Acoustic Ocean | Blue Moon Rising

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New Age: Contemporary Instrumental Folk: Gentle Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Blue Moon Rising

by Acoustic Ocean

Acoustic Guitar & Cello, with influences of New Age, Folk and Celtic. A rich palette of instruments eloquently express the composers journey from personal loss and grief to gratitude and renewal. Engaging, evocative, poignant, uplifting, relaxing.
Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. A Hui Hou (Until We Meet Again)
3:44 $0.99
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2. Blue Moon Rising
3:27 $0.99
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3. Recalling Beauty
4:29 $0.99
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4. Deep Grace / Scarborough Fair
6:02 $0.99
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5. Spirit Awakening
4:31 $0.99
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6. Lotus Petals Falling on the Pacific
4:24 $0.99
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7. Love Is a Force Field
3:54 $0.99
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8. The Silent Storm
3:44 $0.99
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9. Sweet Mana from Heaven
3:16 $0.99
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10. Shadow Dancers
3:54 $0.99
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11. All Things Made New
6:09 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Blue Moon Rising, the fourth and latest album from Acoustic Ocean, offers a dynamic and engaging collection of original acoustic instrumental music that inspires reflection and touches the heart.

Eleven compositions, on the themes of Remembrance, Gratitude and Renewal, feature Bette Phelan on acoustic guitar and bowed dulcimer and Kay Aldrich on cello.


Additional instruments, played by Bette - fretless bass, electric guitar, Ebow, Celtic whistle, mountain dulcimer, mandolin, banjo, wordless vocals, piano, and more - combine to create a rich palette of sound.

The compositions on Blue Moon Rising are engaging, evocative, poignant, uplifting, and relaxing. The intricate interplay of instruments captures the uniqueness and synergy of the original music of Acoustic Ocean.

Key influences in this new music, New Age, Folk, and Celtic, continue the recognizable sound of earlier Acoustic Ocean albums.
Blue Moon Rising is the first Acoustic Ocean release since the death of group member and harpist, Peggy Morgan, in 2016. One composition, “Love is a Force Field,” features Peggy Morgan on harp and vocals, and was recorded before her passing.

Bette Phelan composed the music for Blue Moon Rising during musical meditations over a two-year period.

The album is dedicated to the memory of Peggy Morgan, Bette’s music partner of 40 years, and to Nancy Phelan, her mother.

Bette’s journey from personal loss and grief to gratitude and renewal is eloquently expressed in this new music.

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Reviews


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BT Fasmer

One of Acoustic Ocean’s finest releases
“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water,” is a famous quote by poet Rabindranath Tagore. That might be true, but sometimes you can come a long way by simply listening to the sound of water. This sound can also be used in music, something fans of Acoustic Ocean can attest to. Their new album “Blue Moon Rising” is about Remembrance, Gratitude and Renewal. It is from start to finish an incredibly rewarding listen.

Acoustic Ocean is the collaboration of two veteran musicians and recording artists Peggy Morgan and Bette Phelan. They debuted in 2009 with the album “Light Returning”. The title track from this album has been one of the most popular songs on New Age Stars Radio of all time. Their second album, “Reflections on Still Water”, was released in 2010. “Chimes of the Spirit” followed in 2013. Peggy Morgan died in 2016. The song “Love is a Force Field” on “Blue Moon Rising” was recorded before her passing.

Acoustic Ocean has always had a unique sound, and that is luckily intact on “Blue Moon Rising” as well. First song is called “A Hui Hou (Until We Meet Again)”. It has a wonderful flow with a nice touch of improvisation. The acoustic guitar is center stage. We immediately notice Acoustic Ocean’s wonderful use of space; it feels like a concert venue or hall. This gives the song a sense of depth.

From Acoustic Ocean’s homepage I learned that a Blue Moon is typically associated with women’s mysteries, intuition, and the divine aspects of the sacred feminine. Some modern magical traditions associate the Blue Moon with the growth of knowledge and wisdom within the phases of a woman’s life. The title track starts with the sound of crickets. Then – almost before we can adjust our ears – a duet between Bette Phelan on bowed dulcimer and Kay Aldrich on cello is heard. The melody has a celebratory feel. It is impossible not to feel happy and relaxed while listening to it. Next song, “Recalling Beauty”, is a more contemplative and thoughtful piece, featuring some gentle guitars.

