Howard Lyons,
Hopes & Dreams
(Skydome, 2001)

Howard Lyons has an interesting voice and the songs he sings have a soothing country sound with Native American influences. It's very nicely done. Joined by female voices (including Joanne Shenandoah) and interesting combinations of instruments, this CD is a unique blend of poetry and rhythms that imitate flying.

There is a soaring and spiritual quality to the songs. There's a dreamcatcher on the cover of the liner notes, and these songs, too, chase bad thoughts away.

I'm not sure where it was recorded, but the sound could be a little sharper, the words clearer -- but it's not a big issue. I do wish that the lyrics were written in the liner notes.

Lyons is an active Native American on the lecture trail and he imparts some of his speaking themes here on the CD. The music is pleasing, and I've already listened to this CD many times over without tiring of it. It's like a hot mellow cup of coffee; it's going to get you up and at it, but while you're imbibing it's a relaxing refreshment. There are times when the lyrics and sound seem a bit repetitive, but it's also probably a feature of the simplicity and sincerity of the album. You could play this while taking a long hot bath, at bedtime, anytime you'd like a calming influence. Different instruments keep the CD from becoming bland; instead they make for an interesting texture of sound. I did like this, and if you enjoy a country/pop blend, you'll find this a bit out of the ordinary.

- Rambles
written by Virginia MacIsaac
published 29 November 2003