Ahhh. It's been a rough day. Too many phone calls. Too many people. Too much noise. Fast-paced is highly over-rated. Time to Relax. Dim the lights. Pour a glass of wine or brew a cup of tea. Sit back, close your eyes and do what today's world seldom let's you do: drift. But don't drift on your own. Let guitarist George Sawyn's unique musical flotation device carry you along gently, peacefully, on a river of song and sound that will slow you down and bring you home to that quiet place within yourself. Relax is a softly plucked declaration of independence from frenzy, from hectic activity, from too many demands and too little time. Listening to the gentle tunes might encourage you to read a poem, or watch a sunrise; to give a silent hug to someone near and dear; to listen to the soft sounds that might otherwise go unnoticed. Seven of the 10 selections in George's Relax CD are his own, using electric guitars, acoustic guitars and synthesizers. There's New Old Friends, a celebration of the instant friendship that springs up in when kindred souls recognize each other; Aloha Cookies, made with "tasty fun and bouncy, happy and silly ingredients"; and Jewels in the Heavens, a musical portrayal of the wonder of the night skies. The best part of Relax is the guitar playing itself, evocative, persuasive, a love affair with strings that dances to tunes heard first in the heart of George himself on the days when he, too, has needed to Relax. The following comes from George's own CD liner notes: 1) New Old Friends - dedicated to all the new people we meet, who, after about an hour, make us feel as if we have always known them. Solo acoustic guitar. 2) Absent Old Friends - originally inspired by the most untimely death of a young co-worker (Blessings to you, Natalie, wherever you are); now dedicated to all of my old friends who have left the earth. Acoustic guitar duo. 3) Never Been To Hawai'i - originally appeared on "The Trout Creek Concert" CD; newly recorded. Mostly solo acoustic guitar, with some gentle lead playing on the electric guitar. 4) Aloha Cookies - made with lots of tasty and fun and bouncy and happy and silly ingredients. Solo acoustic guitar. 5) Hilo Bay Lullaby - incited by Janet Dellaria, and inspired by Keola Beamer and his beautiful song, "The Beauty of Mauna Kea," and the beautiful C-Wahine guitar tuning (C - G - D - G - B - E). Acoustic guitar duo; live recordings and synthesizer provide the ocean sounds at the beginning and end. 6) Be Thou My Vision - a beautiful old Christian hymn, arranged for solo guitar; inspired by an email friend/student in California (Thanks, Steve!). 7) Don't Give Up - a really beautiful song by Peter Gabriel, and a very positive sentiment. Acoustic guitar duo, using the Tamura classical guitar on both parts. 8) Jewels In The Heavens - a musical portrayal of the amazing night skies in the Michigan U. P. The most involved recording on this album, featuring both my Washburn and Tamura classical guitars, electric guitar, and several synthesizers. 9) Brahms' Lullaby - short and sweet; several acoustic and electric guitars. 10) Night of the White Rainbow - dedicated to Janet Dellaria, who suggested the title, and writer Mark Hertsgaard, who describes seeing a "moon rainbow" in Hawai'i in the incredibly hopeful and positive last 5 paragraphs of his book, "The Eagle's Shadow." I am told that seeing one of these is regarded by the indigenous Hawai'ian people as a blessing of the highest order. George Sawyn comes from a family in which music was just taken for granted. Everyone played an instrument or sang-melody or harmony-with the kind of talent that looks effortless. Nevertheless, George spent five years taking piano lessons and then, motivated by peer pressure and rock 'n' roll, he switched to guitar. There he found his forte, and a love for a whole universe of musical styles, including jazz, country, folk, ethnic and classical. He began working professionally in 1972, combining his talents with that of some of the Chicago area's finest musicians, working with large bands and small groups. Most recently, he has added regular performances in Door County, Wis., where he's had more scope for experimenting with his improvisational pieces-music not just BY George, but also FROM George, from that musical core that's his alone.
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