As Michael Peloso found out quite unexpectedly, that’s the way inspiration works sometimes. The versatile keyboardist, composer, arranger and producer had no intention of so quickly following up his 2021 debut Life’s Little Accidents, which I hailed as a “mix of lively pop, rock and soul grooves. . .a truly masterful collaborative effort.” Then inspiration struck. First it was melodies and full compositions. And just when he thought he might be working on an instrumental project, lyrics started flowing – beautifully poetic expressions about the highs and lows of his life which collectively form the compelling narrative journey of Here From There.
Leading a killer band and featuring numerous guest musicians including guitarist Sal Vitale and cellists Kate Dillingham and Yoed Nir, the nine-track collection – co-produced, co-arranged and co-engineered by Peloso and featured longtime collaborator Matthew Shell – takes us from joyful, liberating moments of hope (the whimsical, up-tempo “Road Trippin’ To Heaven,” the hopefully romantic “Chance of a Lifetime”) through the difficulties arising from a failed relationship (the lively, infectious and lyrically incisive, “Where Do You Go,” the dark and haunting, rock-edged meditation “Street of Gold”) and back to healing and hope with the dreamy, soul-stirring charmers “Angels Are Listening” and “Ella’s Pink Balloon” and the relentlessly optimistic closer “Better Days Ahead.”
The emotional core of the album is “That Will Be Me,” a heartfelt, spiritual-minded ballad whose lyrics Peloso wrote years earlier as a way of encouraging his two daughters as he recovered from a near fatal bout with cancer. Amidst the chaos in his life at the time, he had misplaced the lyrics, only to find them and start setting them to music in September 2022.
These sweeping, rhythmically varied tunes combine to create a much more meaningful and personal statement than Life’s Little Accidents, which he admits was more like a compilation album than driven by a consistent artistic vision. The key to helping him fully embody his overriding message to “Learn from the negative moment, never lose faith and always stay strong” and his goal of creative consistency is having the ethereal vocalist Marisa Frantz bring every lyric to lilting and glorious life.
While Marisa had sung on a few tracks of Peloso's debut, he chose to feature her exclusively because of her obvious “it factor” and hauntingly innocent tone, which makes us feel as though we truly are entertaining angels as we venture through the highs and lows of Peloso’s emotional landscape.