New Age Retailer (1999)… Those who have been reading this column for the past few years know that Bruce BecVar is my single favorite musician. An enormously gifted multi-instrumentalist and composer, BecVar has an uncanny ability to bring forth exquisite gems of musical genius. These tenderhearted jewels are profoundly soothing and healing gifts straight from BecVar’s heart to ours. Known first and foremost as a virtuoso guitar wizard, BecVar also plays keyboards, bass, percussion and, for the first time on River of Gold really explores the instrument of his voice as well. The songs are lightfilled paeons to love and the transcendent power of Spirit to heal and make all things whole.
BecVar is joined on River of Gold by a host of superb musicians. His Beloved, Aurora Juliana Ariel contributes her lovely voice on two tracks. His brother Brian, a renowned keyboardist who has toured with Kitaro, contributes his talents on a couple of others. Richard Hardy plays flute on one track and sax on another. Other musicians chime in with drums, percussion, piano and flute. The happy result is a luscious feast for the senses, songs that will find a home deep in your heart as you come to treasure every note. I love every single track on River of Gold. That said, I’d like to mention the endearing, sweetly romantic delight of the title track. Dreamy percussion floats along as BecVar’s guitar and Michael Ruff’s piano work their magic. “Journey of the Heart” features BecVar and Ariel’s delightful vocals on a track that could well receive airplay on smooth jazz stations.
I’ve had the joy to experience the maturation of BecVar’s artistry over the past nine years. With River of Gold, he’s reached a new pinnacle of artistic achievement. I’m delighted to recommend River of Gold as one of the finest albums of this or any year. I strongly urge you to set up a display featuring his other superb titles, as once someone discovers BecVar’s music, they tend to want it all. —Steve Ryals
Napra Review… I love it when a great artist just keeps getting better. As this latest recording proves, BecVar is one of those. Heartfelt melodies, true to his signature sound, explode with joy, vibrance, and unquenchable longing. Masterfully orchestrated, the melodies are accented by beautiful vocals from the artist and Aurora Juliana Ariel. The sweet duet “Journey of the Heart” is a dance of masculine and feminine voices delicately interspersed with exqusite guitar rhythms. As I listen to this and other pieces, I am transported to a land where love and romance abound and the beauty of nature flows through my heart like a river of gold. This recording is deeply passionate, exotic, and simply unforgettable. —Betty Timm
Monthly Aspectarian… From the slow, stately “Far Far Within” with its elegant rhumba rhythm and glimmering wordless vocals to the far funkier “Rainbow in A Blue Sky” and “Test of Tiime,” BecVar demonstrates once again why he is considered a six-string wizard. On this, his twelth album, he returns to the jazz-inflected melodies first explored so successfully on his 1992 outing, Rhythms of Life, but with a new twist. Instead of riffing on his collaboration with jazz virtuosi Alex Acuma and Paul McCandless, BecVar generates electricity in partnership with the new love of his life, vocalist and co-producer Aurora. Every song is an ode to their happy union, every melody rife with joyful emotion. Bruce even sings pop-style on one track, with murmured lyrics overflowing with romance. Abundantly intimate, this album is nothing less than a magnificent mash note, a Valentine that all can share. —PJ Birosik (February 1999)
New Age Voice Magazine… Bruce BecVar has a great sense of expressive melody and a long history of collaborations with people such as Deepak Chopra, Nada Shakti, and Tibetan monks to find new bridges between Eastern and Western musical styles. The lyrical romanticism expressed on this album owes much to the spirit of his fiance, Aurora Juliana Ariel, who collaborates with him to create inspired songs, which contain elements of both sacred music and smooth jazz. Their duets on “Journey of the Heart” and “Shiva Moon” are two of the most heartfelt ballads you will hear on any release this year, their voices soaring together and weaving in and out of fluid guitar lines, gentle piano, bass, flute, and percussion. River of Gold could have as easily been titled River of Ecstacy. The river runs wide and deep with melodies that I find myself humming even when I wasn’t trying to remember them. —DL (March ‘99)
Holistic Health Magazine… Bruce BecVar’s multi-instrumental talent weaves its magic once again in River of Gold, with deeply heartfelt acoustic guitar melodies, innovative orchestrations, catchy percussion and a glimmer of vocals. Bruce BecVar, best-selling New Age artist, was once a luthier to the stars, having handcrafted guitars for members of The Who, Peter Frampton and Led Zeppelin, among others. A world-class guitarist himself, BecVar plays numerous other instruments, in addition to engineering and producing all his own albums.
