one morning became her first original solo piano composition. After scribbling the notes onto manuscript paper and recording the piece on her cell phone, she decided to call it “Monterey Morning”, as it reminded her of a pleasant day spent in Monterey, California, several years prior. Just like that, a composer was born.

By the end of June, she had completed a total of fifteen solo piano pieces; thirteen of these appear on her 2017 debut album, “Seashells in My Pocket,” which was nominated Best Solo Piano album at One World Music Radio and awarded Best New Artist 2018 at Enlightened Piano Radio. Her second album, a collection of holiday arrangements titled “Thankful Heart, Joyful Mind,” was released in October 2018 and nominated Best Holiday Album at SoloPiano.com and awarded Best Holiday Album at Enlightened Piano Radio. Her April 2019 release, “The Presence of Wonder,” reached #7 on the April 2019 Zone Music Reporter chart, climbed to #1 on the July 2019 One World Music Radio chart, and has been nominated Best Solo Piano album at One World Music Radio. “All Through the Night,” released in October 2019, is a soothing collection of original pieces, traditional lullabies from around the world, and fresh arrangements of classical works. Her fifth and current album, “Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs,” is named for a collection of works bearing the same title by nineteenth century Czech composer Zdeněk Fibich and is a musical diary of sorts, inspired by the artist’s travel, memories, and feelings and composed in a variety of styles.

Pam’s music can be heard on Whisperings Solo Piano Radio, Enlightened Piano Radio, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Siriux XM, The River of Calm, and elsewhere. Visit www.pamasberry.com to find out more.

Albums


Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs
2020, Neoclassical, New Age
SpotifyAppleMusicAmazonBandCamp

The Presence of Wonder
2019, New Age, neoclassical, solo piano
ReviewSpotifyAppleMusicAmazonBandCamp

All Through the Night
2019, New Age, neoclassical, solo piano
ReviewSpotifyAppleMusicAmazonBandCamp

The Mermaid's Tears
2018, New Age, neoclassical, contemporary instrumental
SpotifyAppleMusicAmazon

Thankful Heart, Joyful mind
2018, holiday, Christmas, contemporary instrumental
ReviewSpotifyAppleMusicAmazonBandCamp

Seashells in My Pocket
2017, New Age, neoclassical, contemporary instrumental
ReviewSpotifyAppleMusicAmazonBandCamp

“The Presence of Wonder” reviewed by Marlowe Carruth

If Pam Asberry’s first album, “Seashells in My Pocket,” represented Pam spreading her wings as a new artist, then her latest release, “The Presence of Wonder,” is Pam taking flight and soaring!
 
In the words of Cathy Oakes, “This album contains everything that the new age solo piano genre is about: emotional expression, painting a picture with ethereal beauty, transporting the listener to a place of calm and rest.”
 
While the album is very cohesive in mood, expression and quality, each song is like an individual gem that carries its own weight on this album. Every single song is beautifully crafted and beautifully played. Pam’s years of experience as a pianist and piano teacher are evident throughout the variety of songs on this album, both in her composing and in her skillful playing.
 
One of the most impressive things Pam accomplishes in this album is her use of minor keys without sounding sad or dark. The title song, “The Presence of Wonder,” is one such piece. It has a mystical feel but does not leave me feeling sad but rather uplifted. I could listen to it over and over.
 
“Nocturne” is one of my personal favorites, probably because I am partial to playing nocturnes myself, but also because Pam truly captures the essence of a nocturne with her beautiful melody line, supported by the harmonies underneath.
 
“Surrender” is a departure from the rest of the pieces on the album, but I also think it is the most telling. In this song, Pam perfectly tells the story of the journey from the angst of struggle to the beauty that comes from surrender.
 
I found “Nebula” to be the most fun to play on the piano as it fit my hands well. (Yes, there is companion sheet music available to all the songs on the album!) Again, here Pam tells the story so well that you can easily picture one of Hubble’s beautiful pictures of a galaxy of nebula.
 
“Above the Clouds,” another one of my favorites, is written in 6/8 time which always gives the listener a sense of movement. You truly can imagine yourself dancing above the clouds when listening to this piece.
 
I could comment on each and every track, but I recommend instead that you grab a copy of the album and experience “The Presence of Wonder” for yourself!


“All Through the Night” reviewed by Cathy Oakes

Pam Asberry is a very accomplished pianist and teacher who didn’t begin her journey into composing until fairly recently. However, she has “made up for lost time” and has done it in a big way! “All Through the Night” is her fourth album since she first began composing in 2017.
 
