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  • River to River Trail: The Hike Through Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois
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River to River Trail: The Hike Through Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois

15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 12, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Listen to the inspiring music of Zola Van - Experience the scenic beauty of Southern Illinois through the inspirational piano solos of Zola Van. Zola's latest project combines the power of nature with her own artistic vision to produce a CD unlike any other. The music was inspired by hiking and backpacking the River to River Trail in Southern Illinois which is part of the American Discovery Trail.

Review

A walking inspiration. Celebrate the Shawnee with pianist Zola Van. -- Ken Seeber, The Southern Illinoisan, October 2, 2000

Musical inspiration from Mother Nature. Nature has always been inspirational to Zola...Her music is an accumulation of these experiences and values. -- Jennifer Wig, Daily Egyptian, September 15, 2000

Perspiration turned to inspiration. She actually captured the flavor of hiking the trail. Charming and clever; it'll make you cry. -- River to River Trail Society Newsletter, Special Edition 2000, by John O'Dell founder River to River Trail Society

Really good rainjacket? Nope, really good CD...sweeping you to a lush forest even if you're in a dingy office. -- BACKPACKER, The Magazine of Wilderness Travel, Associate Editor, Susan Newquist, Aug. 2001

Van plucks from the air and translates with clarity and grace rhythms and melodies intuited and barely heard that began long before any of us were born. -- Barb Weyls, Flipside, The Southern Illinoisan, November16-22, 2000

1. Steps - Battery Rock to Rock Creek
2. Heartbeat at High Knob
3. Angels' Dance at Garden of the Gods
4. Broken Wing at Lusk Creek
5. Flight of the Thunderbird at Mill Stone Bluff
6. Rain at Ghost Dance Canyon Trail: Dixon Springs
7. Walk by Here - Ferne Clyffe
8. Barred Owl at Panthers' Den
9. Trail Magic at Rocky Comfort
10. Shooting Stars on Trillium Trail: Giant City
11. Mighty River - Tower Rock
12. Trails Never End: Devil's Backbone

Product Details

  • Performer: Zola Van
  • Audio CD (October 12, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Really Big Shoes
  • ASIN: B000059Z4P
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577,516 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By C. Penn on December 27, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I attended graduate school in Southern Illinois, and while its been a number of years since I left behind the quite of my walks there, those memories spring to life as I listen to Zola Van's RIVER TO RIVER TRAIL: THE HIKE (through Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois). This evocative collection of piano solos recreates the pianist's journey through the Shawnee National Forest. Memories of ferns, flowers and wildlife will accompany listeners who journey through these marvelous piano solos.
Beginning with "Steps," the excitement of the beginning of the journey will include the listener in the pianist's exhilaration. Through the difficult terrain of High Knob, the wondrous beauty of the Garden of the Gods, whether accompanied by running water or the ancient echoes of history, each moment is uniquely captured in music. An awe of creation will accompany this listening experience evoking tears and joy, an appreciation of the magnificence of creation and a sense of wonder.
A series of eleven compositions, Zola Van's RIVER TO RIVER TRAIL: THE HIKE will appeal to outdoors lovers, classical piano fans, and new age fans alike. Indeed, this CD is both fiercely evocative and sensuously beautiful, resulting in a calming, healing experience for all listeners. Very highly recommended.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By cardinal-sjr on December 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Her music is very soothly, enlightening and enjoyable.
The "Rain at Ghost Dance Canyon Trail - Dixon Springs" song reminds me of days of listening to the rain. Very simple but very genuine.
I think I will purchase her CD.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Parsons TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Many recordings have a consistent theme or a story to tell, but Zola Van's debut is the first I've encountered that tells the story of a back-packing trip. "River to River Trail: The Hike" describes the artist's feelings and experiences while walking the trail in Southern Illinois' Shawnee National Forest. The music has been well-received by music lovers, but Zola Van has also received much recognition from The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and The National Forest Service. Articles about Van and her music have appeared recently in "The American Hiker" and "Outdoor Illinois".
The CD consists of eleven original piano solos and one vocal piece at the end. The selections are as varied as the elements in nature and the moods that they evoke. With a music degree from Southern Illinois University and a background of teaching music, the depth of Zola's training and understanding of music makes this a standout debut. Classical in scope and structure, the pieces are highly personal and expertly played. All of the songs are strong and evocative, but I'll tell you about a few of my favorites. The opening track, "Steps: Battery Rock to Rock Creek" is light and excited about the prospect of starting the hike - it seems itchy to get going and happy to the core. "Broken Wing at Lusk Creek" describes finding a butterfly with a broken wing and the sadness it brings - slow, flowing, with a gentle rubato - this is a gorgeous piece. "Rain at Ghost Dance Canyon Trail: Dixon Springs" is my favorite cut. It feels almost Celtic, but is in no way derivative of that over-used style. Zola gives the sounds of the rain falling on rock as well as the leaves and wildflowers around her a sparkling and refreshing feel - this is a truly outstanding piece!
Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Haunting, transporting you beyond your world into hers, the music stays in your head even after the last strains have died away. Close your eyes and let her lead you down woodland paths to see what surprises await around the next bend.
Her interpretations of nature's beauty are enhanced by a masterful control of the keyboard.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Harrison Norris on February 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I think Zola Van is absolutely fantastic. Her compositions are so moving and inspiring. This is second CD that I own of her music. We live very close to the places she writes about and it is so easy to picture them in the mind while listening to her play
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Irvin Goodman HALL OF FAME on November 2, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I really enjoyed listening to this delightful piano collection, played by Zola Van, which she composed and recorded following her hiking through Southern Illinois' Shawnee National Forest. The music is most relaxing, and reading the album notes as I listened, really helped me envision, experience, and take advantage of her hike. Zola's skill on the piano was very impressive. In these times of terrorism and unrest, this CD can really help you relax and enjoy nature's beauty. A CD you'll want to add to your collection, and listen to often.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael J Woznicki HALL OF FAME on November 11, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Someone once told that there are places in the heart where words can not touch; those are the places where music goes. The CD River to River Trail is one of those recordings where only music can touch that special place of your heart.

Zola Van has extraordinary talent for capturing the essence of nature's beauty through music. This album allows closing your eyes and traveling to the Shawnee National Forrest and beginning the journey from Battery Rock to Rock Creek, the first track.

The track Angels' Dance at the Garden of the Gods is my favorite track, so easy, so sweet and so soothing that the relaxation effect is and was incredible. After a hard day at work listening to track 5, Flight of the Thunderbird, is nothing short of amazing for its ability to ease the tension.

When my kids start to get ready for bed, playing this album calms them down and allows a smooth transition. My daughter loves the Might River track and seems to quiet down when it's playing. Finally track 12, Trail never ends, has vocals by Richard McNeill.

Whether you love classical, easy listening or new age music, you'll find a remarkable collection of music in this album. Simply incredible!
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