• Jonathan Widran

PAUL ADAMS & ELIZABETH GEYER, Sanctuary

At the end of my review of Deeper Imaginings, Paul Adams and Elizabeth Geyer’s powerfully immersive sonically fascinating second dual album (later nominated for both ZMR and Independent Music Awards), I wrote whimsically, acknowledging both them and the ensemble they had gathered for the project, “Here’s hoping the crew goes even deeper next time!”

Amazingly intuitive in their texturing and adventurous sonic conversations as always, the duo certain achieves that on their latest collection Sanctuary, which true to its title theme offers a warm, gentle, seamless from track to track dive into a peaceful and exotic realm of musical bliss. While the previous write up focused on their blend of Paul’s new age ambience and trippy ambience and Elizabeth’s soulful jazz improvisations, this time the story is less about the fusion of fascinating musical influences and more about pure stream of consciousness and the glorious journey sparked spontaneously one windy morning in Illinois when Elizabeth (piano, vocals, production, inspiration was meditating in a dark room to cope with a raging migraine while Paul (guitar, electric sitar, oud, dobro, production) practiced Anasazi and Native American flute downstairs.


Overhearing and absorbing some of Paul’s low, tender phrases, she began to feel better – and the stars aligning idea emerged - creating a soft spoken meditational album with hypnotic flute melodies grounding dreamier, wafting textures and improvised piano melodies. Besides the surreal interaction between his flutes and her elegant piano, the most salient features are the resonant, spiritually transportive, Eastern string textures Paul introduces subtly but compellingly on his sitar.

The grandeur filled, soft/low key yet richly majestic spa ready results are delivered via soundscapes centered around the imagery of forests (“A Forest’s Embrace,” “Through the Tree Tops,” “Forest Light”), water (with real life liquid lappings adding soothing energy to “Graceful Waters” and “By The Waters Edge”) and the calming vibes of evening (“An Evening’s Caress,” “An Endless Summer’s Evening”).


Considering that Sanctuary developed during the pandemic era – with music files being exchanged between the U.S. and Australia - there’s also no escaping the reality that in part, it’s literally a breathtaking response to our collective anxiety, a call to slow and calm down, get in touch with our inner divinity and rejuvenate so we can face the world with fresh resolve. Beyond the music, Paul created the beautiful natural cover photography and includes in the packaging six spiritually provocative/awakened poems intended to be read while listening to the sonic glories he and Elizabeth have created.