I have always been fascinated by how refreshing and renewing Acoustic Ocean’s sound is. No other artist or band I know of has the same effect. Just listen to the song “Deep Grace / Scarborough Fair” and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Perhaps it is the sound of water and nature? Or is it the free-flowing style? At the same time Acoustic Ocean manages to keep the music interesting and engaging. The mentioned song is divided into two. The first is happy and positive, while part two makes you stop and think.

Talking about meditation music; the following songs “Spirit Awakening” and the beautifully named “Lotus Petals Falling On The Pacific” give time to relax, think and just breathe. Wonderful!

The song “Love is a Force Field,” features Peggy Morgan on harp and vocals. Its positive and warm atmosphere fills us with Gratitude. There’s so much love here; love for each other and love for music. The song itself is a force field and a lasting memory.

Acoustic Ocean’s music is never just easy listening. It has rich colors and many layers. “The Silent Storm” contains both light and darkness. Far in the background is something threatening, something to avoid. It is a song of hardship and emotional turmoil. If a song could be 3 dimensional, it would be like “The Silent Storm”. It truly is a work of art.

I very much enjoy the album’s overall design; notice how there’s one light and bright song, followed by a more dark and contemplative song – like a cycle. It makes the album very well-balanced. With “Sweet Mana From Heaven” it gets much lighter, then “Shadow Dancers”, with its duet of bowed dulcimer with cello, takes us into the darkness again. “All Things Made New” makes sure that the album ends on a high note – with the sound of water, of course.

In conclusion: Acoustic Ocean’s «Blue Moon Rising» is a very wise album. It really makes you appreciate the cleansing powers of music. Remembrance, Gratitude and Renewal are so powerful concepts, and they affect the album deeply. It is one of Acoustic Ocean’s finest releases, and that future of the band seems to be in the best of hands. If you are not already a fan, “Blue Moon Rising” will convince you to become one.
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Liz Wagner, Independent Reviewer

A Fabulous New Release from Acoustic Ocean
Peggy Morgan and Bette Phelan created something unique with Acoustic Ocean’s blend of New Age, Celtic and Hawaiian musical influences. In writing and producing “Blue Moon Rising,” following Peggy’s death in 2016, Bette has pulled off something powerful.

This is Acoustic Ocean music, with new sounds and influences. It’s soothing, gentle music you can relax to. While you’re relaxing, “Blue Moon Rising” takes you on a musical journey that leaves you feeling upbeat and renewed by the time the last track finishes.

I love this new Acoustic Ocean CD. Peggy may no longer be here on earth, but her spirit is alive in “Blue Moon Rising.” I’d say Acoustic Ocean is still making waves!
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Steve Sheppard

