David’s ninth CD, Overcome is a response to the loss of his father to cancer in 2003. However, this album is not about sadness nor sorrow, but rather a testimony to the spiritual process of passing through it. On Overcome, Nevue includes his arrangements of five hymns and praise songs as well as ten new pieces and a new arrangement of his trademark song, “The Vigil.” WINNER: "Best Instrumental Piano Album of 2005" at the LifeStyle Music Awards..
Artist's Commentary on the Music...
The title track, OVERCOME, is a musical expression of intense, unspeakable emotion. WINTER WALK is solo piano rendition of one of my earliest songs, originally recorded with vocals, depicting a long walk home in the cold of winter. TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE is an arrangement of the traditional hymn by Henri A. C. Malan, the words of which reflect my own heart and prayer. VARIATIONS is simply a “mood piece.” TREASURE FALLS, Colorado, is where I was the moment my father passed away. Hiking near the waterfall, I took a photo of a solitary leaf (see left panel) that caught my eye. Unbeknownst to me, several states away, my father had just taken his last breath. That photo of a “fallen treasure” has become very symbolic and meaningful to me. BROKEN is a condition we sometimes must reach before we finally, truly, turn our circumstances over to God. AS THE DEER is an arrangement of the popular worship chorus taken from Psalm 42. THE VIGIL is an updated version of the composition of the same name from my fourth CD, The Vigil. A MOMENT LOST is a song about regret, for things that should have been said or done but were not due to a lack of courage or conviction. WHEN THE HARD RAINS COME is about taking shelter under God’s grace and mercy while waiting out the storm (see Psalm 91). PSALM 5 is an interpretation of the popular worship chorus of the same name by the late Bill Sprouse, Jr. WORDS LEFT UNSAID is a lament. WALKING IN SHADOW is based on Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” THERE IS A REDEEMER is an arrangement of the praise song made by popular by Keith Green. THE OLD COUNTRY CHURCH was composed for my father, who loved good-time gospel music. IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL is an arrangement of the popular hymn by Philip P. Bliss. A fitting end to a difficult journey.
My prayer is that this album will be an encouragement to those of you who feel overwhelmed by your present situation. May the music carry you from a place of pain to a place of peace, from anger to acceptance, and from spiritual confusion to certainty.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. - Jesus, from Revelation 2:7
My father was a street preacher and evangelist to Kenya and Uganda. To say he had a strong personality would be a major understatement. He was a powerful presence, fearless in the face of persecution and determined beyond all opposition to preach the good news about Jesus to anyone who would listen. In Africa, they affectionately called him "Brother Hallelujah." It was a fitting title for the bold man of faith he was.
In late 2002, my father was diagnosed with cancer. Over the next year, my mother, wife and I watched him slowly wither away. As his son, I said my good-byes, but aside from that I had little to say. Words didn’t seem sufficient and my emotions were too scattered to speak or make sense of aloud. On October 8, 2003, my father went to be with Jesus.
It was during these difficult months that the conceptual framework for this album came to be. I tell you this not to elicit your sympathy, but to help you understand the emotional context from which this album was born. I also want to emphasize that the focus of this album is NOT sadness or sorrow, but rather, the process of passing through it.
The Apostle Paul summed up this process well in his letter to the Romans:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. - Romans 5:1-5
Suffering is a process and has a purpose. What this album represents, to me personally, is the humble and prayerful acceptance of that purpose. It’s a musical exploration of both tested faith and patient hope.
I chose the title Overcome for this album because of its two-fold meaning. One can be overcome by this fallen, broken world, or one can choose to do the overcoming. The line between the two is very small, indeed. I choose to overcome, as my father "the preacher" did. He set an example of faith for me that I will always cherish, for he loved and served his Lord Jesus to the end of his days.
Yes, weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
- David Nevue, September, 2004
I remember watching David Nevue perform once. An attentive group of people witnessed a great transformation as he sat at the big piano with a small spotlight on his face. We would soon know how much he was illuminated from within. His concentration was visibly intense, his mood serious and his gestures betrayed his passion. That was the word that came to mind that summer evening and still does today as I listened to his latest album Overcome. Passion. The new album incorporates not only David’s fervor for life and family, but his unquestionable reliance on his faith. The new piano works are a mix of traditional hymns, faith inspired solos, and new pieces that reflect David’s obsession with life and all of its aspects. The music is moody and moving, happy and pensive. And above all impassioned.
