“The Occasional Epiphany” – Sounds like life
There is a point of honesty that we all must come to from time to time in our lives. A point where in the joy or bleakness of it all, we must examine our lives, take stock, come to a realization, and then with hope and an open heart, take the next step. We walk into the unknown as what we hope we are and can be.
The Occasional Epiphany, a recent release by Pittsburgh-based actress/spoken word artist, Joanna Lowe, is a brutally honest effort to discuss the moments in a life that helped shape it. It is an examination of the occasional thoughts of love, anger, longing, lust, parenthood, despair, and hope that helped guide her next step.
The soundtrack is set by host of top-tier musicians. Erich Branthoover lends his skills on percussion, Jessica Hoffman, on viola, Jess Hohman on flute, Adam Rose on bass, and Mathew Siegler on all keyboard instruments. Nathan Zoob rounds out the group on guitar. Together, this six piece ensemble tackle all styles in free-form. Covering a spectrum of styles from Jazz, to Rock, to Americana, they set the moods for Lowe’s story, and it is breathtaking. The fluttering flute mimicking a bird skimming over a river against the hard, reedy chill of an accordion, droning like the winter wind sets a moment, among many in this collection, that will put you in the place and time of an event that you didn’t witness, but have seen before. The musicianship is the cherry on top of the treat.
Lowe covers all facets of life her story telling. “Razor” stands out as this reviewer’s favorite tackling jealousy, envy, helplessness, hope, and ultimately, love. At time’s she is preaching about her own humanity, at others she is pleading for redemption. Lowe draws the listener into a moment amongst countless other moments, that they can certainly visualize. Other standouts include: “Miles,” an inner dialogue on physical attraction, and “Momma’s Lullaby.” If there is one complaint to have, it’s that some of the poetic meter gets a little droney, but all-in-all, all of the stories deliver.
Joanna Lowe has done something wonderful with her debut release. She has been honest with herself, and thus honest with us. In a time starved for honesty in the art and music world, she has presented a work of art: herself. Musically epic, real, and shockingly honest. Sounds like life.
Check it out for yourself here.
Review by Gary Antol for Pennsylvania Bridges