Music to sooth the soul
There is a certain sense of memory and love created within the weave of this album that will become very apparent. This is the first I had heard from Acoustic Ocean since the release of Chimes of the Spirit back in 2013. I was saddened to hear of the passing of harpist Peggy Morgan in 2016, but here it is, the latest offering from them, with a new energy perhaps, but dedicated to the memory of the late band member.
A Hui Hou (Until We Meet Again) is the very beginning point of our musical journey and one that has such a calming refrain. Listening to this, one could easily just float away into a state of deep relaxation; the acoustic guitar of Phelan here was simply mesmeric.
The use of natural sounds can be a contentious point for some artists in this genre, but on Blue Moon Rising, it is the perfect entry point into a piece that has a delightful Celtic energy to its construction. The percussion and fretless bass here were also sublime in their partnership within the main narrative of this most enjoyable arrangement.
Listen to the very start of this next offering and enjoy the guitar that wends its way down the country lane of this piece, one could almost be mistaken for thinking for a short while that we were about to listen to the opening of Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Recalling Beauty is an incredibly classy composition that has so many elements to its overall construction and is indeed my favourite piece off the release.
The picturesque and colourful Deep Grace / Scarborough Fair is up next, it is a multi-instrumental haven, again pertinent natural sounds drift through the composition, but the almost timeless tempo of this offering is utterly tranquil, there is a quality like no other here, the talents of Phelan seem to have no boundaries when it comes to manifesting sublime soundscapes
The album contains some absolutely stunning songs, all seemingly manifested with such a wonderful artistic flair, it would be almost impossible to count the wide and varied instrumentation on this amazing release. On Spirit Awakening we can feel a true lightness of energy drifting from the tones of the arrangement, the little effects like the chimes and strings just go to add a whole new layer of magic to this already vibrant offering.
The quite stunning Lotus Petals Falling On The Pacific is up next. The acoustic guitar here is quite breath-taking and created a feeling of beauty inside me as I listened to its graceful tones. I adore the graphic nature of this offering, through the arrangement it would be easy to visualise such a charming picture as the title depicts.
There is something strange about hearing the voice of a partner when they have passed over, I had this with my late wife, a former and early presenter of this station, in a way through this medium they are never lost, just moved on, I say all this as the amazing Peggy Morgan features on this piece, with her voice and Harp two years after her passing, on the quite memorable and reflective composition entitled Love Is A Force Field.
I found The Silent Storm a truly powerful piece, unlike a storm that rages around the world of nature, this felt more of an inward storm, perhaps one that rages inside and needs to be quelled. I found the performance here by the band quite moving and extremely deep, this is a masterful musical moment washed by the dark waters of the inner creativity of release.
The start of this track was fantastic, a Tibetan Bowl chime and an Owl hooting, how clever, I adore inventive moments like this, and then the track just seems to smoothly transpose into one of the most relaxing offerings of the album. Sweet Mana From Heaven is as fluent as they come, and one could easily be lulled into a gentle sleep by the empowering, but restful tones of this brilliant arrangement.
We now find ourselves knocking on the door of the penultimate offering off the album it is called Shadow Dancers. The strings and bass here combined wonderfully to give us a sense of movement and indeed dance; the track also has a really intriguing ancient quality to its construction as well.
Water sounds and a gentle guitar caress our senses, and lead us into the very last piece off the release with a sublime ease, this is the longest offering at well over six minutes and is indeed the rich palette of sound it professes to be, this is indeed a multi instrumental track of extreme superior quality, and a superb way to leave the album too. All Things Made New is also a clever title as we may have come to the end of the release, but we feel refreshed and revitalised by this musical voyage we have taken.
I would rate Blue Moon Rising as one of the most graphic and colourful albums I have had the pleasure to review this year, its production quality and sublime performances by both Bette Phelan and Kay Aldrich on Cello have created for us, the perfect musical tapestry to bathe in for eons to come. Fans of classic new age music will love this release, but here is an album that could be embraced by just about anyone who has an open mind, heart, and a desire to seek out simply beautiful manifested music to sooth the soul.
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Candice Michelle

Mesmerizing acoustic soundscapes
Acoustic Ocean was originally founded by Bette Phelan and the late Peggy Morgan. Having been musical partners for 40 years, the duo released a total of three albums and toured together for 20 years before Peggy sadly passed away in 2016. Continuing in the same visionary spirit as the project’s musical legacy, Acoustic Ocean’s fourth album, entitled Blue Moon Rising, is tenderly dedicated to both Peggy Morgan and Bette’s mother, Nancy Phelan.

Inspired by the Hawaiian Islands and holistic healing arts, Blue Moon Rising is comprised of eleven compositions spanning approximately 48 minutes. Throughout its course, reflective acoustic guitar melodies are woven among atmospheric soundscapes that incorporate calming nature sounds.

Instruments played by the versatilely talented Bette Phelan include fretless bass, electric guitar, Ebow, Celtic whistle, mountain dulcimer, mandolin, banjo and piano. Additionally, Bette lends soothing wordless vocals while Kay Aldrich provides peaceful cello throughout.

Highlights include the opening piece, “A Hui Hou (Until We Meet Again)”, which seemingly bodes as the perfect homage to Phelan’s longtime musical partner. This somewhat wistful yet warmly comforting tune showcases softly cascading guitar accompanied by gentle strings, of which perhaps can be likened to the refreshing serenity of a light rain shower.

One of my favorite compositions herein is the title track, “Blue Moon Rising”, which opens with the nocturnal sounds of rainstick and chirping crickets. Bearing a notable Celtic touch expressed by its warmly engaging acoustic ensemble, this enchanting piece brings-to-mind cozy images of a campfire in the woods.

