Jim Stone - The Minstrel These are descriptions of the individual songs, some of which were stated by listeners. Nothing in this Life is like a walk on the beach, with the waves crashing in A Roll of the Dice is like a life story being told by a friend Inspiration is like a message of peace from a distant world Sonata of life is like a musical odyssey The End is a song written to herald the end of a great event Isaiah's Lullaby is a song of fatherly love for a young son Tribulation is a song of comfort for those facing hard times Everyone finds their own meaning in The Minstrel, to me it is like a walk with a loved one through a secret forest All of them instill peace. These are various comments from press interviews. I was into music for much of my childhood. I remember a programmable musical toy that I was able to input my first real song into when I was young, before I started the piano in fifth grade. I still have that song. I remember being the rebellious one. When I was in band, I would always make up my own part, and it would fit. After a while the band director gave up yelling at me, because what I played worked anyway, and we did well in competitions even though the part I played was seldom actually on paper. I did not ruin it for anyone. I really liked playing in Jazz and Polka band, because that is mostly improvisation anyway. My first piano teacher was a real stick to what's on paper person, and I think I drove her nuts. From her I developed my distaste for sheet music, because there was no allotment for creativity. She was the first of three, and the final one helped me develop my creative potential. It was from her that I learned to develop my own unique style. When I was a child, I would lay awake in bed and listen to all the great music others had made, hoping some day I could make my own contribution. The Minstrel is my first full scale effort. It is a compilation of some of the best from my past, and my current sound. It is music that speaks to the soul. If you like Mannheim Steamroller or Cuzco, music that inspires, you will probably like what I do. Jim Stone is an accomplished musician who lives at the foot of the Wasatch mountain range in the western United States. Born and raised in Wisconsin, he now owns a home in a small mountain valley town. Though he works a different trade, music has always been his strength. His music experience started in 1977, with his first piano lesson. Since then, his music has continued. He picked up the tuba in Junior High, which he played in concert, marching, jazz, dixie, regional and state honors bands, and regional and state level competitions in which he gained the top possible honors 4 years in a row. He also played tuba in a private polka band which booked many gigs in the area. He played contrabass in the Rivermen drum and bugle corps, which went to #25 DCI level in 1983. His efforts shifted to songwriting in 1984 Since then, he has written numerous compositions, and has had several recording projects. In 1999, he made a decision to produce a full length album, and as part of the project, assembled a recording studio in his home. It required much more than anticipated. The Minstrel took two years instead of the projected five months, and went 800% over budget. Though the album stretched his finances to the limit, he has never regretted it. The Minstrel now stands as his greatest work. I thank all the people who helped make this album a reality, including my piano teachers, who sparked my intrest in music, and Dave Zerahn, my high school band teacher. Thanks Dave, you helped me realize that 'good' was seldom good enough. I thank James and Robin for sticking with me through all the troubles and finally congratulating me only after I got it right. You are the best of friends.