Album: Crossroads
Artist: Marc Enfroy

crossroads cdWhile many albums that I write about contain a song or songs that have been inspired by an event in an artist’s life, rarely have I seen an album that is so intensely autobiographical from start to finish as Crossroads, the latest release from pianist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Marc Enfroy. As the title implies, the album charts a difficult time and point of decision in Marc’s life. In my exclusive interview with Marc, he talked at length about these events and their impact on the music. Since his words and the back-story about this time in his life add greatly to the understanding and appreciation of the music, I’ll share portions of that in this feature article.


As Marc described: “The last few years were the most personally challenging I’ve ever faced. Things eventually climaxed to a point where I was faced with the possibility of taking my life in a whole new direction. It all came down to one question. Should I stay or go? It wasn’t simple and clear cut. It was complicated and agonizing. It was my personal crossroads. I’d lived my entire life acting to some extent, hiding parts of myself, ashamed of my emotions, putting on a facade of strength and confidence for fear of rejection. I gradually lost myself over the years, who I was, what I wanted, and my ability to be a fully expressed human being. Then life happened in a way that exposed me. A chain of events followed that I would have never foreseen in a million years but over the course of time led me to a decision point. Crossroads is a soundtrack telling the story of that phase of my life. I like to think of it as tale of leaving, seeking and finding.”


As we’ll see, Marc definitely has a flair for the dramatic in his music and there is quite a cinematic feel to his songs. When I asked him about this, he replied: “My dad was big into classical music when I was a kid. I didn’t like it until I was about 18 and then I took a liking to Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Vivaldi and the John Williams Star Wars soundtrack. I’ve always loved sweeping movie scores, dramatic rock, the piano, electric guitar and especially strings. Vocally I prefer the female voice; it’s more alluring to me. I’m also weirdly drawn to sad ballads; probably because I’m a sappy hopeless romantic. So neo-classical piano music with some splashes of rock and haunting female vocals were right up my alley for this album.”


Marc’s love of drama and storytelling extends beyond his music and into the words he uses to-Crossroads describe it, which reads like a film script. The album opens with the title track, and I’ll let Marc set the scene: “It’s dusk in small town USA. A reluctant traveler is trudging along a hazy road and sees a surreal, almost otherworldly crossroads ahead. He’s tired and he’s in turmoil and he doesn’t know which way to go. Against his will, invisible forces start pushing him until he’s thrust headlong into an intersection. He sees all the events of his life spinning around him chaotically; scenes of family, scenes of regret, scenes of betrayal, scenes of toxic dysfunction. They whip him around and around until he’s physically and mentally exhausted and falls to the ground in a heap right in the middle of the crossroads.” Having read this description before listening to the song, it is impressive to hear how perfectly this scenario is portrayed in the music. Marc’s powerfully evocative piano playing and dramatic keyboard orchestration is accompanied by the soulful violin of Jan Sullins, who plays on many of tracks throughout the album.


Marc and vocalist Aili Laine

Marc and vocalist Aili Laine

According to Marc: “From that point on, the rest of the album is a collage of scenes depicting different moments before and after the crossroads. Scenes of isolation, despair, and deep resolve ultimately culminating with “In that Moment” which is track 13; a moment where he finally finds a new place to belong.” On track 2, with a title like “Toxic,” as one might expect, there is a bit of a dark edge to the piece. It is extremely imaginative and I liked Marc’s use of electronic elements and effects in a symphonic context. Another image-evoking title is on track 3, “Your Silence is a Razor.” Along with Marc’s piano and keyboards, his song introduces some new elements not heard thus far, namely the alternately sultry and soaring female vocals of Aili Laine and the rock guitar of Ken Taylor. The combination of all these parts and the way they told a story, at times brought to mind Pink Floyd on this truly monumental composition. The powerful lyrics on this song, as well as others on the album, were written by Marc’s brother, Paul Enfroy. Together they make quite a creative duo.


With 16 tracks on the album, there isn’t room to go into detail on all of them, but I’ll be happy to share some of the many highlights. Coming down off the high energy of the preceding song is a slower, more understated piece entitled “Sepia” which features the cello of Sarah Cleveland, and reveals the side of Marc that loves sad ballads, as mentioned above. Another piece along these lines is “Fading White,” sung by vocal powerhouse Lila Ives with backing vocals by Aili Laine. The way this song slowly and skillfully builds to a grand crescendo is a tribute to Marc’s skill as a composer. Following a similar trajectory is a track called “Shattered,” and although it bears the same name as a classic Rolling Stones tune, the commonality stops there. With it in its rolling piano arpeggios, cello and violin-laced melodies, and neo-classical influences it actually reminded me more of Manheim Steamroller than the Stones.


Vocalist Lila Ives

Vocalist Lila Ives

However, a track called “Shed my Skin” definitely brings the rock in another song featuring the stunning vocals of Lila Ives along with electric guitar, bass, piano, and rich keyboard orchestration. Following the immensity of that song is the album’s lone solo piano composition, “Moonlight Obsession” which is Marc’s rendition of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata. It was an interesting contrast to hear this completely different facet of Marc’s playing which reflected his classical music influence.


As mentioned earlier, track 13, “In That Moment,” marks a turning point in the story, which Marc describes in this way: “A moment where he finally finds a new place to belong, a place to be who he is, a place full of passion and love. It brings him tears of joy. After choosing to leave and all the searching in the fog of life, he knows which way to go. He’s found his true path. He’s found home.” And musically, after a number of dramatic rock-influenced songs, this one has a soothing ambiance, like taking a deep breath and letting go after an intense experience. The journey reaches its conclusion with “Unbounded Reprise” which is a remake of the title track from Marc’s 2008 debut album. Here, according to Marc, “The traveler returns to the crossroads, unmasked, true to himself, no longer afraid. He knows exactly which path he’s going to take and sees his life as unbounded, without self imposed limitations or self-judgments. He’s come full circle, he knows where his heart belongs and that’s where he’s heading.” The composition beautifully portrays a sense of relief, inner peace, and confidence that leaves the listener with a sense of completion and that sought after element in many movies – a happy ending.


Corin Nelsen and Marc

Corin Nelsen and Marc

This album was a revelation to me – a revelation about the extraordinary talents of Marc Enfroy as a composer, arranger, instrumentalist, and musical storyteller. The detail he has put into every song has to be heard to be believed. Crossroads is an epic production on every level. I must also give my respect and admiration for Paul Enfroy’s remarkable lyrics, as well as the stellar vocalists and musicians who grace this album. The sound quality and production on the recording is superb, as can be expected considering that Marc worked with highly regarded engineer/producer Corin Nelsen. Crossroads is being promoted by Sherry Finzer’s RS Promotions.


Marc’s love of film scores is evident in his cinematic compositions with neo-classical and symphonic rock influences. All the various facets of Marc’s musical spectrum are beautifully reflected, and as he shared: “The biggest thing for me has been realizing I can show all the different sides of my personality. I’ve learned it s okay to be fearlessly vulnerable with my music.” Marc has done an admirable job of channeling the challenges and inner conflicts he has experienced, turning them into works of sheer artistry. I was inspired and impressed by this album and am happy to help get the word about it. The fact that it debuted at #4 on the prestigious Billboard New Age Chart is an indication that I’m not the only one who feels this way.


Click the link below to hear samples, and/or purchase this album:



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