LOVE’S DREAM – Review by Max Reif
“Love’s Dream” is a new musical CD offering to Meher Baba by Gabriella Tal in collaboration with Andrew Marlin. It includes songs written by Gabriella over a 29-year period, beginning in 1983, the year she first heard Meher Baba’s name. It features her solo voice as well as several duets with Marlin. The very first track, “Heart’s Desire–a cheery opening–is a breezy duet that introduces the listener to the two vocalists’ easy creative blend, and then goes into a lovely flute solo by musician Tim Smith.
A fine group of back-up musicians greatly enhances “Love’s Dream”. Nearly every song has some sort of happy instrumental surprise. Cello, violin, saxophone, flute, piano, mandolin and percussion join guitars and voice. There is even an enthusiastic chorus of Chapel Hill Baba-lovers on one song, “Arms of the Free.” About her inspiration for this, her “major recording project, Gabriella writes in an email interview: “For a good while I’d been focusing on Rumi and Bhau’s poetry, so taking a break from the greats (!) I chose to offer my own work up to Him this time.”
This is her first project with Andrew Marlin, who besides vocals, produced the album and plays guitar, mandolin and piano. “He’s just a genius musically,” Gabriella wrote. “He took my songs and started working on them and the next thing I knew they were full of a new kind of energy, rhythm and feeling.”
Gabriella has a folksy voice with an intimacy reminiscent of legendary vocalist Kate Wolf. But she also does well with songs such as “I Call You My Love” and the last track, “Sing Me Home,” that have a bit of a country twang. She wrote all but one of the fourteen songs. The other, “True Knowledge,” is by a 13th century Indian Saint.
“Love’s Dream” is a kind of musical odyssey/autobiography. The poetry of Gabriella’s honest and often ecstatic lyrics tells a tale of her utter gratitude toward her Beloved and Savior, Avatar Meher Baba. As she puts it in one of her songs:
You have brought me face to face with You
You have brought me eye to eye
Lifting me of lifetimes, freeing me of fears
Safe with You I fly, I fly.