Vin Downes | Unlike the Stars

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Unlike the Stars

by Vin Downes

This is the third release from fingerstyle guitarist Vin Downes. "Unlike the Stars" was recorded with Grammy Award winning producer Will Ackerman and co-producer/engineer Tom Eaton at Imaginary Road Studios in Windham County, Vermont.
Genre: New Age: New Age
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Tracks

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1. Where I Began
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4:26 $0.99
2. Riverbend
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3:30 $0.99
3. Dark Blue Wind
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3:34 $0.99
4. Departure
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4:34 $0.99
5. All We Ever Wanted
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4:27 $0.99
6. Unlike the Stars
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4:52 $0.99
7. Skies and Openings
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4:51 $0.99
8. Window, Looking Back
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2:55 $0.99
9. Unweaving
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4:06 $0.99
10. What Falls Away
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4:55 $0.99
11. Turning Years
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4:53 $0.99
12. Window, Looking Back (Solo)
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13. Turning Years (Alternate Mix)
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4:47 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Vin Downes' third release, “Unlike the Stars”, is a musical dream come true. It has given him the opportunity to write and record with Grammy Award winning producer Will Ackerman and co-producer/engineer Tom Eaton at Imaginary Road Studios. Guests Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton, Eugene Friesen, Tony Levin and David Watson join Downes on this CD consisting of eleven songs. These songs are emotional, expressive and show off Downes’ musical voice.

“Vin Downes is such a brilliant guitarist and such a heart-felt composer that it leaves little room for the producer to do much except try to convince himself that he was indispensible. I wasn’t. Vin is a consummate player who draws upon a wide range of styles. The marvelous thing is that his musical voice is unique enough and powerful enough to hold these different threads together seamlessly. His abilities as a player create an even broader palate from which to draw in his performances. This is as impressive a recording as one could hope for.” ~ Will Ackerman


Reviews


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Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
Vin Downes has released three albums to date, including his brand new one, Unlike the Stars. His new release, however, takes it to the next level and provided him an opportunity to write and record with Grammy winning producer and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman at his famed Imaginary Roads Studio in Vermont – a facility that has seen some of the finest musicians in the world pass through its doors. And speaking of which, a number of them were special guest accompanists on this recording. Right from the opening track, I could tell that Vin has a well-crafted sense of dynamics, which creates an artful balance between his sometimes-intricate fingerstyle technique and the use of space. I quite liked the chord progressions he used which I found emotionally evocative. A more wistful air is felt on “Dark Blue Wind,” a solo piece with a haunting melody. One thing I was aware of in listening to Vin’s fretwork is how between creating a bass line on the low E string, and complex finger picking patterns on the other strings, it often sounds like more than one guitar playing. On a track called “Departure,” however, there actually is more than one guitar playing – in this case, Will Ackerman himself. Tony Levin, who is well known for his work with Peter Gabriel, adds his bass as well. It’s a peaceful pastoral tune highlighted by exquisite interplay and echoes the classic Windham Hill sound that so many know and love. Cellist Eugene Friesen, who is best known as a member of The Paul Winter Consort, accompanies Vin on the album’s title track and his sensitive playing is always a welcome addition.

While Vin’s guitar playing is impressive and can range from understated to dazzling, I am equally impressed with his skills as a composer. He has a wonderful sense of composition that brims with emotional content. I love the many different spaces he explores, not only from one track to the next, but even within the boundaries of a single song. I must reiterate that his use of dynamics is impeccable, and I appreciated how he uses space to allow a composition to breathe. Watching a music video of Vin playing, I am most impressed by how effortless he makes it look.

To read a full length review of this CD, as well as others, please visit: www.michaeldiamondmusic.com

Serge Kozlovsky

Writings by Serge Kozlovsky / http://sergekozlovsky.com
Each person has a gift
It’s like a diamond
You only should reveal it

It happened! A new bright star has lit up in the sky of the new age and acoustic music genres. The transparent and multi-dimensional guitar tunes of Vin Downes touch the soul from the very first chords, and one wants to soar with these very emotional and impressive compositions.

