Shine on Through
'Anke Summerhill's new release, shine on through, is replete with richness, insight, warmth and a tribute to our fragile but triumphant spirit. The music is as soothing as basking on a sun-warmed boulder while the iridescent mist of a waterfall settles over us. We don't feel inundated by it's power, simply blessed. Richly expressed in it's wistful quality are a longing, compassion and exploration of relationships. Composed primarily of love songs, with a hearty dose of self-introspection, the work includes a worthy nod to a diversity of styles. Also present, though not as prominently as in her previous CD, The Roots Run Deep, is the sensuous engagement with landscape as comfort, as a bridge or sacred ground where we coincide despite our differences. Anke has brought back several musicians from Roots, with some added to boot. Most notably is the piano virtuosity of local [ Utah ]performing artist Steve Keen, on piano and accordion. His lilting artistry on 'If a Day Was An Island,' takes me back to the early 70's when Steve graciously swapped piano lessons for macrobiotic cooking sessions. The album's first cut features John Mock's penny whistle, which functions not so much an instrument of the British Isles but for it's plaintive 'Wild Bird's' voice. The rich percussion of earlier works is replaced by drum work of John Gardner, the house drummer for the Grand Ole Opry. Harmonies of voices familiar to local acoustophiles (did I make that up?) recorded here then engineered in Nashville, are so well mixed, the voices merge, often almost indistinguishably--not unlike the intimacy between two people that the songs seem to yearn for. Matt Flinner's banjo & mandolin move jauntily, sometimes evocatively behind many of the melodies, especially emphasizing the playfulness behind the 'New Year's Resolution.' Here a certain poignancy sometimes suggested in the songs is replaced by a bold declaration: 'I don't want to hear about it. Go and tell somebody else.' The work resounds with smiles of an artist enjoying herself, the musicians, even the listeners. Still, compassion and depth reign throughout the songs. Whether expressed in a bluesy way in the title cut or with a jazzy, saxophone-infused questioning in the mysterious 'Big House,' or while 'waiting for wisdom and grace... to scatter the darkness,' Anke's lovely talent clearly shines through.' ~ Lin Ostler, Catalyst Magazine.