A musical philanthropist for much of his long career, self-described "rural folk piano" enthusiast George Winston has applied his considerable skills to compositions in support of everything from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the world-altering events of September 11, 2001. Spring Carousel finds Winston supporting a cause that hits a little closer to home. In 2015 he underwent a successful bone marrow transplant to combat myelodysplastic syndrome, an illness that can often lead to leukemia, that he had been battling since 2012. Proceeds from the album would be donated to the City of Hope National Medical Center, a leading cancer research center based in Southern California. Not so much a song cycle as it is a broad meditation on illness and recovery, the 15-track set simmers with the easy benevolence and quiet soulfulness that has been Winston's forte since the early '80s -- by the time the listener arrives at the dulcet dual closers "Rekindling Love" and "Requited Love," it's clear that for Winston, the light at the end of the tunnel was never a train. There is the occasional flash of melancholy to be heard, with pieces like "Many Clocks" and "Carousel 2" hinting at some dark nights and unavoidable abyss staring, but for the most part, Spring Carousel is part and parcel with seasonal Winston touchstones like Winter Into Spring and Summer, and just as comforting.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger