American River

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Jonathan Elias, a musician-composer who is as at home penning TV and film music as he is working with symphony orchestras and pop acts such as Yes, looks to the natural world for inspiration on American River, finding life lessons and a musical muse in the image of a flowing, ever-renewing river. Fittingly, much of Elias's music on the album ripples like a gentle stream and owes a debt to the hypnotic pulsations and slowly shifting harmonies of Steve Reich and the other early Minimalists -- the delicate percussion on tracks such as "Crossing Rivers" is especially reminiscent of their music. Mix in the motor rhythms of bluegrass and Appalachian fiddling and add a subtle ...
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08/24/2004 CD BRAND NEW! Fast Shipping! Tracking included! 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed! ! ! Brand New, Fast Shipping, Satisfaction Guaranteed! ! ! Satisfaction Guaranteed!

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Jonathan Elias, a musician-composer who is as at home penning TV and film music as he is working with symphony orchestras and pop acts such as Yes, looks to the natural world for inspiration on American River, finding life lessons and a musical muse in the image of a flowing, ever-renewing river. Fittingly, much of Elias's music on the album ripples like a gentle stream and owes a debt to the hypnotic pulsations and slowly shifting harmonies of Steve Reich and the other early Minimalists -- the delicate percussion on tracks such as "Crossing Rivers" is especially reminiscent of their music. Mix in the motor rhythms of bluegrass and Appalachian fiddling and add a subtle dose of exotic world-music colors, and the album's eclectic sound world begins to come into view. Similar to the star-studded The Prayer Cycle Elias's reflection on the devastation of war in the form of a choral symphony, the album draws on the talents of such studio stalwarts as dobro master Jerry Douglas, guitarist Randy Scruggs, and several others, while also marshalling big-name vocalists Johnny Cash in one of his last recordings and daughter Rosanne, Kris Kristofferson, and Emmylou Harris for poetic voice-overs on tracks such as "The Continuance," with texts written mostly by the speakers themselves. The sentiment level flirts with kitsch on the bonus track "Can't Stop Love," featuring speaking and singing by Marty Stuart, but overall the album strikes a peaceful and reflective mood, driven by Elias's softly chiming piano. And if déjà vu hits while listening, don't be surprised: The composer's music for Lexus and Microsoft television ads, among others, also finds its way onto the album. Seems this American River springs from corporate as well as natural sources.
All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Acoustic pianist Jonathan Ellis has created a striking vista of American horizons, sunset skyscapes, pathways, waterways, and shimmering colors within instrumental, new age style music. Invited guests occasionally read prose or add different acoustic instruments within classical, country, and various ethnic elements. The combination of these concepts lives and breathes in a unified whole, idiosyncratic within its scope, but never removed from the realm of sheer beauty. Ellis has conceived music that sports a distinct organic feel while avoiding pretentiousness or noodling. Danceable qualities close to an Irish jig crop up on two pieces -- "At the Edge," and the familiar "Ave Maria" like traipse "Toward Home." At the core of the group's sound, "Crossing Rivers" and "Southern Delta" feature the soaring violin of Charlie Bisharat and cellist Cameron Stone alongside the bright tonal piano of Ellis. Classical sounds are attained during "The Great Divide" and "Move," the former theme displaying a snippet that was used on a television commercial for Valspar paints. Busy 5/4 rhythms on "Wild Colorado" are an essential basis for a jam featuring guitarist Tony Rice and mandolinist Ronnie McCoury, while "Ice on the St. Lawrence" is easily an inexorable, chilly wintertime film theme. For the rest of the program there are the vocal outlooks -- Johnny Cash and Rosanne Cash separately recite about a river during the sighing echoed music of "The Continuance/Mariners & Musicians," while Kris Kristofferson waxes poetic on the Great Southwest over Philip Glass type minimalism for "The Source." Emmylou Harris is a perfect choice when is she not perfect? for "Mother of Exile" based on the classic "Colossus Reaffirmed" with the great line"'give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses...etc." A bonus track has Marty Stuart reading "Can't Stop Love Wake Up America" which seems an afterthought tacked on, which it is. Stuart does play some fine acoustic guitar and mandola, while the incredible dobro master Jerry Douglas appears on four selections. Ellis lays out on two tracks -- not that noticeable -- but his distinctive piano sound is a central part of this music that for the most part is wonderful and fully realized. Its appeal will speak to a specific crossover audience into the environment, healing music, and a distinct spiritual path.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/24/2004
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 602498630099
  • Catalog Number: 000297802

