In The Soft Light of Grace is a collection of contemplative solo piano pieces to inspire prayerful rest for weary souls. After the success of his previous album, Winding Down, David put immense pressure on himself to do even more… to raise the bar again. However, after years spent burning the candle at both ends, David was worn out, restless and fighting increasing bouts of vertigo - the music just wasn't happening. David came to realize his only way forward was to STOP STRIVING… and so he did. He stopped trying to be "musically clever" and learned, once again, to just rest at the piano. Once he stopped trying and started trusting, the music began to flow, easily - like a peaceful river carrying him deep into the soft light of grace. Billboard Top 5, #1 on Amazon and iTunes Instrumental music charts. Nominated: "Best Solo Piano Album of 2019" by Zone Music Reporter. Runner Up: "Contemporary and Modern Album of 2019" by SoloPiano.com.
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I walk. Quite a lot, actually. Three years ago, I decided that if I wanted to live a long, healthy life, I had better get my body up and moving. So now I walk several miles a day, most days. It's been one of the most important lifestyle changes I've ever made. I just *love* being outdoors. It energizes me, gives me time to think, process things and, of course, pray.
That extra prayer time has been a necessary thing of late. As my body puts on the years, I find myself dealing with various annoyances that affect my ability to carry on my day to day work... from chronic pain in my hands and knees to a visual disfunction that can trigger vertigo and motion sickness when I read, drive, type and even sometimes when I play the piano.
I've prayed... "Lord, how am I supposed do what You've gifted me to do when it's painful to do so? How can I work, travel and perform when I never know if the vertigo is going to kick in?" The Word I keep getting back is... "My grace is sufficient. Trust me. I will give you strength when strength is needed and a clear mind when a clear mind is needed." (2 Cor. 12:9-10)
God has been faithful to His Word. I've had concert performances where ten minutes before I go on, I'm praying for strength because my brain is in a fog and I'm thinking, "How am I going to get through this?" Then, I step out on stage and in that moment, my strength and mind are renewed. I am infused, reenergized, and I watch in amazement as cohesive words come out of my mouth and beautiful music flows from my hands. Every time this happens, I am reminded that in whatever I do, if I do it in service to my King, Jesus, the Holy Spirit takes over and does the work. It's not "me", it's HIM. It's ALL Him and it's ALL grace. (Isa. 40:29-31)
I am learning that this is what life and living are all about: walking in trust, drawing near to God, and glorifying Him in every struggle and in every dark place. No matter what I "see" or how I "feel," in the depths of my soul I rejoice, knowing that in anything I do, even if it requires gritting though pain, dizziness or difficulty, I will accomplish whatever God intends for me to accomplish... according to His purposes, grace and timing (Jonah 2).
In my weakness, my faith has become stronger. The more I actively trust Him - and let go of my desire to control things - the more I see His power at work. I am amazed by this, and I am reminded of what John the Baptist said when Jesus appeared on the scene... "He must increase and I must decrease" (John 3:30). May it ever be so in my life.
Here's the point, and the central theme of this work...
God's grace surrounds us like a very soft light. It's always "on" and it's always active. Unfortunately, we don't often see it. Why? In part, it's because we are too busy carrying around our *own* lights. We shine them on our wants, goals, needs, accomplishments and, of course, ourselves. Until we put down our own lights, we won't be able to see His. That's just the way it is. Sooner or later, due to tragedy, illness or just old bones, our lights will begin to fail. When they do, and when we face the increasing darkness, that's when our faith, if we have it, is tested.
Here's what I know. I needed my light diminished so I could better see His. I was caught up in my own spotlight, investing too much time and worry into shining brightly and "being seen." I have no desire for that anymore. I would rather, simply, reflect Him. So now, I walk in His light and His grace, moving as He leads. Miles and miles for the rest of my days.
HOW THIS ALBUM CAME ABOUT...
God's grace led me here.
