Review Summary: ...how sweet the sound.
Goldmund - All Will Prosper
Goldmund, the one man side project of Helios front man Keith Kenniff, is an unsung name in the music world, and pop culture for that matter. Anyone remotely in touch with the modern world in anyway has probably heard one or two of his tunes: with tracks of his being featured for commercials from clients ranging from Honda, Doctors Without Borders, American Express, and Apple. Yes, Kenniff’s small project that he’s got going here has proven to be a fairly lucrative source of recognition, even if that recognition won’t make him a household name. Yet this notoriety has produced several full length albums of minimalistic glory and ambient piano works. Armed with only an open grand piano and occasionally a guitar, Kenniff presents not only one-time hits for catchy commercials, but an astounding display of atmospheric, neo-classical pieces that send the listener back to Civil War era music: a theme that has been the centerpiece for the project of Goldmund.
Where his previous effort, Famous Places
, tended to skip past the theme of the 18th century in favor of a more classical approach, Goldmund’s fourth full length album All Will Prosper
swan-dives the recurring theme back into the gritty western of a time when the soul of America was held together by only a thread. Composed almost entirely of traditional Civil War folk songs, with the exception of contemporary track “Asoken Farewell”, All Will Prosper
is arguably one of Kenniff’s most nostalgic pieces of work that he has ever created under the Goldmund moniker. Some of the most recognizable ballads include a gut-wrenching rendition of “Amazing Grace”, followed by a traditional version of “Dixie”, and an even more folk oriented version of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, anyone who’s familiar with American history will be instantly taken aback by the sincerity and care that has been taken into performing the songs perfectly in its original format to a tee.
Yet where Kenniff has flourished by putting his own touches on his works, like the traditional yet highly original debut album Corduroy
, All Will Prosper
lacks just that. For an album coming from a graduate of Berklee, All Will Prosper
just sounds too safe to be anything astounding. Essentially a glorified, yet highly commendable, cover album, All Will Prosper
’s nostalgia factor is emphasized more from the extremely recognizable songs that are covered, not from Kenniff’s ability at crafting moody atmosphere.
For a set piece, All Will Prosper
is a resounding success. Conjuring thoughts of run-down saloons and hotels, with a sole piano and guitarist in the back corner, carefully strumming away to the hits of that era, Goldmund’s fourth album is rife with some truly remarkable moments that help the listener remove his or her burdens and simply enjoy music as it used to be, free of any pretense and representing the times that America was going through. Equal parts depressing and hopeful, All Will Prosper
is an extremely fun album that was done with care and love, and will make any listener enjoy the tunes of 18th century America.