Ever prolific and so in-tuned to the mind, body and soul – New Age artist Cheryl B. Engelhardt’s latest collection The Passenger. The nine tracks in this beautiful, spellbinding album are each little chapters that evoke strong emotions and captivating storylines. But isn’t that always what Engelhardt does for her listeners? The artist behind Luminary and “The Listening” elevates her own style and the stakes in this undeniably fresh sonic experience. Patched together with light, airy strings and some brilliant tones, The Passenger delights in the most subtle of ways. 

And that seems to be Engelhardt’s specialty. It’s her natural way of caressing the listener, easing them into an experience that just feels weightless and endearing. From the opener “The Beautiful Bridge”, a track that seems to stretch the boundaries of a violin from one end to the other, Engelhardt quickly establishes a strong foundation. What occurred to me listening to “The Beautiful Bridge” is that when you think of a bridge, you think of strength. Power. This particular song felt dainty and flexible, with wonderful, gliding movement. From there she takes you to the track “The Light That’s Left”, a peaceful, meadow-like experience. 

The lovely wandering continues with “The Chariot (featuring Dallas String Quartet)” and “The Misty Cosmos”. Engelhardt continues to be mindful with these songs telling a story – even if it’s not necessarily her story, but the listener’s narrative. Afterall, when left to your own devices, the mind can create a ravishing, detailed landscape of colors and imagery. Engelhardt’s honesty and integrity in these songs are the reason that music lifts and challenges us to do those very things. 

BANDCAMP: https://cheryl.bandcamp.com/

One of my favorite selections from The Passenger is “The Zephyr Remembers (featuring Sangeeta Kaur)”. The track feels modern and encapsulates anticipation. Sometimes you feel like you’re flying, drifting through the clouds. The gorgeous humming is balanced by the bouncy wavelengths. They switch off, with the listener chasing those echoes all the way. 

I also really enjoyed the final track, “The Ambient Love”. If this entire album is to be ‘told’ as a story and in order, “The Ambient Love”, to me, represented a return to the home. It felt restful and calming. I think after listening to the album in its entirety, you feel like you start at the bridge and catapult into the sky, and into the upper stratosphere. Engelhardt brings the listener along, much like the excitement of a hot air balloon, and you get to feel the exhilaration of the clouds, the wind, the air. You get to oversee it all. Then, in “The Ambient Love”, the balloon descends. Yet, you still have a natural high from the sensory explosions. While in previous albums and songs, Engelhardt might have sounded much more ‘organic’ or nature based, I really felt like The Passenger is about flight and air. The listener is riding in the cockpit of this massive airplane; you just feel so connected to the music. The Passenger is definitely worth the round trip and frequent flyer miles. 

Garth Thomas