I recall sitting with Pam on a cruise ship after the 2016 Enlightened Piano Radio Awards Concert. I told her of a dream I had had about her releasing an album of her original works. I told her that she would record and release that album within a year. She laughed! I knew she had the ability to write music, but I had no idea the volume and depth of the creativity hiding inside her just waiting to be let out. Once those flood gates opened, there was no holding her back!
 
I refer to Pam as “The Thomas Kinkade of the Piano.” She paints beautiful pictures with her music. One would never have to look at a title or read a liner note to know exactly what she is trying to express. One can simply close their eyes and allow Ms. Asberry to paint the picture in their mind. She truly is a “Painter of Light” – except she does it on the keys of a piano. Her music tends to be simple and elegant. There are no “musical acrobatics” here, although, she is more than capable of doing such. She allows the piano to speak in intimate tones of beauty.
 
“All Through the Night” consists of twelve tracks – eight arrangements of lullabies from all over the world and four original pieces. The word “lullaby” brings thoughts of children and bedtime. But don’t let that fool you. This album is soothing and relaxing for people of all ages. The album begins with the most beautiful arrangement of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” that I have ever heard. One can see the stars twinkling in a clear, night sky. This English lullaby sung to a French melody from the mid-1700’s begins with a “sparkling” introduction that sets the tone for the rest of this stellar piece. It ends with the motif it began with, leaving one with the vision of those twinkling stars. “All Through the Night” begins with a rocking motion in the introduction Ms. Asberry’s arrangement of this Welsh lullaby that is usually associated with Christmas is peaceful and comforting. “Siciliano,” believed to have been composed by J.S. Bach is one of my favorites on this album. Pam’s classical training shines in this piece. She is true to the Baroque roots, and yet, manages to present this piece with freshness and creativity.
 
Many people have done arrangements of Brahms’ Lullaby, but none have done it with such warmth and originality as Ms. Asberry. Her subtle re-harmonizations bring a freshness to this piece that is rarely heard. I have never particularly liked the piece, “All the Pretty Little Horses” – that is until I heard Pam’s arrangement. It is simple and straight-forward, yet reflective and beautiful in its simplicity. “Sleepy Tide” is an Asberry original. You can almost feel the gentle waves lapping the shore in the peaceful rocking of this piece.
 
Another original work, “Bedtime Story” has a beautiful, singing melody and the motion of Grandma’s favorite rocking chair. I found myself wanting to listen to this piece over and over – much like a favorite childhood bedtime story. “Evening Prayer” has long been one of my favorite pieces from the opera Hansel and Gretel. Ms. Asberry’s arrangement is hymn-like and simply beautiful. “The Sandman” is a German lullaby first arranged by Brahms for the children of his friends Clara and Robert Schumann. I love Pam’s use of the alberti bass with the melody singing above Then, the melody is played in the left hand with a beautiful accompaniment in the right hand. This is one of my absolute favorites!
 
I cannot listen to “Lullaby for Mackenzie” without the threat of tears. Perhaps this is because I know the story behind the song. Written in memory of Ms. Asberry’s daughter, who only lived a few days, this piece is hauntingly beautiful. It is melodic and surprisingly joyful. I have several favorites on this album, but this one is my absolute favorite. The story behind “Abiyoyo” is fierce. It is a Bantu lullaby based on a South African tale about a monster that eats naughty children. However, there is nothing fierce about this piece. The rocking bass and floating melody are gorgeous. “Reverie” is the perfect way to bring this beautiful album to a close. It is Pam’s original piece about being lost in pleasant thoughts. It is impossible to listen to this lovely piece without having pleasant thoughts. The singable melody and rich chord progressions make me sigh over and over!
 
From beginning to end, “All Through the Night” is peaceful, exceedingly lovely and simply brilliant. Well done, Pam! Well done, indeed! I highly recommend this album for “children” of all ages who want to relax and enjoy the blessing of beautiful music performed with exceeding skill. Keep this beautiful music coming, Pam. We impatiently wait for your next work of beautiful art, painted in shades of light so wonderfully on the piano.


“Thankful Heart, Joyful mind” reviewed by Cathy Oakes

Every composer’s easiest and most difficult project is their Christmas album. It’s easy because there are so many beautiful pieces from which to choose. It’s difficult because everyone else has done a Christmas CD and finding a way to be true to the piece while being creative and original is a major challenge. In Thankful Heart, Joyful Mind, Pam Asberry has accomplished both beautifully. She has chosen Christmas pieces from all over the world that are less often heard. She presents each one simply and delicately, while adding her own creative touch.
 
