rightIrish Mist is the tenth album from Seattle-based pianist and composer Richard Dillon, as well as the follow-up to his likewise recent solo piano release, Land of Nod. Rich in both ancient myth and tradition, the Emerald Isle has long been a source of fascination for many people and common inspiration among composers, painters and poets. Dedicated to Dillon’s mother, who recently passed away at the age of ninety-eight, the album elegantly showcases fifteen gentle compositions, which are imbued with a touch of nostalgia and often possess a subtle Celtic feel.

The opening piece, "Irish Mist", is both delicate and lullaby-like as it gently tiptoes about in the higher registers. Tending towards the lighter and subtly sweet side of the atmospheric spectrum, Dillon’s music exudes a warm innocence conveyed by a simple elegance that seemingly evokes imagery of home, family and childhood memories. Continuing in this homebound mode is “Máthair Éireann (Mother Ireland”, which feels evocative of being in an old-fashioned manor or parlor as it recalls a bygone era. One of my favorite pieces on the album is “Shadows on the Wall”, which conveys a sense of solitude, observation and contemplation, as it proceeds in minor key on the higher register. The most notable standout on the album is perhaps “Into the Mines”, which begins with a whistling sound and accompanying machinery that re-emerges throughout its course. Susan Burke plays a lovely violin melody in tandem with a flowing piano arrangement, which further lends the piece a distinctively Celtic flavor. Likewise, there’s a melancholic essence about this composition, one that seemingly alludes to that of labor and hardship. Also particularly noteworthy is “Mother’s Eyes”, a most heartwarming and tender composition that feels wistfully nostalgic. Undoubtedly an ode to Dillon’s own mother, a lovely black-and-white photo from her youth also appears on the album’s inner sleeve in a gesture which I found to be particularly touching. Another favorite is the aptly-named “Deidres Dance”, which concludes the album with a beautiful ballet-like melody that’s also laced with a Celtic bent.

Overall low-key yet expressively melodic, I found Irish Mist to be an even more engaging and enjoyable listen than its similarly soothing predecessor. Unobtrusive and down-to-earth, Richard Dillon mostly extends a softer touch to the keys of his lovely melodies, which are sure to bring comfort and relaxation to both adults and children alike! ~Candice Michelle

Links & Purchase: Richard Dillon, Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, Google Play

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