With my previous album, Winding Down, I wanted to challenge myself as a composer and a player. I worked deliberately, with purpose and determination, to elevate my work and create a collection of music unlike anything I had done before. In that, I accomplished what I set out to do.
When I sat down to begin work for this new project, I tried this same approach. This time, however, I utterly failed. I didn't have the energy to take on such a task. I was tired, worn out, restless, and the songwriting process was a continuous struggle. I realized the only way I could possibly move forward was to STOP STRIVING. And so... I did. I stopped trying to be "musically clever," stopped overthinking and learned, once again, to just rest at the piano. Once I stopped trying and started trusting, the music began to flow. Easily... like a river running through me. That's what led me here… into the soft light of grace... and to this miracle of an album.
Let us acknowledge the Lord; Let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. - Hosea 6:3
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. - John 3:8
Grace, peace and mercy to you. May you ever be in His light.
- David Nevue, December 2018.
"It's been four years since David Nevue's amazing album, Winding Down, of which I wrote "Winding Down is pianist David Nevue's Pieta, his Mona Lisa, his Aida, his Gone With The Wind, his Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It is his masterpiece, his crown jewel, his pinnacle of artistry. He has poured every ounce of himself into this magnificent record and it shows on every single track and during every minute." As hard as it is for me to believe it, his new release, in the soft light of grace, is easily Winding Down's equal and, in some ways, it eclipses that landmark recording. in the soft light of grace showcases Nevue's three "P's." His passion is evident throughout the thirteen tracks, each note and chord resonate with his depth of feeling (a reading of the intimate liner notes reveals the "why" of this particular aspect). Whether the song requires a deft nuanced touch or a powerful expression of emotion, Nevue's prowess on piano is on display from the first to the final note. However, it is his purpose that shines brightest, as he channels his deep spirituality and conviction to his faith into an outpouring of music that is uniquely his own. Despite the variety of moods, tempos, and motifs which populate in the soft light of grace, there is no mistaking that it is "all of a whole" for this talented yet humble man. I have learned my lesson about stating that any one album is Nevue at his peak, since look where that got me last time! Simply stated, David Nevue continues to compose and perform at a level that will doubtless leave many solo piano fans awestruck at what they hear. One last thing: the digipack features some of the most beautiful, and I mean "hang on a wall gorgeous," photography and all of it was by David Nevue's hand on his evening walks. If he ever gets tired of wowing us with his piano music, I suggest he take photography. I'll be first in line at his first showing if he does."
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 2/25/2019
I have known about solo pianist David Nevue’s music for more than fifteen years. As a matter of fact, he was the first New Age artist I ever saw in a live performance. I have been a fan ever since. As time passed we have both changed, but this is about him. David’s music has artistically metamorphosed from simple, dreamy and hopeful tracks into deep seated and faith based melodies that touch one’s heart on so many levels. And it can only get better from here. In the soft light of grace is David’s sixteenth album. It contains thirteen tracks of contemporary solo piano musings and faith influenced tracks. The music is soft, calming and compelling. There is a new depth and innate beauty to this music. You can hear emotions and colors, stories and Divine inspiration.
Walking in Trust is a song of confidence. Confidence in the belief that you surrender voluntary and without doubts. And it is that confidence that makes you stronger. That allows you to do what needs to be done because your accomplishments are sanctioned by something greater that yourself. A few notes, as in a few small steps, opens the tune. But in the end we hear the whole journey.
The title tune, in the soft light of grace is the next track and a favorite. It begins tentatively, as if one is trying out the sound to see what will happen. Fortunately the melody comes together into a reverie of reverence and a picture of peaceful contemplation. If one could have a quiet celebration, then this would be perfect. The Christian concept of grace is mysterious and fleeting at times. Perhaps it is the tacit approval of one’s choices by an unseen God that is everywhere.
I liked the track title of the next tune, The Wind Blows Where It Wishes. It quite poetic and yet, there is a broodiness to the song that makes it perfect for this inclement spring day. The gray sky subdues the light. Trees sway and bend. Birds hide from the gusty meanderings. Last autumn’s remaining leaves skitter across the ground. David’s music wanders in our minds like that wind, taking things away, and bringing new things in.
