Twilight is the eighth studio album by One Alternative, an acoustic fusion ensemble who blend elements of classical, jazz and rock music for an eclectically innovative sound. Comprised of nine compositions spanning forty-three minutes, the album showcases band members Jill Haley on oboe and English horn, and Mark Oppenlander on electric and acoustic guitars as well as bass and percussion, with guest musician James Mclaughlin lending piano and Hammond organ to one track. Four cover songs each by Billy Cobham, Simon and Garfunkel, Oregon and Craig Dobbins are included on the album, along with five original tunes composed by Haley and Oppenlander.

The opening Craig Dobbins cover, “Jojobean”, immediately leaps into a steady groove, with its folk-rock rhythm and guitars leisurely strumming along. A highly enjoyable ensemble piece that mostly retains the spirit of the original acoustic guitar composition, Haley’s classical woodwinds delicately weave in and out of the foreground of the sunny, uplifting tune. Following next is an equally engaging cover of Oregon’s “If”, which places heavier emphasis on the rhythm’s odd-time signature. Likewise highlighting an acoustic guitar and woodwind melody, the composition casually hovers between jazz and contemporary instrumental music. The duo also adds their own twist to Simon and Garfunkel’s “America”, giving this all-instrumental rendition of the originally lyric-sung piece a notably upbeat Americana-rock flavor, while its subtly trippy guitar textures and funky bass-laden groove emit a 1960’s psychedelic vibe. “Sunrift George” is among the album’s five original compositions, which is characterized by cascading acoustic guitar and a toe-tapping groove, as Jill’s signature woodwinds provide a catchy lead melody that could be easily hummed along to. I’m particularly fond of “Roadless Travel”, which exudes a subtle Latin flair with its sultrily flowing guitar textures and tropical-flavored percussion. Billy Cobham’s “Stratus” is the album’s fourth and final cover tune, featuring James Mclaughlin on piano and Hammond organ. Here, a piano-jazz riff intermingles with retro-style organ and electric guitar on what’s easily the most funk-laden, rock-steady composition of the lot. Winding things down is the serenely soulful original, “We’ll See What Happens”, which is characterized by intricately woven acoustics and smooth, rolling edges that highlight some of the album’s most beautifully detailed guitar work.

Warmly positive and easygoing while boasting just the right amount of edginess, Twilight takes the listener on an exciting trip through contemporary acoustic music that’s often laced with funky jazz licks, folk-rock sensibilities and subtle new age overtones. Eclectic and intricate yet down-to-earth, the thoroughly enjoyable numbers on this aptly-named album variably illustrate the rising and setting sun, as well as capture the many picturesque moments nestled in between. Smoothly weaving and winding around a scenic terrain, listening to these infectious tunes can be likened to taking a drive through the countryside with all its unpredictable stops and turns. An amazing ensemble whose elements individually shine throughout, the stellar musicianship on this recording is thoroughly rewarding, as they beckon the listener to join them along for a leisurely, adventurous ride that’s certainly well-worth taking! ~Candice Michelle

Links & Purchase: One Alternative, CDBaby

Comments

April 29, 2017 @08:41 pm
Thank you for the lovely review. It is fun music to play and you got that!
Jill Haley

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