New album release - Silent Path  

I am excited to announce the release of a groundbreaking new album by my daughter, Mackenzie Tolk.  I just finished producing this new album of peaceful Celtic inspirational music.  If you enjoy Enya or Celtic Woman, you will love this album.  Tracks include: Silent Path, Loch Lomond, God Be With You Till We Meet Again, Be Thou My Vision, Rock of My Heart, There is a Green Hill Far Away, Find Me, Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow, Song of the Sea, and Rise.  It is now available for streaming and download everywhere.  You can also purchase physical CDs at Mackenzie's website at www.mackenzietolk.com

Give it a listen:

Amazon

Spotify

iTunes

Pandora

Seasons Review from RJ Lannan at Zone Music Reporter 

The Colors of Change 

I came across David Tolk’s music when someone sent me a link to one of his songs. After the first listen, I knew I wanted more. There is something about the combination of piano, light ensemble and irrevocable reverence that gets to my soul. There is a certain grace to David’s music. The heartfelt, harmonic tone of his works reminded me of only one other artist, John Michael Talbot. Although Talbot is a guitarist, like Tolk, his playing and compositions are drenched in a strong sense of faith. Tolk’s latest offering is called Seasons. It is eleven tracks of sublime contemporary instrumental music that produces a musical landscape of spring transforming into summer and fall tiptoeing into winter. 

The beginning tune is called Morning Light. From a mere delicate glow in the east to the warming rays of the full sun, nothing is more perfect in springtime. Even though the day star is millions of miles away, the warmth that reaches body and soul is instant in the first light. David’s subtle combination of violin and piano balance that warmth and light. 

Beneath A Starry Sky is a languorous melody with the coolness of the night and the pinpoint brilliance of distant stars. The music makes me feel as if I am in one of those time-lapse photos. The focus changes almost unperceptively, but it is there. The music is pacific and somewhat unearthly. 

The title tune, Seasons, is an echoing soliloquy on the changes in our physical world, and maybe more than just that. The music itself has a Beethovian shadow, having classical blandishments, but the main melody has an evocative refrain and a soft vocal that is more than memorable. But beware, for the feelings may be bittersweet.   

Living at the foot of the Smokey Mountains I could understand and enjoy the tune Clouds on the Mountain. There is an ethereal voice, delicate as gossamer, which permeates the song along within David’s haunting composition. For some strange reason, the next day after a summer rain, the clouds grow out of the mountain in thick white billowy masses. There is a purity to them, a chaste entity with an inner glow. This tune was an immediate favorite. 

We are having a dry spell where I live, so leaves are dropping, but without their customary colorful coats. I turned to David’s tune Falling Leaves for all the color that I need. With the rhythmic cadence of the song, I could imagine the leaves, gold, orange, and red, letting go of their organic bond with the trees and hoping for something new to embellish. A forest path, a dusty roadside or even a daydream.  

There is a droning sadness to the song Mists of Scotland, but the music is so apropos to the overall subject of the album. I could see the summer mists rising out of the glen, translucent with the morning light. Tolk’s piano ladened theme is suffused with quietude, a stillness more felt than heard. The music suggest to me that once the mist clears, there is promise to the day. 

When he wrote Elegy, I wonder if David was thinking of the coming winter. The leaves fall, the trees sleep and the snow comes. Some equate a departure, almost a death with the change of fall into winter, but I feel it is more of a preparation. The passing of fall may be the converse of spring. Winter is temporary. Winter is a sleep to mend, refresh, and for time that allows for that prima verde. David’s flowing violin tune wanders about, touching heart, appeasing soul, but always with an undisputable strength found inside the spirit. 

The final tune is called The Return. It is bright, cheerful, and practically exuberant. Is it the spring we experience in the morning? Does it suggest fresh, tender green growth, warm sunshine, is it the petrichor of the new? Piano and voice along with gentle ensemble come together to form not a goodbye for the recording, but a greeting. A sweet welcoming.  

David Tolk’s compositions are vivid and lush, complex and expansive. There is emotion in every blade of grass, every ray of sunshine, every fallen leaF, and every snowflake he musically creates. Tolk has ten previous releases. I have had the pleasure of listening to his albums called Graces and Impressions, but I have to hear more. I end this review with an appropriate quote. 
“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” — Henry David Thoreau 

Rating: Excellent    

- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/31/2017

"Featured Track" on Pandora: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing 

This month you can hear my arrangement of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" from my album, Solo Piano Hymns, as a "Featured Track" on Pandora Internet Radio. This hymn is so important to me because it helps me to remember the source of all of the abundant blessings that I have received in my life.   

Come thou fount of every blessing 
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace 
Streams of mercy never ceasing 
Call for songs of loudest praise

David Tolk Pandora Station



Merry Christmas  

A few days ago, we decorated our home for the Christmas season.  I engaged in my annual tradition of climbing up the ladder to hang the outside Christmas lights--with no serious injuries to myself or the house this time :)  In the evening, we gathered together as a family to place the ornaments on our tree with Christmas music playing in the background.  What a special and unique time of year this is to be able to focus more intently on the things that are most important, including family, serving others, and the sacred and miraculous birth of our Savior more than 2000 years ago.  As I write this post, I am looking out the window as the snow is falling and blowing in the wind.  There are few things I enjoy more than being snug inside our cozy home together as a family during the Christmas season while the snow falls outside.  Although my oldest son, Brendan, is in Scotland and will not be with us this Christmas season, I know that we are bound together as a family and that he will feel our love and support across that long distance.  It is my hope that you will all have a warm and peaceful Christmas season.  The beautiful and inspired artwork for this album was painted by my extraordinarily talented brother-in-law, J. Kirk Richards.  You can check out his amazing paintings and sculptures at www.jkirkrichards.com.  Also, if you have not already done so, it is time to create your David Tolk (Holiday) station on Pandora so that you can enjoy a great collection of peaceful instrumental Christmas music.         