Ms. Asberry takes the art of composition to a whole new level as she paints pictures on the keyboard, leading the mind to see the sights and smell the wonderful scents of this beautiful season. She obviously has carefully researched each piece in order to perfectly capture their “personality” in the creative portraits she paints of these songs that have been heard and sung throughout the years.
 
In “Gesu Bambino” (one of my personal favorites), she begins with a folksy introduction. The melody of this piece rings beautifully above a left hand that reminds one of the rocking of a cradle. Her haunting presentation of the melody in “Sing We Now of Christmas” with the drone-like left hand captures the early origins of this carol perfectly. She moves through a short section of improvisation on the chord structure and returns to the simple presentation of the melody.
 
The Irish origins of “Wexford Carol” can be heard from the very beginning with the melody in the upper register, almost like an Irish flute, supported by the drone in the left hand, reminding one of bagpipes. Her unique, simple and wistful presentation of “White Christmas” is lovely and captures a dream-like quality. “Away in a Manger” begins with a variation of “Brahms’ Lullaby” and continues with a lullaby feeling that moves through creative chord structures, creating an altogether beautiful arrangement of this beloved carol.
 
“Over the River and Through the Woods” is my absolute favorite on this CD. Pam paints a river running throughout the piece. As I listen to this favorite holiday tune, I can feel the rocking of the sleigh, see the sun glistening on the river, feel the crisp air on my face and smell the smoke from fires burning brightly in the hearths of happy homes. It transports me back to wonderful family holidays spent with grandparents, parents and children basking in the glow of this wonderful season.
 
I love the simplicity of Ms. Asberry’s arrangement of “Bell Carol.” She allows the melody to ring. Her inclusion of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” fits perfectly in this piece. She moves flawlessly from piece to the other in this arrangement expressing the joy and celebration of Christmas, ending with a bold statement of the last phrase, “Peace on earth, good will to men!” The introduction to “In the Bleak Midwinter” perfectly sets the mood for this carol from the late 1800’s based on a poem by English poet Christina Rossetti. “March of the Kings” is Pam’s only variance from the otherwise peaceful mood of this album. She presents this piece in all the boldness of its origins in the Crusades of the 13th Century. I can almost see the pageantry of royal banners flying as the three kings made their way across the desert to bring their gifts to the newborn king.
 
The Austrian carol, “Still, Still, Still” describes the peace of the infant Jesus as he is sung to sleep by his mother, Mary. Ms. Asberry’s arrangement of this carol is so beautiful and peaceful – in perfect keeping with the carol. In “He Is Born,” one can feel the mood of celebration with its dance-like quality. “Come Let Us Anew” is a hymn written by Charles Wesley to celebrate the coming of the New Year. Pam concludes her CD with this much-loved hymn of celebration, which she has arranged beautifully to portray the joy of this blessed season.
 
Pam Asberry has created a beautiful album celebrating the Christmas season. It is creative, original and yet, true to the original carols. Her mastery of the piano and brilliant arrangements will bring joy to hearts of the listener. This is a must-have for those who love to celebrate this joyous season with beautiful music! It will certainly be one of my favorite additions to my collection of Christmas music. Beautifully and brilliantly done, Ms. Asberry!


“Seashells in My Pocket” reviewed by Judson Hurd

It was a great pleasure to get the chance to review the new album “Seashells In My Pocket” by the new pianist/composer Pam Asberry. I had the pleasure of meeting the artist on the Enlightened Piano Radio Awards cruise in 2016. Pam is a wonderful piano teacher based in Atlanta and I am so happy she has composed a new album.
 
The album begins with “Cozumel Blue Waters” which is a delicate piece that transported me to a scene at a serene beach. The song is peaceful and in a major key that brings calm emotions. The artists writes simple but strong melodies that really create beautiful scenes that you can bring up in your imagination.
 
The next great piece I enjoyed was “Ocean Stars” . It is in a minor key with a melody with notes based on a pentatonic scale. It goes to a different theme that keeps the listener engaged and interested. I could definitely see this song being used in a Film or TV show! I love the voicings that she uses to create a different theme in the second part of the song. The piece changes different keys and this really shows mature composing skills. This is my favorite song on the album.
 
Another piece that really interested me was “Mysterious Caverns”. I love the way the chords and notes fall into each other. They really complement the sonic palette that Pam brings in describing the caverns and the ‘mystery’ behind them through her harmonic progressions. Well done!
 
This album was a really wonderful debut from Pam Asberry. It was a real pleasure to get something that is really an exciting start to an upcoming artist. I am really looking forward to the next album!


