Bill Mize

Tender Explorations

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Mize has perfected his technique and greatly improved his compositional skills, leading to a collection that is gorgeous and compelling. While the overall mood of the album is thoughtful and provocative, "The Road Scholar" provides an upbeat, exciting tune to begin the album, and its driving joyfulness makes it one of Mize's most rewarding compositions. "Freefall," which Mize describes as the soundtrack to a meteor shower, also demonstrates his ability to play upbeat, melodic tunes without sounding rushed or forced. The other songs tend to be quieter, beautifully evoking scenes from Mize's Appalachian home with melodies that are simple yet memorable. Mize uses a variety of techniques to develop these songs, and is particularly adept at the use of harmonics to color his work. This is particularly evident on a nice cover of Stephen Foster's "Hard Times" and the driving, turbulent "Miasma," the darkest piece on the collection. Mize includes guest musicians Ed Gerhard and Martha Jacobs on three pieces, and his interplay with them is encouraging for future collaborative efforts. A beautiful album.

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