Grateful   

I love November and Thanksgiving because of the increased emphasis on gratitude during this season.  I have fond memories from my childhood of enjoying Thanksgiving together as a family prior to rush of the Christmas season and listening to my mother play her arrangements of Thanksgiving hymns for us on the piano.   I enjoy a greater measure of joy and peace during this season when I remember to be grateful for the abundant blessings that surround me.   I am so grateful for my beautiful wife and my four extraordinary children who bring so much joy into my life. I am grateful for this beautiful world and for the adventures that I get to have here.  I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to share my music with so many people.  Last autumn, I discovered that my music had been played 100 million times on Pandora.  In the year since that time, my music has been played another 40 million times on Pandora.  It is difficult for me to comprehend this miracle of technology which allows so many millions of people to hear my music.  I am so grateful for all of the emails and messages that I have received during this past year from people who have connected with my music.  It is my hope that you will have a wonderful and peaceful Thanksgiving season.  

Autumn in Mendham 

Each year when the air begins to cool and my children return to school, I am reminded of the wonderful beautiful autumn experiences that I had as a child in my wooded hometown of Mendham, New Jersey.  I remember walking home each day during the autumn season from the cute brick Hilltop School, sloshing through colorful fallen autumn leaves which covered the sidewalks and which, at times, were so deep that they came up to my knees.  I remember taking hayrides with my family to a pumpkin patch in the woods near Park's Fruit Farm.  Autumn is my favorite season of the year.  My memories of autumn in Mendham are very special to me.  My entire first album, Mendham, was inspired by my love for my childhood hometown.  The tracks on this album are:  Mendham, Clearwater, Brookside Glen, Heir to My Affection, Jockey Hollow, Weeping Willow, Teeming Autumn, Lisa, The Stream, Hilltop, Storm Warnings, and Cold Hill Road.  I hope that you will enjoy these compositions inspired by Mendham.  Have a wonderful autumn season.  Fun Fact - the cello in this recording was performed by my good friend Steven Sharp Nelson of The Piano Guys, when he was still in High School.  He was amazing even as a teenager!          

Simple Gifts  

This afternoon, I attended an Eagle Court of Honor for two amazing young men from my neighborhood and church congregation.  While I was listening to an amazing vocal musical number during the Court of Honor, I remembered that I was asked about 11 years ago to prepare a musical number for an Eagle Court of Honor of a good friend.  I prepared a special musical number for that Court of Honor and performed for the first time my arrangement of "Simple Gifts" as that young man received his Eagle Scout award 11 years ago.  That arrangement and the recording of "Simple Gifts" has become one of my favorites over the years.  It has now been played more than 750,000 times on Pandora.  When I listen to "Simple Gifts," it makes me grateful for the wonderful blessing it is to live in the United States.  During the month of July, with the celebration of our Independence Day, I feel even more grateful for this wonderful land in which I have been able to raise my family.  I hope that you will enjoy this recording.  Best wishes, David  

My Inspiration for "In Reverence" 

Just over 10 years ago, my wife and I took our four children to Cape Cod for a wonderful week of exploring beaches, navigating cute little villages, and discovering unique ice cream shops in little colonial houses.  One afternoon, we visited Sandy Neck Beach and engaged in all of the fun activities that people do at the beach, including playing in the water, catching sand crabs, making sand castles, and throwing the football.  While we were engaged in this fun, I looked in a western direction and gazed up at one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen.  My family also noticed the amazingly beautiful sky.  We all spontaneously stopped what we were doing and looked at the setting sun with reverence for the natural beauty that we were experiencing.  As I looked around the beach, I was impressed that all of the other families had also stopped their activities and were staring at the sky in reverence.  Shortly thereafter, I composed "In Reverence" as a reminder to me of that profound experience that we shared as a family.  When I listen to "In Reverence," I am reminded of the quiet times in my life when I have been able to experience in reverence those things that are the most poignant, beautiful, and meaningful to me.  I feel fortunate that I have this photograph of my son Brendan and me from that day on the beach.

"In Reverence" has been streamed more than 65 million times on Pandora and has been consistently ranked in the Top 100 New Age Chart for iTunes USA.  If you have been touched by "In Reverence," I recommend that you also listen to my recordings, "Grateful," "Sacred," "Revelation," and "Grace."  You can listen to clips of these songs and others in the Music tab in this website.  Thanks for supporting my music and for listening to "In Reverence."     

Musical Tribute to my Lisa for our 25th Wedding Anniversary  

On June 1, 1991, I married the most beautiful and amazing woman that I have ever seen. We have now spent twenty-five years together and I still cannot believe that she married me.  I have composed many songs for Lisa over the years which have been included on my albums.  She is one of the main inspirations for the music that I compose.  The most recent song that I composed for Lisa is called "Serenade" from my album, "Impressions."  Beginning at about 55 seconds into this composition, a single violin melody begins above the piano.  After a few measures, the violin melody is joined by a second violin part in beautiful peaceful harmony.  The two violins continue this duet for the duration of this piece.  The two harmonious violin parts in "Serenade" represent the beautiful harmony created by Lisa's decision to join me in this amazing journey together for a quarter of a century.  Happy 25th Anniversary to the love of my life.  

In celebration of this wonderful and blessed landmark event in my life, you can download "Serenade" for free during the month of June. I hope that you will enjoy this music.