Renee’ Michele | The Space Within

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New Age: Relaxation Easy Listening: Mood Music Moods: Featuring Piano
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The Space Within

by Renee’ Michele

Piano with Instrumentation Version: This is Renee’ Michele 6th album. It was recorded under the guidance of ace producer Will Ackerman (Grammy-winning founder of Windham Hill Records) and studio engineerTom Eaton at Imaginary Road Studio.
Genre: New Age: Relaxation
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. My Angel
5:13 $1.09
2. In the Mist
6:05 $1.09
3. The Space Within
4:38 $1.09
4. Tabula Rasa
5:14 $1.09
5. Aspire
4:51 $1.09
6. Life as a Cloud
4:53 $1.09
7. Montana Breeze
3:50 $1.09
8. The Road Less Traveled
4:55 $1.09
9. Trees of Vermont
6:02 $1.09
10. Communion
6:51 $1.09
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Reneé Michele returned to the mountains of Vermont to once again record her 6th album “The Space Within” as a follow-up to her acclaimed 2014 release, "Seasons of the Heart". The album was recorded under the guidance of ace producers Will Ackerman (Grammy-winning founder of Windham Hill Records) and studio engineer Tom Eaton (who also mixed and mastered the album). The Space Within proves that sometimes sequels are every bit as good, if not better, than their predecessors. Reneé's characteristic light touch on the keys, where nuance and tone are emphasized over drama and power, is on abundant display throughout the ten tracks. A mixture of moods and evocations unwinds across all the selections, but the music maintains a calming sensation, whether the gentle somberness of the opening "My Angel," the haunting melody of "In the Mist," or the wistful reflective tone of "Life As a Cloud," Reneé Michele's goal is to capture the emotional essence of each composition and communicate it to the listener, which she does with ease. Will Ackerman states "Reneé Michele tells the truth. However remarkable her playing is, those prodigious talents are always in the service of heart. Though it easily could, Reneé's ego doesn't drive her. It is the soul of human emotion that inspires her and connects her with us in her new album, The Space Within.”
Wind and Wire's Bill Binkelman has this to offer about Reneés new album: "The Space Within is another hit from this talent-to-spare pianist. Listening to this album during one's special quiet time makes it feel like the artist is in the room playing just for you. Warmth, sincerity, and emotional richness flow forth from the first track to the last. It's a worthy successor to Seasons of the Heart, and we can only hope for more recordings to follow.”
All songs composed and performed by Reneé Michele. Guest artists include: Jill Haley (English horn), Charlie Bisharat (violin) Eugene Friesen (cello), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Will Ackerman (guitar), and Tom Eaton (bass and Hopi drum. Album was produced by Will Ackerman, engineered, mixed and mastered by Tom Eaton and recorded at Imaginary Road Studio.



