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Release Date:
March 16, 2010

Reviewed by:
Elizabeth Ware

The last several years have left many artists with an identity crisis of sorts.  With very little radio support, there is little need to produce radio friendly songs.  Where do you go from there?  For Ken Navarro, that's an irrelevant question.  Ken has never been very concerned about hitching his musical wagon to a radio format.  But while others are pondering what this brave new world will sound like, Ken shows us with Dreaming of Trains.

The nine tracks on Dreaming of Trains aren't so much nine separate tracks as much as they are one unified experience from start to finish.  Accompanied on all tracks by Jay Rowe, Tom Kennedy and Joel Rosenblatt, Dreaming of Trains is marked by complex solos, sophisticated harmonies, long tracks and lots of layers, yet remains very melodic throughout. 

Opening the project is "Dreams So Real," a short Asian flavored track that sets the stage.  The joyful "Self Propelled" follows with delightful guitar riffs lifting us higher as we soar above the ground with them.  "True Stories" – one of three long compositions – delightfully builds upon itself and unfolds something new around every corner.

The title track – another long track – builds one line upon the next, painting a vivid, yet ethereal musical portrait that automatically picks you up and carries you away.  "The Buzz" is the most "smooth jazz" friendly track on the project, but don't let that mislead you.  It is engaging, upbeat and meaty.  Ken adds mandolins in the mix on "Shared Air" in a delightful play with Jay Rowe's synthesized harmonica.  The wonderfully layered "Everything Being Is Dancing" takes a little funky departure and let's Tom Kennedy take center stage on bass. 

After a very snowy winter in much of the United States this year, "The Stars, The Snow, The Fire" will resonated deeply with many listeners, giving many a soundtrack for their memories, but it is another superbly layered track with many rich elements for all us.

Closing the project is Ken's rendition of Erik Sartie’s "Gymopedie No."  - beautifully executed by Ken on classical guitar and Jay Rowe on acoustic piano – a great ending to a great CD.