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Jonathan Elias Primary Artist, Piano, Gamelan
Jerry Douglas Dobro
Tony Rice Acoustic Guitar
Marty Stuart Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Mandola, Readings
Johnny Cash Spoken Word
Rosanne Cash Spoken Word
Emmylou Harris Spoken Word
Kris Kristofferson Spoken Word
Pat McLaughlin Acoustic Guitar
Charlie Bisharat Violin
Brian Kilgore Percussion, Crotale
Ronnie McCoury Mandolin
Stephen Perkins Percussion
Randy Scruggs Acoustic Guitar
Alan Steinberger Piano
Dave Wittman Percussion
Jimmy Haun Electric Guitar, Guitar (12 String Acoustic), Guitar (Baritone)
Cameron Stone Cello
Technical Credits
Marty Stuart Composer
Rosanne Cash Composer
Kris Kristofferson Composer
Greg Calbi Mastering
Jonathan Elias Composer, Producer, Liner Notes
John Leventhal Producer, Engineer
Greg Martin Cover Photo
Don Was Producer, Engineer
Penny Bennett Art Direction
Emma Lazarus Composer
John Carter Cash Producer, Engineer
Chuck Turner Engineer
Vicenzo LoRusso Producer, Engineer
Ryan Rehm Producer, Engineer
Sheryl Gold Music Business Affairs
Lilli Elias Drawing
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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(3)

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Therapeutic music for the soul...

    Jonathan's "American River" is therapy for your inner being. As with most of his other work, he has this way of pulling you in with his heartfelt music. I've listened to this cd after an especially tough day and it leaves me renewed and energized. It's refreshing to know that there still is music that can make you feel this way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    sensational and inspiring

    Like his last masterpiece “The Prayer Cycle”, Jonathan Elias has successfully inspired thoughtful minds with his moving music and his companions’ profound words on “American River”. This cd is a refreshing break from the superficial pop music we're constantly inundated with. He’s created a great compilation of soft tracks and sweet words as this album satisfies the classical lovers’ soul and the wandering heart. The music suggests a long transformation down the river of our history to the end where we find rebirth and renewal. What’s also amazing about this album is that he’s collaborated with such great artists, including the last ever recordings of Johnny Cash. I recommend this cd to all— for inspiration or mere enjoyment. When you get this cd, check out number 3 and 8. Top tracks for sure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Truly inspirational...

    “American River” shows us how spoken words can be as powerful and moving as those that are sung. In his new album, Jonathan Elias matches his hauntingly beautiful melodies with spoken messages from some of music’s legendary artists. My absolute favorite has to be “Continuance,” which Elias collaborated on with the late Johnny Cash and his daughter, Roseanne. When I first heard it, I got a knot in my stomach from hearing Cash and his daughter speak about their struggles of fitting into the American society. The rest of the album certainly delivers as well as “Continuance” did… other featured guests include Kris Kristofferson and Emmylou Harris. “American River” is the perfect album to wind down to... the amazingly composed pieces of Elias will surely soothe and refresh anyone who listens to it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A classical classic cd

    Having recently been introduced to the classical music genre, I had been searching for music that captures the essence and harmony of life, nature, and spiritual enrichment. Fortunately for me I was introduced to this CD very early on in my search, and I must say that I have not been disappointed one bit; in fact, it has been hard for me to put this CD down. Upon listening to Elias' "American River" I have found in this work of art everything that I was searching for. It's a great listen, especially during times of stress, grief, or reflection on life and its challenges. His music touches the listener in an almost spiritual way; it puts me at ease, and allows me to focus on the things that truly matter in life. The music focuses on the river as a central theme, suggesting that we find rebirth and renewal after a long transformation al journey down the river of our history. One of the tracks, “The Continuance,” includes some of the last vocals recorded and released by the legendary musician Johnny Cash, which happens to be one of my personal favorite tracks. This is definitely an album that you can put on and play the whole way through, and leave the experience feeling a refreshingly new sense and appreciation for life, no matter the obstacles you face. Give it a listen; I guarantee that you won't be let down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A soothing and relaxing CD for all!!

    I must say I am not your typical fan of this particular genre of music but I can say after listening to this CD I will be from this point on. American River is the type of Cd that you listen to after a long hard day at work and chill out to relieve some stress. It is good for meditation, palates and yoga purposes. The CD highlights are tracks "Move" and "Wild Colorado" with the legend Johnny Cash. I will recommend this CD to anyone!

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