Out of Pain, Comes Beauty has a melancholy air about it. A sweet sadness so to speak. David’s tune is, if anything, pensive from his sparing use of notes. Still the theme resonates deep within one’s soul. Not all pain is physical. There is anguish of the heart that tears and rends like unseen teeth and claws. Sometimes the healing takes what seems like forever. But one day, there is it and it is a thing of beauty. Goodbye to the pain.
Of late, David has been taking long walks in the forest. Perhaps Where the Water Flows is the results of that exploration. In his music you can hear the water coursing. You can imagine the ripple of sunlight on water and the steady movement. What you can’t see is the way water changes everything it touches. Land, rocks, and beach are eroded. And in the end, water makes its own course.
Even on the coldest day, the sun tells us we are alive. And even on the darkest night, the stars tell us we have hope. Luminous is Nevue’s musical poem to the power of light. Oh, and there is one more source, the light that comes from within. It burns brighter that any star and it is fueled by faith. The melody is soft and evocative. If there truly is light in music, then this tune glows.
David Nevue is an award winning pianist and composer who makes his home in Eugene, Oregon. He is also a father, a husband, an author and a producer. He wears many hats, but his most comfortable one is probably true believer. His strong connection with faith and family has generated a lot of wondrous music. in the soft light of grace is the culmination of the gifts he has received over the years. Highly recommended.
- reviewed by R J Lannen on 3/16/2019
One of the facts of life for any artist is that difficult times often inspire their best work. One example is David Nevue’s Overcome (2005), which was created out of the emotional journey of losing his father in 2003. David has released many great albums both before and after that, but there is something extra special about Overcome. Similarly, In The Soft Light Of Grace is dedicated to the memory of David’s mother, who passed away last year, but it is also the story of his journey with some health and pain management issues, having his faith tested and restored, and a turning point in his creative life. That’s some pretty heavy stuff and David has been walking several miles a day for the past three years to help come to terms with it through deep thinking, prayer and simply being in nature. In the liner notes of the CD, he describes the various challenges he has been dealing with, bringing his listeners a deeper understanding of where the music comes from. In The Soft Light of Grace is David Nevue’s sixteenth solo piano album (not counting compilations), and I have to say that I think it’s one of his best.
I have reviewed most of David’s albums (and have edited all of his sheet music) and I could tell right away that there was something different about this music. It feels freer, more expressive (not in a flashy way), and even more deeply personal. David says in the liner notes that with his previous album, Winding Down (2015), he set out to challenge himself as a composer and pianist to “elevate my work and create a collection of music unlike anything I had done before. In that, I accomplished what I set out to do.” He says that when it came time to start working on new music, that approach just didn’t work. He realized that the only way he could move forward was to stop “striving” so hard. “Once I stopped trying and started trusting, the music began to flow. Easily…like a river running through me.” Perhaps that’s the difference I am hearing.
The album begins with “Walking In Trust,” a beautifully introspective piece played at an easy walking pace that feels serene and very relaxed. The title track is also very quiet and much of it is played with the damper pedal down, giving it an ethereal feeling. At almost seven minutes, “Equilibrium” is the longest piece on the album. It begins with a quietly bittersweet melody that gradually builds, ebbing and flowing between gentle reflection and more powerful emotions. “The Wind Blows Where It Wishes” is a favorite with its freely changing tempo and expressive movement. “Where The Water Flows” is another favorite, conveying feelings of freedom and varying degrees of power while remaining peaceful. “Luminous” is almost ambient with sustained bass chords and lightly dancing notes in the upper end of the piano - very colorful and evocative. The second half of the piece is somewhat more rhythmic and melodic. This style is something new for Nevue, and I really like it! I love “Unshakeable,” a very gentle but upbeat piece that overflows with joy and optimism - my favorite piece on the album.
