Shirley Cason,
A Summer Dream
(self-produced, 2002)

A Summer Dream is an emotive, poignant, happy-sad composition by Shirley Cason dedicated entirely to her sister Carol, who "became an angel in the summer of '98." The 10 tracks are all instrumental, although six of them have lyrics printed in the cover, and the remaining four have brief explanation under the titles. Maybe the talented Cason was unable to sing accompaniment, or maybe she felt the feelings were better expressed by simply listening to her music and reading her words. I had no luck accessing her website, so I'm only guessing.

Though it doesn't say on the cover how the music is produced, there is a background photo of (I presume) Shirley at a keyboard with mixer visible. The overall effect is somewhat new-age, with a hint of the atmosphere of "Themes" from Vangelis: keyboard, strings, guitar and flute much in evidence, and it is relaxing, gentle and enveloping. This is a soundtrack to a tragic family drama, the loss of a dearly loved family member that affects all peoples, worldwide.

Shirley has chosen to share her memories -- both happy and heartbreaking -- with us, using her skills as a composer and musician to build pictures in the mind. Without the background or lyrics printed on the album cover, this is still a pleasurable listening experience, but with the knowledge of the inspiration for A Summer Dream comes depth and understanding.

The cover photos and insert are not commercial, but this then retains a more natural charm, much like a bunch of hand-picked wildflowers on a sunny grave say more of time spent and thoughts given than a bouquet of cellophane-wrapped exotic blooms. The important thing is the music, and the memories they invoke for Shirley, and the moments of tranquil reflection they may also bring to the listener.

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 1 February 2003

[ visit the artist's website ]

Buy it from