You feel as if your entire room is filled with divine sounds of Vin Downes’ guitar. It speaks with you, it finds the response in the depths of your soul. The guitar of the artist has its own very expressive voice. And at the same time incredible easiness is felt in the music of Vin Downes.

“Unlike the Stars” was produced by Grammy Award winner Will Ackerman and co-produced, recorded and mixed by Tom Eaton at Imaginary Road Studios. Brilliant performers Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton, Eugene Friesen, Tony Levin and David Watson joined Vin Downes on this album. Their instrumental parts help elegantly to emphasize the distinct style of the skilful guitarist.

What more can I say? My review comes to its end and I have to put a dot, but after that I’ll be listening to this amazing album one more and one more time…

Raj Manoharan (www.rajmanreviews.blogspot.com)

The RajMan Review
Acoustic guitarist Vin Downes' third album is up for Best New Age Album in the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, and deservedly so.

This is one of the best acoustic guitar albums out there; it flows beautifully from beginning to end, with nary a dud on the track list.

This is a testament to Downes' craftsmanship as a composer and his skill as a guitarist. Every chord and note is rapturous, and the sound is lush and luxurious thanks to the studio acumen of producer Will Ackerman and recording engineer Tom Eaton.

Grammy winner Ackerman contributes additional guitar to one track, with other guest turns throughout by bass impressario Tony Levin, cellist Eugene Friesen, and flutist David Watson. Friesen's cello and Watson's flutes blend very nicely with Downes' guitar, by the way.

This is more than just a great guitar record – this is great music, period.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Unlike the Stars" is the third release from fingerstyle guitarist and composer Vin Downes, and what a beauty it is! Downes’ first two albums were independent releases, but this one became a dream-come-true for Downes when the opportunity arose to write and record with Grammy Award-winning producer and fellow guitarist Will Ackerman at his Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont. Several of the eleven tracks are solo acoustic guitar and some have contributions from Ackerman, Eugene Friesen, Tom Eaton, Tony Levin, and David Watson.

Downes began his guitar studies at the age of eleven - at first with electric guitar, but when he started listening to Windham Hill guitar samplers, he changed to acoustic. Strongly influenced by the Windham Hill artists of the late 1980’s, Downes went on to earn a degree in classical guitar performance and music eduction at William Paterson University in New Jersey. He has been an award-winner in the Great American Song Contest and several of his pieces have been used in the soundtrack for the PBS series"Roadtrip Nation."

"Unlike the Stars" begins with “Where I Began,” a gentle, introspective piece that seems to reflect on simpler and more carefree times in life, setting the mood for a great hour of music. Tony Levin appears on bass in this piece, but his part is very subtle. “Riverbend” would be perfect in a soundtrack, evoking images of rural life on a river - a slice of musical Americana. I really like “Dark Blue Wind,” which is more introspective and melancholy - a beautiful and emotional exploration. “Departure” includes Ackerman on guitar and Levin on bass, suggesting musical images of simpler and more innocent times and places. The title track is a quiet and poignant duet for guitar and cello (Friesen) - another favorite! There are two versions of “Window, Looking Back.” The first is a duet with David Watson on flute and the second is solo guitar - both are gorgeous! “Unweaving” picks up the tempo a bit for a more light-hearted first movement; the second movement becomes somewhat more stately but is far from stiff or formal; the third returns to a carefree, easy-going mood - love it! There are also two versions of “Turning Years”: a lightly jazz-flavored duet with Watson on alto flute and an alternate solo guitar mix that is soothing, relaxed, and contented - a perfect ending for a wonderful guitar album!

I expect "Unlike the Stars" to be the break-out album for Vin Downes, a great musical storyteller who has no need for words. Very highly recommended!