to write a review

Steve Sheppard

An attractive album of pristine performances
Reneé Michele has drawn some wonderful fluent musical art work in her time; I was particularly entranced with the 2015 hit album Seasons of the Heart, and now even more so with the latest album entitled The Space Within, it is this voyage we now embark upon with the artist.
The title of this album is something to remember as we journey, as it really feels like we are going within, deep within. The opener is a very reflective and emotive track called My Angel. I particularly found this quite moving, the performance was not only played with a subtle perfection, but with a deep level of soul as well.
Now we move to the intriguingly entitled composition In the Mist. The artistic opportunity for the artist here to create something truly special is massive, and Michele does not let me down, as from the very first notes I am transported to a realm where the dawn is struggling to break through the shield of the night, and a thick mist is crawling across nature’s landscape. A beautifully fluent performance can be found here, one as you can see has inspired my imagination, added to this is the flugelhorn of Jeff Oster and the English horn of the amazing Jill Haley, all of which creates something truly magical and unequivocally picturesque.
It feels to me like I have walked into an entirely different realm of music, the atmospheric attractiveness is stunningly opulent, listen to the title track and you will understand far more. The Space Within as a composition is lush, but emotional to feel and hear, and contains a very sensitive but pertinent Cello from Eugene Friesen. This fine portrait of beauty is enhanced further with some of the finest flugelhorn by Oster, which only adds an extra texture to Michele’s already crafted performance.
The lightness of spirit with which this next piece is played is idyllic and although reflective in parts, raises the energies of the album, almost akin to the sun peaking in through the curtains of a shadowy room for the first time. The melody on Tabla Rasa is sublime and memorable, even more so as it contains the work of non-other than Will Ackerman on guitar and a heartfelt segment of violin from Charlie Bisharat, which is always something to look forward to.
This is Reneé Michele’s sixth album and I can confirm that this is a release that you could take into eternity with you; with each and every track there is more beauty to be found lying just around the corner, like this next offering called The Cloud Suite- Aspire and Life As A Cloud. One has to admire the gentleness of performance here by the artist, one that is joined in part one by both Oster and Haley as the Horn section softly lifts the piece skywards, with an almost unperceivable touch, then when one is the cloud, we can just drift with the sereneness of the moment, one that is made even more charming with the natural energies of Friesen’s Cello. As suites go, this has to be one of the most additive listens I have had, normally I can write as I work, but these two tracks made me stop in my tracks and almost meditate on the compositions in question, simply brilliant indeed, musical genius in motion.
I believe that the artist grew up here, so perhaps it’s no surprise that we find a track called Montana Breeze on the album. Reneé Michele’s performance is truly charming and completely honest, it’s like the musician has woken up in her old home and flung open the curtains of her old bedroom, and that warm feeling of familiarity fully flows right over her senses completely.
The next offering shows a different energy from the artist, a true willingness to break from conformity, to take a chance, to alter course and take a new pathway, in this instance The Road Less Travelled, here you will be able to hear a sense of nervous excitement within the onward marching performance of the piece, one that must be said contains some of the most charismatic guitar from the incredible Will Ackerman you may have heard for a while.
Amazingly we have arrived at the penultimate arrangement of the album called Trees of Vermont. It will of course not surprise you to know that the artist recorded the album at Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio’s, and one feels like this is a journey to that very studio itself, all the expectation, all the beauty of nature’s journey along the way. One can literally feel the inspirational power exuding from the artist as she plays with her heart, to yours.
Our last doorway to this magical wonderland of piano is a sensitive but colourful offering called Communion. At just short of seven minutes it is the longest piece off the release and one that really shows a wonderfully symbiotic partnership of performance and creational spirit, in a perfect combination of natural genius, a better way to leave this album you will never find.
The Space Within for me was one of those albums you never wanted to end, Reneé Michele in my view has produced her best work so far and the magic touch of Ackerman and his team have added a layer of crafted professionalism, which makes this album truly inspiring and quite moving to listen to. The Space Within is an attractive album of pristine performances and has an enchanting production quality, that has delivered to its listening audience one of, if not the best piano with instrumentation albums that I have heard in the last few years, simply captivating indeed and thoroughly recommended.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"The Space Within" is the sixth album from pianist/composer Renee Michele. Like her previous release, "Seasons of the Heart," "The Space Within" was recorded at Imaginary Road Studios, produced by Will Ackerman, and engineered, mixed and mastered by Tom Eaton. Three of the ten original tracks are solo piano and the other seven feature several of the stellar musicians who often appear on Imaginary Road recordings - Charlie Bisharat (violin), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Jill Haley (English horn) and Eugene Friesen (cello) in addition to Ackerman (guitar and drum) and Eaton (drum and bass). I have been reviewing Renee’s albums since her 2002 debut, Renee Michele, and I truly believe The Space Within is her best album to date. Her velvety piano touch is so soothing that it truly challenges the categorization of the piano as a percussion instrument! I usually find it easy to single out favorite pieces for my reviews, but I can’t on this one because they are all so beautiful!

Renee Michele started playing the piano at the age of six and continued through college as a music major. She later added a degree in Occupational Therapy, which led her to teach piano to children with special needs such as autism. Renee is an artist who truly understands the power of music, so it’s not surprising that her music has such an expressive and healing quality.

"The Space Within" begins with “My Angel,” a haunting piano solo that was created one night when Renee was experiencing powerful feelings of being “alone.” She calls this melancholy and deeply emotional piece “my conversation of wisdom and encouragement that night from ‘my Angel’.” Love it! “In The Mist” depicts the essence of the Oregon Coast “with all its beauty and splendor” and was inspired by the photography of Russell J. Young. Living on the Oregon Coast myself makes it very easy to identify with this graceful and very peaceful trio for piano, flugelhorn and English horn. The title track begins as an introspective piano solo, adding flugelhorn, cello, guitar and Hopi drum along the way - poignant, heartfelt and simply beautiful! The two-part “The Cloud Suite” begins with “Aspire,” a gentle daydream of a piece inspired by wondering what it would be like to be a cloud. Renee’s softly expressive touch is especially effective on this piece! The second movement is “Life As a Cloud,” a delicate duet for piano and cello that imagines the cloud’s journey and final attempt to stay in existence. “Montana Breeze” is a duet for piano and violin that was inspired by a trip to the area where Renee grew up as well as the memories that came with the experience. “Communion,” a piano solo, was developed from a theme heard in a dream one night. Knowing she would forget it by morning, Renee got up and recorded the idea on her phone. Very serene and at ease, it’s a beautiful ending to an excellent album.