“Seashells in My Pocket” reviewed by Milana Tchebotaryov-Zilnik

Before I started composing my own pieces, I’ve been a piano teacher for many years. Perhaps, this is the reason why I could so much relate to the story of Pam Asberry who, like myself, has been teaching piano for decades without daring to compose. As Pam Asberry said herself, it felt much safer to play someone else’s music rather than trying to create her own and risking a failure. Until one day a simple melody came to her and she expanded it to a full composition. Then came the next one. And another. They appeared “like shells plucked from the seashore and tucked into my pocket as souvenirs from a magical day at the beach.” This is where Pam Asberry’s inspiration came from - from numerous seashores she had the pleasure to visit.

Seashells in my pocket”, Pam’s debut album, opens with “Cozumel Blue waters”, lulling the listener with waves of warm tones, both deep and clear. While listening to this piece, I could imagine a person sitting on a sand in a dim light and listening to the music of the sea. Subtle changes and harmony moves emerge at the middle part of this composition, gradually changing the atmosphere until the very end. I paricularly enjoyed the tone of the piano and the intonation of the pianist in this tune.

The second track, “Wishing stones”, brings along some Celtic flavour through unusual harmonies in the intro. From the very first change of chords it turned into one of my personal favorites on this album. Mysterious, positive, elegant - all these vibes are blended together into a gem of a composition, ending with a finale that is both lovely and triumphant. My 10 years old son (also a pianist and a young composer) was listening to the album together with me and he described the music as “confusing, wondering, pondering, childish and happy, then getting deeper and darker, but finishing with the original childish unworried feeling of unquestionable happiness, rushing to meet you”.

The album keeps unfolding the tropical scenes with the next track, “Island Cathedral”. Classic Sarabande came to my mind, while I enjoyed the opening sounds of this third composition. As the name suggested, music left me with a strong feeling of an awe and amazement, witnessing the magnificent combinations of sounds, as well as big and meaningful spaces of silence between the notes. Each note was in its place and the soul was just singing, thanks to the choir effect, similar to Tchaikovsky’s “In Church”. At the middle of the track, chords started building up to a poignant wonder of music.

Right after the spiritual aftertaste, Pam changes the scene with the next tune: “Sleepy tide”. It sets the simplicity of Canon in D: naive, pure, charming, with a rich dialogue between high and low registers. Those repetitive melodies put me in a transcendent mood: their ebb and flow put the listener into a joyful meditative state of mind.

The following, fifth track, has a minimalistic melody and fragile harmonies, perfectly reflecting its title: “Moonlight over Morea”. I immeditaly thought of one of those Schubert’s minors that are not sad, but longing and angelic. This track is another favorite of mine on this album. Being an Autumn person with changing moods myself, I found this music to fit me personally and artistically.

Dunn’s Riverfalls” is a complete contrast to all the previous tracks. It is almost as dramatic and intense as Chopin’s fast virutosic preludes. From the very beginning it is speeding up to reveal the story behind the music, ending with a grand slowing down.

Palm trees away”, the seventh track, perfectly pictures its title with sounds: daydreaming, misty, with endless possibilities, open spaces, soaring melodies and singing without words.

The following “Mysterios Caverns” lures me in with clusters of intriquing harmonies. The notes are widespread across the piano, the low register is used to accompany high notes, leaving a lot of room for imagination. This is yet another favorite of mine, especially due to lush jazz turns and spaces between melodies.

The nineth track, “Cadillac Mountain Sunset”, is masterfully setting up climbing melodies in its majestic and challenging journey to reach the tranquil peaks. At 3:30 the track becomes very cinematic with the notes being even more spacious and resoluted.

The Mermaid’s Tears”, again, had some Celtic harmonies, much like “Green Sleeves”. I just fell in love with those intense, constantly moving arpeggios. It also reminded me of “The House of Rising Sun”. This tune is charming, refreshing and neoclassical at its best!

The eleventh track, “Monterey Morning”, was the very first tune composed by Pam Asberry. It’s rushing and driving, and the positive vibe is so genuine in it. What a refreshing combination of moods and rhythms!

The next composition, “Ocean Stars”, is also very positive and masterfully crafted with its repetitive high notes melodies and stunning gentle raindrops of single notes echoing on top of layered moving harmonies. Such a hypnotic music, surprising and taking me deeper with each movement of the harmony. The ending is humorous, as it musically quotes “Twinkle-Twinkle”.

Sailing home” is epic and full of sweet nostalgia, a perfect way to conclude this enchanting album.

Like the seashores and seashells themselves, “Seashells in my pocket” is both relaxed and colorful, melodic and lively, reflective and emotional. Highly recommended!