The title tune Overcome has David’s familiar tinkling-twinkling intro. Then the melody matures into a powerful song of emotion and celebration. That’s what great music does to your heart. Like a religion, it seeps into your being and your soul and gives you purpose and a zest for living. Music is a grace.
One of my favorites on Overcome is a delightful light tune called Winter Walk. Where I live the snow falls in big puffy flakes. For some strange reason it falls mostly at night. You wake to a white, fluffy gift the next morning. And for some other strange reason it disappears the next day. You have to appreciate what the day brings you. This song is the soundtrack for the snowfall.
Take My Life and Let it Be is a remarkable piece. The melody was familiar to me from a long time ago. Written as a prayer in the middle 1800s, its power and strength are just as potent today. Words and prayers last forever. This is an instrumental piece of course, but this stanza from the lyrics seems to suit David quite well.
Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose,
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Another notable tune is called Broken. It seems to me to be a bit moody and yet I was drawn to it several times. It is the sound of surrender. Not the act of giving in, but giving over to something. A belief, a hope, perhaps a new path.
The Vigil is the best cut on the album. Lots of strong melody here with complexities surrounding a passionate theme. It is a holdover from one of David’s previously released albums of the same name. It seems as though every waking moment of our lives is spent in vigil. We watch and we wait for something extraordinary to happen. Sometimes it does, but it just takes a squint of the eyes or heart to see it happening.
The final cut, It Is Well with My Soul is a hymn by Philip Bliss with words by Horatio Spafford. The hymn was written after great tragedy struck Spafford’s life in 1875. He was stirred to write these poignant words despite his encounter with catastrophe.
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
David’s heartrending interpretation is inspiring for its uplifting approach to a melancholy score. Surely we can not assume that his talent just comes out of the blue, can we?
David Nevue is the mastermind behind Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio and the traveling Whisperings Solo Piano Concert series. He is one of the strongest promoters of independent music on the internet. He has more than nine album attributed to him and his talent seems to have no end. Not only is he inspired, but his music is truly inspiring to others.
- RJ Lannen, New Age Reporter
Creating a solo piano CD is kind of like creating a web page, it's like a drop in the ocean... there are so many out there. Don't get me wrong, I "love" good solo piano music, and you'll find many good piano soloists on the Smiling Ear Internet Radio. But to achieve a great recording, the combination of good song writing, good playing and good sound quality can be very difficult to achieve. It's just you and the piano... and that's it!
A recent artist that really impressed me and is being played on the Smiling Ear is David Nevue and his CD "Overcome". Like many new piano soloists, David was influenced by George Winston and if you enjoy George Winston, you'll most likely enjoy David's CD "Overcome". But David has his own unique style. His compositions are introspective and very tender. His piano playing technique is outstanding and simply wonderful to listen to.
The title track, "Overcome" is one of my favorites followed by "Winter Walk". Both of these tracks have a very delicate quality, but are also quite powerful. You'll find that David's work can envoke many emotions. "The Vigil" is another stand out track along with "It is Well With My Soul". All the songs on the CD are very good. Listening to the entire CD was extremely relaxing, and my wife and I continuously enjoy listening to this CD at the end of a busy day... or starting a new one. It has a very calming quality to it, and I highly recommend "Overcome" as a welcome addition to your soothing collection of music.
- Steven Parente, Producer - Smiling Ear Internet Radio "Sounds for the Soul"
“Overcome” is David Nevue’s ninth solo piano CD, and comes from the emotional journey of losing his father to cancer in the fall of 2003. Nevue emphasizes in the liner notes that the focus of the album is not sadness or sorrow, but the process of passing through it. A deeply religious man, and the son of a street preacher/evangelist known as “Brother Hallelujah” to those he preached to in Africa, Nevue includes his arrangements of five hymns and praise songs as well as ten new pieces and a new arrangement of “The Vigil,” which was the title track of his 1999 CD and the piece he opens every performance with. Several of the pieces are very intense and convey the mix of emotions that comes with the death of a loved one. Some are quite dark, but the hymns bring light and a sense of healing. The last two tracks are much more upbeat and peaceful, having “overcome” the grieving process and making it through to the other side.
