“It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” The quote, originally attributed to Greek stoic philosopher Epictetus, has found it's way on to all manner of motivational posters and memes. As true today as when it was written. We are not complete slaves to our circumstances, we choose how to proceed when faced with difficult times.

New York singer-songwriter Scott Chasolen went into a hiding of sorts following the breakup of his marriage. The multi-instrumentalist and member of Pink Floyd tribute outfit The Machine held up in his apartment to craft his latest piece, Living In Limbo, performing all of the instruments himself save for a few string and percussive accompaniments. The result is an album that is quiet and contemplative, sad indeed but always warm and accepting. Throughout the album, he maintains a very James Taylor-like acquiescence that lends a sort of zen to the proceedings. Chasolen's latest album may have been written in a time of major heartache but it is somehow still replete with an assured optimism. Sure, his piano-led emotion-filled ballads are centred around this pivotal separation but the tracks are never teeming with anger or wallowing in self-pity. Chasolen acknowledges the cracks in the relationship, all the things that led to the divorce but finds the silver lining in it all and looks forward to the many heights to come.

The single 'Limbo' kicks off the album with Chasolen on steadily strummed acoustic guitar. He digs into the boom and bust nature of a relationship on the rocks, never knowing when it will hit the breaking point. That purgatory is painfully hard to break free from. Chasolen still keeps a slick sheen on things with his soft, smooth croon. For the majority of the record, he helms his primary instrument, the piano, which he commands with a calm ease. 'Lighthouse' tells of beacons of hope, 'Springtime in the City' shares that infectious “can do” attitude that infects New Yorkers when the harsh winter finally subsides, leaving their fair city to awaken again. A track destined for a rom-com soundtrack.

'Northern Lights' and 'We Will Fly' offer more optimism with shimmering guitar and inspirational images. The last third of the album does take a more solemn turn. Tracks 'Gone', 'Missing' and 'Pieces' all detail the mindset of a good-natured man that gave it his all and came up short. The closer 'Closer' (as in nearer to each other) takes stock of all the ups and downs that make us know one another better, regardless of the positive or negative outcome.

Living In Limbo showcases Chasolen's talent and facility in emoting through a variety of instruments. Determined not to be dragged down, he takes this bump in the road and channels it into his art. Warm tunes that have the bigger picture always in view.

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