Recordings of Note


Flowers for Your Heart

Elisa Thorn, harp and vibraphone; Justin Decries, drums, James Meger, bass. Self-released, 2019.

Elisa Thorn tells us that her two artistic objectives are to “create music that is both abstract and accessible” and to “lead a band with harp in a way that does not compromise sensitivity with its boldness, or aesthetic beauty with it’s curiosity.” Her second album in the Hue series, Flowers for Your Heart, presses all those buttons. 

Perhaps learning from her first foray, this time she’s less rebellious, showing a maturity and acceptance that the harp can still be ethereal, lovely, even feminine while maintaining an edginess that can’t be pigeon-holed. This is especially evident in Brother where all of her skills as a rock, indie, and even classical musician meld together. Joined by the responsive, yet unafraid-to-lead drummer Justin Devries and bassist James Meger’s grooving grit and natural improvisatory style, this album takes us into new worlds without us even being aware. This is most effectively done in Mountains, which engenders a feeling of a journey well worth taking. 

A bit of a bonus is Magnolia with Laura Swankey’s husky and savory mezzo joining the trio, starting with words that soon evolve into pure golden sound. 

A Quiet Uniqueness

Rachel Clemente, harp. Self-released, 2018.

Always taking my breath away is New England-based lever harpist Rachel Clemente, her unrestrained joy conspicuous in every note she plays, as if a gift given freely. In A Quiet Uniqueness, Clemente offers up a scintillating collection of new works in the traditional Celtic style guaranteed to sweep away the blues. Clemente’s natural buoyancy is demonstrated at the outset with Cavers of Kirkcudbright by Mike Vass, a bright light on the Scottish music scene. In the original tune Countryside Quiet, Clemente invites fiddlers Chloe Bryce and Madeleine Stewart to provide a jaunty accompaniment, finally breaking out into surprise vocals like a sun shower. Exceptionally rendered is Brian Finnegan’s Morna for two harps, Becky Hill as if a twin sister in their ensemble. The short album ends with Eyler Coates’ lovely work of fusion, The Old Bard of Stilligarry, written for the Scottish Harp Society, wraps up the CD with a bow.


About Author

For the past 10 years, Alison Young has turned her highly trained ear towards the latest and greatest releases as Harp Column's records reviewer. A professional flutist and radio host, she enjoys discovering new music as well as familiar music played in new ways and sharing with readers her points of view in colorful and exacting descriptions. You can email her at


  1. Cindy Cripps-Prawak on

    So I very much appreciate all these reivews. They open windows into new artists and new music. Any chance you are going to review Caroline Leonardelli’s new album Serenata? It’s been out for at least 6 months and not a peep out of your magazine.

    • We’re glad you enjoy the recording reviews in Harp Column. We receive new recordings each month, and our recording review editor Alison Young works through the queue as quickly as possible. Caroline Leonardelli’s new album is slated for review in the upcoming issue of Harp Column, so stay tuned!

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.