The title track is a very dark, powerful piece, full of deep emotion - one of Nevue’s best, I think. “Winter Walk” is another favorite. The crystalline opening notes in the upper register are chilly and clear. The rest of the piece is more introspective with the leisurely pace of a long walk to think things through and to just let yourself feel. The feeling is very sad, but not without hope. “Treasure Falls” is another beauty, although it is much lighter in feel. Alternately introspective and almost dancelike, it reflects a contrast of emotions. “Broken” is again very solemn and deeply emotional, as are “A Moment Lost” and “When the Hard Rains Come.” “Words Left Unsaid” is another favorite. Nevue calls it “a lament,” and the sense of regret is palpable. “Walking In Shadow” is based on a verse from the 23rd Psalm, and is very dark, indeed, but a feeling of hope breaks through in passages, again contrasting some very different emotions. “The Old Country Church” was composed for Nevue’s father, who loved good-time gospel music. It isn’t exactly joyful, but as the song develops, it is going in that direction. Nevue’s arrangements include a lovely version of “As the Deer” as well as his personal interpretations of “It Is Well With My Soul,” “Take My Life and Let It Be,” “There Is a Redeemer,” and “Psalm 5.”
As an artist, David Nevue keeps reaching new heights by setting his life experience and faith to music. His music is not complicated or flashy, but comes from deep within, letting us know him and his heart in a way that words would never do. “Overcome” is amazing in its candor and openness. Very highly recommended!
- Kathy Parsons, Solo Piano Publications
For me, reviewing deeply personal albums (i.e., albums that artists record which are intensely personal in nature) is never easy. I have to be sure I can evaluate the music on its own terms, but I also try to take into account what the artist is going through by making music that has its inception in a particularly moving event or person in his/her life. In the case of Overcome, the task is doubly daunting, since David Nevue's excellent album is basically the musical version of the grieving process over his beloved father's death. Having lost my own father, I also had to filter out as much of my grief as possible. With all that out of the way, I can happily report (although happily is a poor choice of words, I suppose) that Overcome is one of the better piano releases of recent memory. Carefully and artistically nuanced, the artist balances dramatic and powerful pieces with subdued tone poems that are emotionally more ambiguous, as well as including some interpretations of hymns and songs of worship. The overall effect of the CD blends reflection and introspection with occasions where Nevue's pain and loss come through via more dramatic and forceful melodies and playing. Nothing here is particularly light or cheery, of course, although per the liner notes, Nevue has reached not just an acceptance of his father's death, but a degree of triumph since, in his words, "I also want to emphasize that the focus of this album is NOT sadness or sorrow, but rather, the process of passing through it."
The album opens with the uptempo but darkly tinted title track and through the remaining fifteen tracks crosses through moments of quiet somberness ("winter walk"), gentle nostalgia ( the hymn "take my life and let it be"), delicate George Winston-like melodicism ("treasure falls"), dramatic intensity ("the vigil"), warm yet sad new age sensibility ("words left unsaid"), gospel-ish low-key spirituality ("the old country church") and closes with peaceful serenity and a dash of joy ("it is well with my soul").
Technically, as with other David Nevue recordings I've heard, engineering and production are excellent. The piano sounds rich and clear, with particular attention to the high end, in my opinion. Artistically, while I didn't "like" Overcome as much as Nevue's previous effort, Sweet Dreams and Starlight, I think it's an excellent album and certainly one I can recommend, provided the listener can handle the emotional weight of the album's concept and intent. It's not an easy listen sometimes, but not because of any fault of the music, but rather the unflinching gaze that the artist has trained on his own inner self. Baring one's soul seldom comes easy, but in David Nevue's case, he has done so with grace and beauty and also uncompromising integrity and honesty. Overcome is a boldly personal musical statement from an artist of talent and vision.
- Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire Magazine
"The Overcome CD is excellent. I've played it about a dozen times in the past 3-4 days and we love it. Interestingly enough, my teenage daughters really like it, and that makes me smile because I've wanted them to have a deeper appreciation for piano. I been frustrated for a good while because I hadn't taken the time to look for a solo piano that fit my taste. I have a few George Winston CD's and CD's by a couple of other artists but they did not hit the mark like your Overcome CD. I could not be more pleased. I intend on ordering other CD's by you as I can afford."
MORE Reviews of this album at Amazon.com.