by Michael Foster 
Ambient Visions

Sapphire Oak is Sharon Fendrich's second album and even though it's been almost 3 years since her debut album Red Praire was released I am pleased to say that it's obvious that the time was well spent as I listened to her new album. With a delightful mixture of orchestra, piano and etheral vocals Sharon transports her listeners into a magical realm that she has created from her heart and shared with us through this new album. Listening to these 11 compositions was quite relaxing as I was imagining one of the panoramic views of New Zeland that was shot for the Lord of the Rings movies scrolling by as Sharon's music supplied the soundtrack. Sharon has permeated her compositions with a deep seated love for the earth & it's importance to all of us stretching back through the mists of time when the earth was still relatively untouched by human hands. 

There is a timelessness to the music contained on this album which immediately connects the listeners not only to the world that surrounds them in the here & now but also takes them on a journey back into the past so that they will appreciate how the oak tree has always stood firm within the flow of time and has been the witness of untold history throughout the ages. Sharon's music captures this endless quality of the mighty oaks that surround us & reminds us of the majesty of nature & our relationship to the oaks as a matter of living on this earth the same as they do. As I mentioned about the Lord of the Rings earlier Sharon's music has a cinematic feel to it at times which nudges the listner to draw on their own ideas of majestic oak trees and nature to visualize the landscapes that her music creates for us. We seem to be a very visual species so it is no surprise that Sharon's music lends itself to fostering these imaginary journeys we all take when we have a few moments of peace & relaxation in this hyperactive world. Listening to Sharon's music simply kickstarts the process of allowing our minds to drift.   

Sharon has created an impressive collection of songs for Sapphire Oak as each one seems to conjure up the landscapes in our minds of these times long ago and each song leads us further down the path and deeper into the woods so to speak. The soaring vocals that you will find scattered among the compositions are very inspiring as they awaken within the listener the very spirit of the oaks both in history & with those oaks that surround us even in the present day. The music on Sapphire Oak is very intimate music that is both tender and pleasing. All too often in a world that is built & runs on technology it's easy to forget nature and not see how connected we are and how important it is that we have ties to that which allows all of us to continue living.   

This album has a comforting quality to it that touches something deep inside the listener as it brings to mind the foundation of our existence here on earth. Nature. All the music on Sapphire Oak was composed, produced and arranged by Sharon Fendrich and it indicates the talents that Sharon brings to this project & it also shows that she is quite capable of translating the feelings she has for this subject into music that stirs those same emotions in her listeners. At times the music seems otherworldly & quite mystical as it opens your senses to the experiences that connecting with nature will afford anyone who is willing to spend some time contemplating the natural world.

It is obvious that Sharon is very skilled in the crafting of music and these songs in particular prove that point. One of my favorties songs from this album is the very last song called Carry the Oak. I think this song lends it self to sitting in a chair in front of a Hobbit House and looking out over the simple & natural world that surrounds us. Sharon's music has an otherworldly feel to it and her storytelling is top notch. This album would be a great buy on a Bandcamp Friday on the first Friday of every month. Recommended by Ambient Visions.