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Music Review: Vincent DeMasi – Sketches for Sofia

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At the same time that my mother passed away, I received a review CD of Vincent DeMasi’s Sketches for Sofia. I decided to pop it into my car CD player and give it a listen.

Sketches for Sofia opens with the sound of a beach. You can hear seagulls and water hitting the sand. Romantic strumming of DeMasi’s guitar follows this. As the song gets underway, it flows right into the second song, called Clayton Junction. This song is a series of finger picking guitar instrumentals that is so soothing and so relaxing. I can listen to it over and over again.

The reason why I mentioned my mother in the first paragraph was that I’ve actually been using this CD as a way to deal with the pain that I am suffering from her loss. The music is so incredibly beautiful and really helps to put things in perspective.

I’m not sure why Mr. DeMasi named the album, Sketches for Sofia, but the jacket is done in sepia tones and has old-fashioned photographs along with old keys on it. When you open up the jacket, you see the artist with his acoustic guitar playing. Vincent DeMasi wrote all songs and arrangement in 2007, except for track six which is a rendition of “Eleanor Rigby,” which is a John Lennon and Paul McCartney song written in 1966.

As I listened to the album, I wondered if he wrote this album for a loved one. My favorite song was “The Ballad of Strawberry Rose.” It is such a lovely song that when you listen, you just want to smile. DeMasi’s finger picking on the acoustic guitar is so beautiful you feel emotional after listening to it.

“Mordecai Brown” is upbeat and has a country twang to it. It’s fast and keeps you on your toes. It’s a wonderful arrangement that almost sounds as if two guitars are playing, but you know there is only one. This is the type of song that makes you want to tap your feet or get up and dance.

Each of his songs is unique. They each have an individuality of their own. I tried to find a similarity between them, but the only thing I could find was a sense of stability and calmness.

The album ends with “Train to Babylon.” It’s a long train ride to Babylon and it opens with an anxious guitar that slowly calms down and has a rhythmic sense that makes you want to sing along. As the song progresses, there’s more anxiety as the train approaches the station. When it drops off its passengers, it goes back to a rhythmic setting. I think this is also another favorite song of mine on the CD.

This CD couldn’t have come at a better time. It makes me feel like things will be okay.

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