Here is a fairly unique idea. Why not take musical inspiration from the ocean, the beach, swimming, surfing, just the whole “go down to the sea and get mellow and have fun” concept, not to mention Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, and then TURN IT INTO NEW AGE INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC! Cool, dude. Cowabunga. I mean, why not? New age music is some of the mellowest, most relaxing music around so why not combine it with the whole ocean and beach thing. I can dig it. This music, which is mostly piano tunes with
quite a bit of strings soaring in the background, makes me feel like taking a nap in a hammock swinging between two palm trees as the warm gentle shoreline breeze makes me swing back and forth as it caresses my skin. Then a beautiful brown-skinned woman brings me an icy drink from the bar and.....I guess I am hallucinating here. But really, this music is like a soundtrack to a movie set on an island somewhere, or at least the background for a home video “What I did on my summer vacation.”

OK, ok, here are the details. I have been rambling on about the new album called Half Moon Bay by the new age keyboardist and composer Rick Sparks (this is his fifth recording). This guy definitely knows what he is doing. You can tell from his tune titles that he is in paddling straight out from shore ready to catch a big one: “Sand and Stars,” “Sunlight In Her Hair,” “Ocean Blue” and “Sunset Dreams,” to name a few. And then as a tip of his hat to the genius of Brian Wilson, the original “Let’s have fun in the sun at the beach” guy, Sparks covers three tunes written by Wilson at various times during his career -- “Half Moon Bay,” “Lonely Sea” and “Summer’s Gone.”

You have two options. You can get this music, listen to it and immediately book a plane ticket for a trip to a desirable ocean (unless you are one of those who are lucky enough to live right by one). Or, if you do not have the time or money for a trip, you can put this music on, make a mai tai, close your eyes and imagine you are in a hammock and a beautiful brown-skinned.....oh, oh, there I go again.