Omega Directory… Gentle, melodic, peaceful….this latest offering from Bruce BecVar is a gift not only to the ears but to the spirit as well. Soundscapes of Eden are evoked as a divine voice whispers behind each note and a soothing reassurance resounds in every chord. Within the framework of these 12 compositions can be heard the echoes of the music of the spheres, the spiritual experience of an unknown vibrational alliance between energy and matter that promotes healing and helps to establish well-being. The music is both a meditation and a celebration of life that carries on long after the guitars, keyboards, percussion and flutes end, a celebration that gets better with every trip down the River of Gold. Also receives my highest recommendation to all. —Rev. Robert Walmsly
Creations… This is a beautiful combination of guitar, synthesizers and subtle jazz influences. It could be categorized as “New Age Fusion.” It is very fluid and provides easy listening for a variety of purposes, including just plain relaxing. It is about love –it was written as a love letter from BecVar to his fiancé.
Leading Edge Review
River of Gold… Musical Journey Into Love… Bruce BecVar’s latest release is a beautifully orchestrated tribute to the power of love, as experienced by this exceptionally talented composer and guitarist. Accompanied by keyboards, flute, sax, percussion, drums and vocals, by him and Aurora Juliana Ariel, BecVar transports us to a land where music flows from the heart with grace and passion, sharing his joy and reverence for life and his beloved. The message within these exquisite melodies, impeccable guitar rhythms, and soothing arrangements is that we all have access to the River of Gold when we “turn within and give adoration to the flame of life upon the altar of our hearts.” This moving and soulful recording is inspiration to do just that.
New Age Voice Magazine, March '99… The river runs wide and deep with melodies that I find myself humming even when I wasn’t trying to remember them.
Wind & Fire… Per the liner notes of his new release, guitarist extraordinaire Bruce BecVar’s River of Gold represents something very personal and joyous to him–the discovery of a new life partner, Aurora Juliana Ariel (who contributes vocals on some songs). The CD itself is another in his long string of joyous life affirming recordings. I don’t know that he has broken substantially new musical ground here, although there are some new wrinkles, namely, Bruce himself doing some vocal work. I can take or leave the vocals (sometimes wordless, other times either a foreign language or a made up one–I can’t tell), although they are not intrusive to my way of thinking. Aurora has a lovely lilting soprano that compliments Bruce’s tenor nicely. River of Gold mixes up the song variety considerably more than some of Bruce’s other work. There are slower tempo songs as well as others that are snappily mid tempo. (May/June 1999)
Besides Aurora, Bruce is joined by a crew of other musicians, including brother Brian on keyboards and Richard Hardy on flute. The ensemble sound that results is different from Bruce’s classic releases, Forever Blue Sky and Take It To Heart, moving the music (at times) in an adult contemporary direction. Of course, with his knack for a tasty lick and catchy refrain, Bruce always has been very radio friendly. This is not meant as a criticism. Bruce’s music is not shallow or superficial. The “smooth jazz” elements on some songs is well submerged so this will not bring Kenny G to anyone’s mind.
No matter how radio friendly Bruce BecVar gets, I believe that his music comes from deep inside, not from a desire to sell CDs. As such, I recommend River of Gold as a good example of accessible melodic and yet heartfelt music, with the artist’s trademark hooks intact and the additional delight of a crackerjack crew backing him. —Bill Binkelman
Cynthia Sue Larson, REVIEWER, San Francisco… I am repeatedly surprised and amazed by RIVER OF GOLD. It outshines most new age music, with its multi-dimensional depth. Where some New Age music suffers from being overly introspective, RIVER OF GOLD bares its heart and soul and connects with the listener in new ways upon every hearing. This is the mark of musical genius! RIVER OF GOLD's musical phrasings are mellow, yet always moving forward (like a river). The music sparkles and shines on the surface, yet contains much deeper reserves of feeling which flow with dynamic grace in the duets between Bruce Becvar and Aurora Juliana Ariel. The hint of what inspired Bruce Becvar to create this magical album is contained in the liner notes that describe the meaning of the river of gold: "The river of gold is the radiant stream of life that flows forth from spirit. It holds the divine blueprint for our lives and is the source of the abundant life that is our divine heritage." Seldom does an album continue to delight the listener time after time, seemingly gaining depth and greater power to heal with every listening, like RIVER OF GOLD does for me. This music can heal and uplift your spirits — and if you are already feeling really great, it'll help you feel even better. Music just doesn't get much better than this!
