Passing Through,
Just Passin' Thru
(Ahwatukee, 2004)

Just Passin' Thru is contemporary Native American music with a twist. This band has incorporated the didgeridoo and violin into their native traditions, adding a touch of world beat to their indigenous sound. Of the 14 selections included, half were recorded during a live performance at the Wichita Art Museum.

Like the work we have come to know from TerryLee Whetstone, this music reaches deep within your soul to touch and awaken primal instincts and feelings. (You can read other reviews of his work in the Native American music section of Rambles.NET.) The names of the selections provide a strong clue to the type of emotional impact they produce: "Ancient Echoes," "Rebirth/Visions of the Afterlife," "Kickin' Up Moonlight Dust," "Solitude," "Rhythms of a Waterfall" and "Souls Embrace."

I carefully selected the words "emotional impact." This CD will impact your emotions like a meteor striking the planet. You cannot listen to it without a major emotional response. These musicians are adept at manipulating the mental and emotional state of the listener, taking you precisely where they want you to be.

The overall effect of Just Passin' Through is relaxation. If you desire to journey, I suggest darkening the room, stretching out on the couch, bed or floor, and closing your eyes. The music will do the rest. No matter how stressed you are to begin, the music will ease you, clear your mind and lead you far from your hectic daily life. You definitely do not need relaxation techniques to "prepare" for this experience.

The members of Passing Through are Whetstone (Native American flute, rainsticks, rattles), Trevor Stewart (Chapman stick, violin, drums) and Rik Stevenson (didgeridoo, violin, guitar, percussion). Dennis Balderez joins them on drums for two selections.

I always try to select a few pieces that are my favorites, but that's impossible with this CD. I loved every second of it and could not find anything that made one piece stand out above the rest. Each tune was expertly composed and professionally played. Timing is impeccable and every crescendo or fade out is ideal for that particular moment.

If you are the type of person that finds an afternoon rain shower on a tin roof relaxing, this is the ideal CD for you. Order a copy, set your CD player to repeat the fourth tune, "Come Walk With Me" and spend a while in your own personal heaven. Or simply play the entire CD and thrill your soul. Whetstone's work with the rainsticks will move you to a new plane of existence!

Stewart rocked my world with his drumming in "Kickin' Up Moonlight Dust." His violin work is outstanding throughout this collection.

I must comment on Stevenson's skill with the didgeridoo. Readers that follow my reviews know I am a solid fan of the didgeridoo and tend to be especially tough on didgeridoo players when I feel they are performing at less than professional standards. Rik is a master. His playing is superb! His reverberations and pulled notes are some of the best in the industry and I fear he may actually unseat my favorite didgeridoo player for the No. 1 position.

Just Passin' Thru is an exceptional CD from beginning to end. Order a copy today. You will not be disappointed.

- Rambles
written by Karen Elkins
published 25 September 2004