NARKED RECORDS is pleased to announce the upcoming release of “Towards New Beginnings II – Songs of Healing“, the highly anticipated follow up to Matthew Shell’s critically acclaimed album from 2020, “Towards New Beginnings“. Like it’s predecessor, the new album is also a collaboration with pianist Vahagn Stepanyan and guitarist Sami Turunen.
Other personnel on the album include Douglas Lira on flute and saxophone, Marcus Mitchell on saxophone, Josue Garcia Garcia on trumpet, Erik Fredriksen, Melissa Wright (aka Tulpyz) and Marisa Frantz on vocals. Drums, percussions, bass and ambient sounds across select tracks are contributed by Glenn Welman, Phil DiMercurio, Hector Ruano, Evan Sebenick, Deylin Sandoval (aka Melloe D) and Tyrone Johnson (aka Connoninterest). Shell himself lends his performance on the guitar and percussion on the recordings.
Bob Smith of the blog Static Dive writes:
On March 1, 2021 Matthew Shell will deliver his follow-up, “Towards New Beginnings II: Songs of Healing (feat. Vahagn Stepanyan & Sami Turunen).” After the events of the past 12 months, the world looks with both sorrow and hope toward the future. Shell’s new album is a New Age Jazz instrumental representation of that juxtaposition of pain and purpose, loss and longing.
“Tribute (feat. Josue Garcia Garcia)” is the third single from the album. The piece was written and recorded as a tribute to all who we have lost during the pandemic. The song captures the deep blues at the heart of 2021 with a simple arrangement of piano and bass (both by Vahagn Stepanyan), guitar (by Sami Turunen) trumpet (by Josue Garcia Garcia), and some light percussion (by Glenn Welman).
Through most of the 3:10 piece we find Stepanyan and Turunen performing a beautiful and melancholy duet. Sami matches Vahagn’s wistful melodies with a slow and soulful Blues. The two trade phrases as though they’re telling stories about the friends and family they have lost. Garcia’s trumpet offers solace in the bridge with just the right amount of economy and soul. We can feel the resonance of the instruments in the warm and organic recording. Matthew Shell produced and arranged the track with co-production by Arun Shenoy, mixing by Evan Sebenick, and mastering by Steven Vagovics.
Other stand out songs include the following:
“Song of Healing” a relaxing sax and flute instrumental to calm the listener and heal the soul.
“Soar” featuring co-producer Melloe D is a modern take on instrumental music with an influence of Brazilian funk rhythms, trumpet by Josue Garcia Garcia, and soothing backing vocals by Tulypz.
“Peace From Within” is the most relaxing and healing song on the album. It most clearly showcases the talents of Vahagn Stepanyan (on piano) and Sami Turunen (on guitar).
“Drifting Through Dreams” is an epic opener with dueling guitar solos by Sami Turunen and flute solos by Douglas Lira.
“Faithful Until The End” is a relaxing highlight thanks to the beautiful vocal harmonies of Marisa Frantz and soulful sax playing of Marcus Mitchell.
All of the tracks on the album have their own significance, but all are focused on healing and soothing the soul of the listener.
Stream the full album
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