Tony Malone, Reviewer (Lucerne Valley, CA United States)… This music mixes some great guitar work with the heavenly voices of Bruce Becvar and Aurora Juliana Ariel. This is music to make love by… or to meditate upon the simplicity and beauty of life…
Cynthia S. Larson, Reviewer, "www.realityshifters.com" (San Francisco bay area, CA USA)…The endless panorama of sparkling hues pouring from Bruce's guitar floats the listener on billows of New Music that is heartfelt, spacious and ever so inviting…electronic orchestration and percussion add to the rich acoustic guitar sound, offering a masterful musical expression by one of today's top acoustic guitarist's. Music doesn't get much better than this! (December 21, 2002)
Your music is so beautiful! It just continues to nourish me and inspire me on every level. Thank you for you and all your beauty in the world. —Maaloa Stillwater, Recording Artist
Your joined voices are just as heavenly as your Union of Spirit. —Pamela Polland, Recording Artist
I love the music! It's very rich and soothes the soul. I listen to it as I meditate and fly into the depth of my essence. Thank you both so much for sharing your music! Bruce is a fine artist and his guitar work is excellent. —Grandmaster Kimo Pang, Shoalin Internal Systems
Leila, Miss Hungary, 1998… I listen to the album every day. Aurora’s voice is like an Angel! —Leila, Miss Hungary 1998
We listen to your music often…it is such a treasure to my heart! —Anjou
Aurora and Bruce, your music is just wonderful and soul nourishing. I'm grateful for the work you are doing, and the contribution you are making to our universe. With people like you, we may still make it through these hurdles I feel are happening, and will get more severe before we can experience the realty of universal love. My support to you, and thank you very much for your gift of music. —Anne-Lise, owner, Eco Resort
We listen to your CD all the time and it brings us both much enjoyment. —Don Vaca, Wings of Freedom
For many years, Bruce, your music has warmed and stirred my heart. My wife and I began our courtship and your “Take it to Heart” was one of the cassettes we cherished the most. There are many qualities that your music stirs deep within me: Peace; the wellspring of Joy that often comes from the most quiet, private place in my heart; empathy with the human experience; tenderness; and healing. —Norm Frye, University of Santa Monica
This is a marvelous album. It gently rocks and soothes my soul to the core of my being. –Claudia Alt, Healer
While working, I happened upon River of Gold. The CD presentation in itself was so beautiful and touching, your photos gave so much, the stories of how the music evolved, the honoring and inspiration of your love so profound, it simply stopped me in awe and gratitude. I went right to Miracles and bought it after hearing it and it’s been moving through my soul in such tender and uplifting ways. I love your voices together on songs. I love Shiva Moon. I have no words for the beauty of Your Heart Can Sing, the words and the simplicity. Every word in Your Heart Can Sing is liberating. I love the way so many voice melodies come through the songs with no words. I love them all! The whole composition adds so much to my life, moods I can feel gratitude, depth and joyousness within. The guitar beauty… I so celebrate you are alive, living your gifts, and love, sharing the essence through music! —Wendy
Thanks for the album. It’s nice having some innocence and compassion energy flowing through my house. —Raphael, Music Producer, Recording Artist
You recommended your last CD to us…River of Gold. We absolutely love it! We can feel your heart and we can tell that you are in a marvelous place. —Regina and Kevin Richter
BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!! Thank you soooooo much! –Eve Hogan, Author, Chicken Soup For the Soul
Aurora’s voice gives the album an incredible feminine mystique. —John Conti
Bruce, your music has inspired me beyond words. Only my paintbrush can adequately express the beauty of your most uplifting, heartfelt, stimulating and in one possible word “heavenly!” creation. Your exceptional talents will connect many hearts, minds, and souls over the world. I believe your music has no age, time or country barrier. I will promote your music to every person I know and meet. –Sylva Spasenoski, Canberra Australia
I have been putting in some serious listening to River of Gold. I've been enjoying the lovely and warm sounds, sweet melodies, and positive spirit that you bring forth. Thank you. Very lovely piece of work on all levels. I'm so particular in what I put into my ears these days and your album bears repeated listening. I've danced to it and written to it. This is good. Serious detail in your production work there… Us guys can get consumed in the studio, huh… Like life, the layers…. The vocals portray the sweetness of the singers. You are a gifted artist, my man. —Joshua Leeds, Applied Music & Sound
Thank you for this beautiful CD. We listen to it over and over and over and over and over and over again! That’s all we’ve been listening to! It’s just so beautiful! Thank you so much! —Heather Parsons, Healer, Massage Therapist
I have some wonderful news for you. I have heard your River of Gold CD played several times at USM (University of Santa Monica)! That is a good testament to its healing power! —Karen Shippani-Tedhran
Bruce & Aurora ~ I was delighted to meet you both last evening in such a sacred atmosphere hearing your angelic voices sing the song of life in praise of the divine servant…. —Jagadisa Dasa
Thank you for this lovely CD. The cover reminds me of Monet's garden–the sounds as soothing as if I were there. —Maleita Wise
I am enjoying the "River of Gold" album SO much!!! Thank you for that sweet gift, and I will be sure to turn others on to it… The singing is gorgeous, and the whole energy of the whole album is lush and full of heart… –Elisa
As the sun rises in Bali I give thanks for all the many blessings in my life, family and friends and for your beautiful music. "River of Gold" sweeps me into a beautiful realm of love and ease every time I listen. Thank you Arya for creating such beauty, and Aurora for holding the light of Love and Healing. –Emerald STARR, Sacred Mountain Sanctuary, Indonesia