I’m sorry David Nevue had to go through such a challenging time, but the musical results are wonderful!
- reviewed by Kathy Parsons, for MainlyPiano.com, on 2/18/2019
David Nevue has been on my musical radar for some nine years now and ever since then, I have been entranced by the beauty of the performances he gives. Nevue is a naturally talented painter of tones and melodies, and here on this new release called In The Soft Light of Grace, that statement is once more emphasised.
This new voyage of solo piano starts with a real anthem of a composition entitled Walking In Trust. The arrangement on its own is superb, the melody is film score standard, and if you ever wanted to start an album off with a piece that will hook the listener in, then this my friends is the one.
Nevue follows that masterpiece up with the ultimate tapestry of delight, the title track and of course entitled In The Soft Light of Grace. The performance here is sublime; it has a gentle overall aspect, one that perhaps is bathed in the early morning mist of a late summer’s day. However there is a deeper resonance to this offering that creates a really moving musical narrative, as if memory is competing with the moment we are currently within.
The perfectly balanced opus Equilibrium is next; there is a certain lightness of touch here employed by the master pianist that is so appealing. This composition seems to flow with the ease of a new born mountain stream and delicately touches each and every musical nuance along the way. This has to be in the top 10 most beautiful tracks I have heard from the Nevue, but then again there are so many, and at well over six and a half minutes this is the longest track off the album too.
As we move towards track four we find something truly special called, In the Quiet Alone. I am a big fan of ambient music, it allows me the time to relax and breathe, and this is exactly what this delightful offering from the artist does for me right here, right now. A slow and deliberate energy abounds here, one that seems to float in-between the tick and tock of the clock, this is ambience personified by Nevue.
The fluency of this next piece is so very charming and called Everpresent. The repeating motif is almost meditative and the overall energy gives forth a feeling, a sense of oneness of spirit. A smoothly played arrangement, with a little elevation of intent can be found here in this simply sublime moment of musical bliss.
We now come across an offering called The Wind Blows Where It Wishes; this is a really moving composition at times, one that for me depicts a certain remorseful content built within the mix of the arrangement. However, as is usual with a Nevue piece, it is perfectly balanced with the essence of positivity, and as the offering continues perhaps it is a reminder to us all that our lives are based on freewill, and like the wind, where ever we allow ourselves to be blown we will.
The gentle and emotive refrains of the next piece wash over me now; it’s called Out of Pain, Comes Beauty. I once spent 6 months of my life disabled by a freak accident and could not walk for most of that time, and in terrible pain, but I did overcome this tragedy and returned a year later to full health. For me this could be another anthem, I could hear this composition being played in my moment of success, as I stood upon a vast hillside and looked down at the world below, and how true is the title, out of pain, comes beauty, and out of determination comes victory.
The depths are about to be plunged into as we listen to this next offering called Where the Water Flows. Nevue is a master of texture and a creator of visual music of great quality and on this piece that is so evident. A powerful composition can be found here, one that twists and turns like a river in full flow. The pauses and space created also by the artist, adds a wonderful extra dimension for us all to get totally lost within, a truly clever offering indeed.
The nocturnal bliss of At Last Night is delightful to listen to, this piece reminds me of when you wake up from a dream in the early hours of the night, a little startled, then as your mind begins to clear, you start to relax again, your body once more falls back into the arms of peaceful rest. This composition is almost like when you give out a deep breath, sigh, shut your eyes and peacefully sleep once more, knowing that all is as it should be, an emphatic performance indeed.
The shortest piece off the album at just less than three minutes is a delicate composition called Heaven Came Down. However that delicacy is balanced perfectly with some of the finest flowing piano I have heard from the artist in years, it is as if he has touched a moment of divine inspiration and just gone for it.
The warmth of this next piece is truly tangible, the title is Luminous and another fine example of the ambient qualities that David Nevue can employ within his music, seemingly at will. There is a real incandescent quality to this track that is so appealing and one that is performed with so much feeling and heart as well.
