In my earlier reviews of Lynn Tredeau’s beautiful works Fellowship of Solitude (2018) and Reflection (2022), I chronicled in depth elements of her remarkable journey from cultivating a thriving teaching practice to becoming a highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning new age solo pianist/composer. In light of the majestic depths of the soul and soaring transcendent melodic and rhythmic heights she reaches on her latest, musically poetic collection Many Branches, it seems more relevant to capture the exciting and inspiring “now” in her creative world. That said, it bears mentioning that Lynn is one of the genre’s most prolific artists over the past decade, with the majestic Many Branches marking her ninth full-length release starting with her 2015 debut Echoes of Life.
Branches have been used as powerful spiritual metaphors for many millennia, perhaps most prominently and enduringly in the Gospel of John, where Jesus uses the analogy of the relationship of the vine to the branches to describe his relationship with his disciples. In this Scripture, the branches derive their very existence and ability to produce fruit from the vine. Detached, the branches cease to live or produce.
Although Lynn’s creative process is always based on simply letting the music flow through her, writing from the heart and expressing the moment of the day, the concepts of her albums seem to take magical shape when she takes stock of the individual songs and realizes what they have in common. In her life, at this moment, the pianist has been thinking a great deal about the proverbial tree her life has grown – and using the piano to share the meaningful insights that touch her heart, from her opening graceful ode to the beauty of the world (particularly relaxing water and gorgeous mountains) “Room With a View” to the charming innocence and sense of hopeful new beginnings on the meditative “Morning’s Promise.”
“When I consider the many parts of who I am, my interests, the people in my life and the many changes that have happened along the way, I can see the branches and how they are individual parts of what make up my life,” Lynn says. “I can see the branches and how they are individual parts of what make up my life. Some of the branches are new additions and some have been with me since my youth. Each branch has grown through the years and passed through the seasons of life. New leaves, changing color, shedding the old leaves and branches to make room for the new ones again in a continuous cycle of life.”
Pursuant to those thoughts, over the course of her composing and recording career, Lynn’s music continues to change along with life itself. With each album, she creates an opportunity to represent new stages of a journey to discover new parts of herself – i.e. new branches. She’s always seeking balance in her life – and for her, Many Branches shines light on the many ways she tries to, as she says, “try to balance the many branches that make up my life.” Along the way, via individual tracks, she achieves this by reflecting on some of the special things that help her achieve that – including her love of nature, travel, sunrises and her desire to have an optimistic outlook for the future.
Although like many soul soothing and emotion caressing solo piano projects, Many Branches can perhaps be best appreciated as a single 40-minute listen, Lynn provides some fascinating entry points to the experience that tap into those special places in her heart. By design and intention, it makes sense to start with the three compelling digital singles she has dropped in the weeks before the release of the album.
The sweet, elegant and wonder-filled “Moon Jellies” takes us on an exquisite three-minute exploration of the gorgeous species of jellyfish she encountered at an aquarium. Their unique shape and stunning glow – and the sense she had that they were floating in a ”water ballet” inspired her to pen a piece about her overall love of the natural world.
The sparkling, vibrant and truly hopeful-sounding “Technicolor Blanket” is about a colorful blanket she and her husband purchased from a street vendor. It has provided comfort at picnics, and trips to the beach, and has been their favorite seating at many outdoor concerts. She associates it with lovely memories on her “tree of life.” Lynn sees this song as overlapping with “Room With a View,” the warm-hearted and adventurous “Carousel” and the tenderly romantic “Ilunabarra” (about a perfect sunset and a peaceful mind) in the same way the Many Branches are all part of the same tree. The third lead single finds Lynn leading us “On a Distant Hill,” with an elegant, slow dancing piano melody that represents both her love for landscape art and hiking.
While the majority of Lynn’s tunes seem to impart that sunny optimism she speaks of, a few of the moodier, more somber toned tunes are key standouts = including “Desert Rain,” about sitting under the veil of water created when rainfall dries up before it hits the ground from the desert heat; and “Shadows,” a haunting tune inspired by the reality that life in the shadows will always be filled with uncertainty and mystery, camouflaged with darkness and hidden from a first glance.