Open Sky (2013)

Open Sky is one of David's most diverse albums... a musical expression of freedom, exploration and the exhilaration that comes from seeing and experiencing new things. It's the perfect music for the open road... The album includes thirteen original compositions plus David's arrangements of "Scarborough Fair," "The Water is Wide," "For the Beauty of the Earth" and "Morning Has Broken." Nominated: "Best Solo Piano Album of 2013" by One World Music.

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Album Liner Notes by David Nevue...

I have always been rather prolific when it comes to writing music. No matter where I am in life or how busy I am, I can't seem to stop the flow of new material that comes bursting from my soul. So even though I spent most of my creative time between 2005 and 2009 arranging and recording hymns and praise songs for my Adoration and Revelation album projects, I continued to compose my own original music on the side. By 2010, I had a stockpile of original works that I was anxious to record and release.

Songs from that "stockpile" finally started to see the light of day in 2011 when I announced A Delicate Joy, a cheerful album of light, bright music. That album featured all the "sweet, peaceful, happily-ever-after" style tunes that I had composed (but not released) up to that point. Once that was finished, I was left with a dozen songs that didn't fit into the Delicate Joy concept... songs that were more driving, edgy, experimental and even melancholy. It's those remaining compositions (plus a few new ones) that now make up this album, Open Sky.

Open Sky begins with the title track, which to me feels a little like the "Wild, Wild West." It's a song about freedom, exploration and the exhilaration that comes from seeing and experiencing new things. I picture myself out on the open road, driving with the windows down, enjoying The Sound of Sunshine and the amazing landscape around me. It is a celebration of those "wide awake moments" when you feel truly alive, almost as if you were somehow standing a little closer to heaven.

Dragonflies and Butterfly Dance are basically musical paintings. Two flying creatures, two very different moods. When our family visited the Badlands in South Dakota, dragonflies flitted about everywhere, zipping to and fro. Dragonflies is an attempt to capture that cadence. As for Butterfly Dance, during a visit to Yellowstone, I watched a butterfly dance its way around a dozen boiling, steaming mud pits. That picturesque moment stayed with me. Butterflies are such carefree creatures.

For the Beauty of the Earth is a hymn arrangement and the first of four "cover songs" on the album. The tune just struck me one day and I started exploring it on the piano. It seemed appropriate to include. Forgotten Places takes me back a few years to when I took my family on a self-guided tour of abandoned churches and ghost towns in Eastern Oregon. There's something quite sobering about visiting places that have faded away into history. As you walk among the empty, broken buildings, you can almost feel the weight of time.

Undertow was composed in 1987 and was originally part of a soundtrack I wrote (on synthesizer) for a theater production of C.S. Lewis' book, "The Screwtape Letters." I've always liked the energy of the piece, and decided it was high time to reinvent it for solo piano.

I first performed Scarborough Fair as an improvisation with two other pianists at a concert in Albuquerque, NM. I liked what I came up with so much, I just had to keep working on it. It's really fun to play! As for Summer Rain, it reminds me of my time living in Colorado, and those summer afternoon storms that would quickly appear, pour down rain and lightning, and then disappear all in the space of about an hour.

Distant Thunder is an improvisation left over from my Revelation recording sessions. I've only ever played the “song” once and that was purely by accident. I just happened to be recording when the "accident" happened. When my wife heard the tune, she commented that she could hear distant thunder in the piece. I thought that was the perfect image for it.

Twister is a real challenge to perform. You can't fake your way through the song or play it half-heartedly. It only works if you go for it! One of my happiest achievements with this album was to finally get a recording of Twister that I was mostly satisfied with. Swirling and intense, it's a real finger-twister!

The Water is Wide is my take on the traditional English melody. I've always liked the tune. Haunting, dreamy and pensive.

Dark Afternoon was composed in the late 1990's. The tune was originally called Nails as it represents Jesus' dark afternoon on the cross. The composition was part of a musical Passion Play that I performed on a few occasions for Easter and Lent. An early recording of this song was released in 2002 on a short-run CD called Foreshadows. Only a few copies of that CD were ever made, so if you happen to own one, treasure it. It's very rare.

Echo Canyon is the newest piece on this collection, written just a week before I went into the studio to record this album. I was noodling around on the piano and my son walked in and said "I really like that... what is it?" I told him I was just messing around. Five minutes later my daughter walked in and said the exact same thing. At that point, I decided to try recording the song. The key to this composition working at all are the dynamics. They add a sense of mystery, power and purpose. To me, it feels like walking in a very ancient, remote place. Thus, the title.

Stargazing takes me back to a late night road trip across the Utah desert with my family. The night sky was as clear as I'd ever seen it, so I pulled off the highway onto a secluded road and woke up the kids. We all got out of the car and marveled at the starry, starry sky.

