Roger Cairns’ delivery on his new CD, The Dream of Olwen, is demonstrative of the music of his youth born in the wake of the World War II and weaned on a healthy does of Andy Williams, Johnny Mandel, and Michel Legrand among others. Every bend in his enunciation of the lyrics and every ascension and descent in his elocution is reminiscent of the music of his youth. Accompanied by the sensitive strokes of pianist Gary Fukushima, The Dream of Olwen sets the listener adrift along memory lane to a time that lingers in Cairns’ mind and heart.
It is a very personal album although all of the tracks are standards from the Great American Songbook. Each song has a special meaning to Cairns who handles them as if they were fine pieces of china from a dynasty whose artifacts are the only remains that show it ever existed. Cairns harks a somber tone throughout the album that produces a nostalgic feel in the tracks particularly when he sings songs that he recalls from his childhood growing up in Scotland like the title track penned by Charles Williams and “Ebb Tide” by Carl Sigman and Robert Maxwell. Cairns puts a part of himself into each song transforming them into images of himself causing them to evolve from the time when they were originally crafted. Cairns moves through a range of emotions that traverses from the lamenting verses of “Solitary Moon” to the highs of “I’m In Love Again.” Every melodic nuance of Fukushima’s piano and Cairns vocal imprints are steep in the universal psyche as Cairns ruminates about a time when music made a significant impact on his life.
The Dream of Olwen is not only a song that Cairns connects with his childhood, but he has adapted it as a reflection of his life. Produced by Cairns and Nolan Shaheed, The Dream of Olwen is personalized to demonstrate Cairns’ musical likings and his vocal range. The album moves like a tome that has been made with extreme care showing a part of Roger Cairns that he wishes most to be immortalized and proof that he existed.
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