The penultimate arrangement is a light and happy composition entitled Unshakeable. Nevue has once more created a melody that is remarkable, one that will stay with the listener forever. It is bathed in the energies of strength and purpose, an arrangement built of strong foundations and of great confidence.
The last threshold of the album we must cross now stands before us, called A Dance For Heaven. Nevue has created the perfect parting gift for us all and leaves us with a cheer filled opus that is filled with positivity and a sense of optimism. The performance is here is like dancing under a star filled sky in August, one that is simply breath taking with each and every note played.
In The Soft Light of Grace in my view is Nevue’s best work to date, even surpassing his last release Winding Down, which I wouldn’t have thought possible. This is an album that the vast realms of the solo piano genre will want to rush out and buy. Contained within are 13 superbly performed and produced compositions and each one of them cooked to perfection by a true musical chef of great standing, solo piano doesn’t come any better than this.
- reviewed by Steve Sheppard for One World Music Radio on 4/17/2019
Grace is a concept that runs deeply through many religions. On a spiritual level, it has been said that it is by the grace of God we are blessed. And "grace" can also be defined as "simple elegance or refinement of movement." In David Nevue's album, In the Soft Light of Grace, we have exactly that.
After fifteen albums and a four-year hiatus, the award-winning David Nevue returns to the forefront of the solo piano genre with this sixteenth album comprised of thirteen new compositions. The music is soft, relaxing, yet passionate, wonderfully flowing, and "grace-full."
David is the creator of the Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio Internet radio station, exclusively featuring the music of solo piano artists. He created this network in the early 2000s when there weren't many radio stations broadcasting solo piano, and therefore, not a lot of outlets to get his music, and the solo piano genre, out there and embraced. He was included in a recent Rolling Stone article, as being at the very top of this field, along with a handful of other super successful solo piano artists in this niche.
That said, I suspect I am perhaps one of few people on the planet that have never had the pleasure of listening to any of David Nevue's solo piano works, at least not knowingly. But with such a distinctive style and a highly recognizable name in New Age music, it's hard to know why not. From the opening notes to the very last one, the music on In the Soft Light of Grace is music that gently washes over you like warm ocean waves lapping up to softly kiss you with unforgettable magnificence. It is alive. It is authentic. It is grace.
In any genre, when you're at the very top, as is David Nevue, there can be a lot of pressure to keep topping yourself. Add to that a sequence of experiences on your life journey that may be called "dark night of the soul," and there you have a recipe for something akin to writer's block . . . or more. Along with these pressures, after his last highly successful recording release in 2015, Winding Down, David was weary and experiencing debilitating bouts of vertigo that weren't conducive to him touring or recording.
So, when he first sat down to compose this album, nothing good was happening. It was like forced energy. Deeply spiritual, it is when he decided to "let go and let God," that the music started pouring out of him like balm for the soul. In the soft light of grace is exactly where this album was "born."
Now, there is solo piano and there is SOLO PIANO. In the Soft Light of Grace is the latter. The thirteen melody driven tracks are wonderful, distinctive in style, and polished like fine diamonds, yet not pretentious on any level. The music is velvety smooth, refined, emotive; both heartfelt and heart opening at the same time.
It is very challenging to choose a favorite in this album, and even though I've tried, I don't think I can, because throughout, we are completely bathed and swaddled in the blanket of soft light. This is a very flowing album from start to finish. From the opening track, "Walking in Trust," where we find ourselves more than willing to take that walk, to the exquisite "A Dance for Heaven," the last track, grace surrounds us here and brings comfort and peace to the enervated soul. And I think that is many of us these days.
In the Soft Light of Grace is a "must have" for any music collection. You will want to get the entire album. It is extremely restful, deeply relaxing, deeply peaceful and unforgettably heavenly solo piano at its finest. In fact, I think if we visited heaven this music is exactly what we'd hear there. Yes. David Nevue is back. And we are blessed.
MORE Reviews of this album at Amazon.com.