I started writing Eclipse around 2006. I was showing the chord progression to my friend (and fellow pianist) Joe Bongiorno when he joined me at the piano and began improvising a melody over the top of what I was playing. That melody stuck with me... and changed the tune forever. It left me with two variations of the song; my "original" version and a "four hand" version (as played with Joe.) In the end, I combined the two versions, arranging the piece so that it could be played with just two hands (otherwise, how could I ever play it?) This hybrid is the result.

Finally, I was asked to play Morning Has Broken for a wedding and worked up this rendition. While I've never been partial to this particular song, I sure enjoy playing this arrangement. It's got a little edge to it. A fitting finale for the album, I think.

That sums it up. I really hope you enjoy this collection. It's been a long, long labor of love.

- David Nevue, April 2013.

Album Reviews...

Industry Reviews...

"Open Sky" is pianist Nevue's eagerly awaited new album consisting largely of original compositions. It was well worth the wait, because the 17 (!!) tracks on this album are uniformly beautiful. What has always set Nevue apart from other contemporary pianists is his strong sense of melody and the way he develops themes musically. Unlike much of the usual new age blandness, Nevue's works have melodies that haunt you long after you have finished listening to the album. His pieces range from those conveying sheer delight in tone to quieter, sadder pieces. "Forgotten Places," for example, conveys a brooding mysteriousness reminiscent of his earlier work on "Overcome." "Echo Canyon" starts simply but then repeats its theme with driving urgency, and "Undertow" possesses an ominous tone fitting well its name. Other tracks on the album, though, are more joyful, e.g. "Butterfly Dance," "Summer Rain," and "Stargazing." My favorite piece on the album is probably the title track, "Open Sky," which layers a delicate melody line over a gently swinging bass, leading to an eminently hummable chorus. The change in key near the end of the piece suggests the opening of possibilities as broad as the sky itself.

Included on the album are covers of four traditional songs, all arranged in his distinctive style. His "Scarborough Fair"--one of the strongest tracks on the album--is the best solo piano arrangement of the song I have ever heard, heart-achingly poignant and sweet, and considering how much that song is covered, that's saying quite a lot. I also particularly enjoyed how he added a bridge to "Morning Has Broken" that gave the piece a unique flare.

Pianists may be interested to hear that Nevue has accurate sheet music transcriptions of most of his earlier work available for purchase on his website ( singly or in packages, and he will presumably be adding sheet music for these new pieces. His music ranges in difficulty from exceedingly easy (suitable for beginners with only a few months' experience) to exceedingly hard, and one section of his website ranks the pieces in terms of difficulty, so pianists of all levels will be able to find something they can play.

Nevue is one of my favorite composers for solo piano, and this album exceeds my already high expectations. If you like the music of George Winston, David Lanz, and Jim Brickman, I am confident you will like this album.

- reviewed by Monika Kern, on 5/23/2013

"Open Sky" is the much-anticipated fourteenth solo piano album from David Nevue, and I truly believe this is his best work to date. The seventeen tracks on this album were composed over a fairly long period of time and show a more dynamic and darker side of Nevue's composing style. His 2011 A Delicate Joy was a collection of light, joyful music and Open Sky goes into an entirely different direction. Not all of the pieces are dark or somber, though, so the album has an emotional balance. Four tracks are original cover arrangements and the other thirteen are original compositions. The CD also has an impressive booklet that includes extensive liner notes about the inspiration for each piece as well as photos by Nevue and his wife, Julie - a beautiful package! Some of the music on this album is more experimental than music Nevue has released in the past, and some of it has a more spontaneous, improvised feeling. Recorded at Joe Bongiorno's Piano Haven Studio, the piano sound is perfect - warm, rich, and soulful.

"Open Sky" begins with the title track, a piece about freedom, exploration, and the exhilaration that comes from seeing and experiencing new things. The rhythmic energy of this piece gives it a sense of movement and of having fun. I love Nevue's description of "The Sound of Sunshine": "a celebration of those `wide awake moments' when you feel truly alive, almost as if you were somehow standing a little closer to heaven." "Butterfly Dance" was inspired while watching a butterfly "dance" its way around the steaming mud pits in Yellowstone - very light and free. The classic hymn "For The Beauty of the Earth" is given a make-over that renders it fresh and revitalized. "Forgotten Places" came from a family exploration of abandoned churches and ghost towns in Eastern Oregon. Feelings of loss and nostalgia for what went before make this a haunting and stirring piece - a favorite. I also love the lively, but somewhat ominous "Undertow." Nevue's melancholy take on "Scarborough Fair" is my favorite arrangement of this song since Simon and Garfunkle's classic recording. "Distant Thunder" is quite different from anything Nevue has released to date. An improvisation from an earlier recording session, the piece is ambient and atmospheric rather than melodic and makes an excellent lead-in to what could become Nevue's new signature piece, "Twister." Dark and mysterious with an infectious, swirling left hand rhythm, I can't wait for the sheet music for this one! I get a little tired of "The Water Is Wide," but Nevue's simple, heartfelt take on the beautiful melody has made me appreciate it again. "Dark Afternoon" is my favorite track. Composed as part of a Passion Play, it represents Jesus' dark afternoon on the cross. Slow and spare, the notes sound easy enough, but the emotional impact is essential - gorgeous! "Echo Canyon" is dark and mysterious in a different way. The rhythmic left hand sets a tone that conveys a sense of majesty. "Eclipse" is a soulful and introspective piece inspired in part by an improvised duet with Joe Bongiorno - this one makes my fingers itch, too. Great stuff! Open Sky closes with Nevue's sweet and gentle arrangement of "Morning Has Broken."

