Acoustic Serenade

Acoustic Serenade

Moonrise, 2004‎

REVIEW BY: Tammy Childs


Along with Robert van Buuren, Bob Dease is the mind behind Acoustic Serenade. Dease plays guitar and percussion and van Buuren plays guitar, bass and mandolin -- and for this maiden release, they add David Onstad on guitar and percussion.

Dease was born in Los Angeles, California where he played guitar and wrote songs as a child. He later moved to Mendocino where he met Robert van Buuren at a coffee house. Van Buuren was born in the Netherlands but studied guitar in high school in the United States as well as jazz and rock guitar, bass and mandolin.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Dedicated and courageous, this duo draws from the quiet and gentle nature of Dease's writing ability and the attentive guitar playing of van Buuren. Dease admits fear can often get in his way, but neither gentleman should have any precautions with this album. Onstad provides back-up to complement an almost-perfect new age result.

"Gypsy Traveller" has the frolicking nature of the free-gypsy-lifestyle but also cleverly expresses the seriousness of the harshness such a life can sometimes create. Their music is very deliberate and the depth of feeling in this piece is easily felt. "Sea Of Rain" is repetitive, although not to the point of being boring - the simple chords make the song unlikely as a favorite but it is not a shoddy piece by any means.

Free-flowing but serious, "Inversion" incorporates the composition and performance skills of Onstad. The song reminds me a bit of "House Of The Rising Sun" due to familiar chords, but is accomplished enough to only make it feel familiar while remaining original. Also, "Casale" demonstrates an Andrea Segovia influence. It is clean, sharp and beautifully written and performed. It is the highlight of the CD and my favorite, ending all too quickly.

"Quattro" kicks up the pace with a tempo change and energizes the CD with its quick notes and charismatic chords. There is a Spanish flair, albeit unpretentious, and this fortifies the song, as do the many world influences that pop up here, such as on "Free."

Acoustic Serenade also incorporates jazz, bluegrass ("Forest Lake") and soft rock into this release. This eclectic duet is immensely talented and their basic acoustic style of performance allows room for their composition abilities to be elevated and brought to the surface. The instruments merely carry the music rather than create it. The distinctive personality of each participant gives reign to express a refreshing and joyful CD.

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Rating: B+

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