Bette’s wordless vocal intonations beautifully accentuate other personal favorites, such as the mesmerizingly oceanic “Deep Grace / Scarborough Fair” and the melodically memorable “Love Is a Force Field”.

Lending itself as the perfect relaxation soundtrack while never once descending into forgettable background music, Blue Moon Rising boasts subtly layered acoustics and spacious organic soundscapes of pristine beauty and reflective soulfulness. Surely Peggy Morgan would be proud of Bette Phelan’s profoundly touching musical accomplishment, as this one is certainly destined to be among this year’s best acoustic albums!
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R J Lannan - Artisan Music Reviews

Blue Moon Rising
Acoustic Ocean
Blue Moon Rising

Just once in a blue moon…

There are places on this earth that are way beyond special. Katmandu, Nepal. Sedona, Arizona. And many more, but my favorite is Kona, Hawaii. In every craggy green hill, every fragment of cold, gray lava, and in every sun-jeweled wave in its beryl-colored ocean there is magic. That magic can be coaxed, manipulated, and loved into art; paintings, poetry, and music. Acoustic Ocean has been tapping that particular source and creating some of the most enchanting music for a very long time. Blue Moon Rising is their fourth album to grace the spirit with Celtic, contemporary, and world music. The eleven tracks of music are well thought out, balancing melody and theme, creating an acoustic ambience that lends itself to living a life of balances and compromises with the earth, with others, and especially, with one’s self.
Acoustic Ocean was a rare and extraordinary partnership between musicians Bette Phelan and Peggy Morgan. This is the first CD that Phelan has offered since the passing of Morgan in 2016, but rest assured that her spirit is ensconced in every note of this recording. Love and Aloha is still strong.
A Hui Ho, Hawaiian for Until We Me Again, opens the album like a wordless prayer, but not one that lacks sentiment. Evocative guitar and somber cello combine in this tender, obvious farewell. It is a pas de deux of souls, intertwined, dancing to music that only the spirit can hear.
The title tune Blue Moon Rising sounded to me like an old Appalachian tune. Flutes and fiddles, strummed guitar and fretless bass, and staccato percussion come together to form a tune that would be comfortable in the misty hills and green valleys of your imagination. A welcomed visitor any time.
In Deep Grace/Scarborough Fair has Paul Simon’s theme barely heard in the middle of the piece, coming and going like a ghost. The music also has the sound of the ocean, the voices of guitar and flute, and the cello. It is a dream sequence where everything, including time, is slowed, heartbeats become the drumming, and thoughts become iridescent colors.
Love is a Force Field has what is probably Morgan’s last vocal and harp accompaniment. Ocean and birds, along with a joyful melody celebrates life and living. You can feel the sun on your face, you can taste the salty tang of the ocean, and you get the sense that all is good in the world if only for that moment. Aloha Peggy.
I loved every cut on Blue Moon Rising, but my overall favorite is The Silent Storm. It is a sad melody with a Spanish guitar motif and serious cello, but the combination makes for a piece that is pensive and emotionally-rich. It had a distinctive feeling of absence. The storm is within and the churning of emotions, the confusion, and the turmoil coalesces into a primordial state that may take another lifetime to quell.
Sweet Mana from Heaven is peudo-slack key guitar tune. In this particular case, “mana” is the Polynesian concept of spiritual force and it sometimes stands for the power of place, that magic I wrote about earlier. The tune opens with the Tibetan gong and the voice of the “pueo” the Hawaiian owl. You can feel the energy of black lava field and green forest, blue ocean and bluer sky all seeping deeply into your soul. I have felt the mana many times.
Shadow Dancers takes on the Appalachian theme once again in a ghostly gambol. The bowed dulcimer, a rare instrument to my hearing, but one with an organic sound, plays the lead in this tune. Haunting flute joins in with fretless bass as its side. Together they create an ethereal world, a place where the unexplained is normal and where reality takes the day off.
The other four tunes on Blue Moon Rising are just as exciting or listenable. Bette Phelan, the composer and main musician on a dozen instruments is joined by Kay Aldrich on cello and of course, Peggy Morgan on harp and vocals. When I first began listening to this music, I thought it was strictly organic, but upon further listening I realize that it is conceptual in many ways. There is an intangible quality that defies description. You’ll just have to listen. Highly recommended.
- R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews
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