Wow, what a great album! I give it my highest recommendation!

- reviewed by Kathy Parsons, for, on 6/1/2013

For a pianist, having your music compared to the likes of George Winston, David Lanz, or Jim Brickman, can be a lot to live up to. For David Nevue, however, that accolade is not without merit. I've known of his music for years and have had the pleasure of writing about his previous release, "A Delicate Joy." Now, in 2013, David has recently released his "Open Sky" album, which he sees as one of his most diverse yet, including thirteen original compositions plus arrangements of "Scarborough Fair," "The Water is Wide," "For the Beauty of the Earth" and "Morning Has Broken." The first song on the album is the title track, which has a wonderful sense of lightheartedness and openness that drew me right in from the start. I liked the way David's left hand anchored the song with a repeating pattern while the right hand deftly explored the melodic terrain. This was an excellent choice for an opening track.

I loved the lightness and luminosity of a song called "The Sound of Sunshine," which David refers to as "a celebration of those "wide awake moments" when you feel truly alive, almost as if you were somehow standing a little closer to heaven." Its not surprising that there is an air of spirituality that comes through in David's music, being the person of deep and abiding faith that he is. While David sometimes reveals his abilities with brilliant and intricate compositions, his talent is also reflected in songs like "Butterfly Dance," whose brilliance lies in its simplicity and understatement. Another track, which I liked very much, was "Distant Thunder." What stood out to me about this one was the way that David emphasized the space between the notes and phrases, as much as the notes themselves, evoking the distance referenced in the song's title. In the expanding galaxy of solo piano artists, the combination of technique, feeling, and vision that David Nevue brings to his music illuminates him as one of the shining stars of the genre.

- reviewed by Michael Diamond, for Music and Media Focus on 8/13/2013

Each of the CDs by pianist David Nevue that I have reviewed has been solid, but this, his fourteenth release, is his best by far.

In his press release, Nevue says that his goal with this album was to create music that transcends the standard piano music genre. Nevue has accomplished this goal in spades.

Overall, the music on the disc doesn't sound like typical solo piano music. Without knowing Nevue's exact process, it sounds to me like he composed the music simply as music and used the piano to realize his compositions. The result is music that is haunting and evocative, a perfect soundtrack for nocturnal sojourns. I can see Nevue composing orchestral music or otherwise that doesn't have keyboards or synthesizers as the focus, if at all.

All of the seventeen tracks are exceptional, but three truly stand out - interpretations of the Simon & Garfunkel classic "Scarborough Fair" and the English hymn "Morning Has Broken" made popular by Cat Stevens, and the striking original "Summer Rain."

This is not simply piano music. It's music pure and simple, and good music at that.

- reviewed by Raj Manoharan for The RajMan Review on 11/24/2013

A Selection of Buyer Reviews posted at

"This new collection of solo piano pieces has such amazing emotional depth and beauty. Even my teenage daughter who has QUITE different musical taste remarked how beautiful the music we were listening to was during a recent car ride together. My favorites from this latest collection are Forgotten Places, Dark Afternoon and Echo Canyon all of which convey a somewhat haunting and melancholy feel to the listener. Clearly this latest collection contains some of the best musical compositions and overall solo piano performances of the past several years."

"David Nevue never disappoints. If you are a fan, you get what you expect: Really good music. If you've never listened to his work before but enjoy new age piano, you will become a fan very quickly. I have several of his cd's. In my house, in my car, on my computer, my kindle----you get the picture."

"I have bought a few of his CDs here at Amazon. First of all, I love his music, and I also buy his music sheets to learn to play it on the piano. Open Sky is the latest of my collection and I am playing it over and over and over again. It has nothing to do with the technology of the CD, it has everything to do with David's music and it is amazing!"

"I just discovered David's music and I'm in love. It speaks to my soul. Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift."

More Customer Reviews of this album at

Track List / Album Preview...