RED WING -- Neal Topliff did not plan to create an album to soothe listeners during a global pandemic. But that is what he hopes his newest release, "Beacon of Hope," has done.

Topliff comes from a musical family. His grandparents were professional musicians and his mother played the piano and organ every night as Topliff and his siblings fell asleep.

“We’d be laying in bed yelling out requests basically to my mom,” Topliff said.

The original idea for Topliff’s recent project was to create an album of his mom playing the piano.

“She’s getting older now and I thought it would be really cool to capture her playing some hymns,” he said.

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As a composer, Topliff planned to write three songs and sprinkle them throughout the recordings of his mom playing. But, he explained, “She got busy and then I wrote one song, and the next song, and a third and pretty soon I’m like, ‘OK, I’m on a roll here. I just decided to go ahead and do this 'Beacon of Hope' CD.'”

Topliff and his wife created the title and theme of the album before the pandemic. So a lot of the music on the CD was composed and recorded during the initial outbreak of COVID-19 the spring of 2020.

Topliff has an interesting goal for his music. He told the Republican Eagle:

“It’s designed to be a backdrop, a soothing kind of getaway. It’s not really me trying to be a virtuoso piano guy. I'm just a melody guy, I love just capturing feelings and emotions.”

This is the 13th solo album that Topliff has released. When he decides on a theme, he said he is able to quickly compose, finalize and record pieces. For "Beacon of Hope," the process took about four months.

“It would have been quicker had I not had to have a day job, too. You got to pay the bills,” Topliff said.

The CD offers peaceful pieces that are welcomed companions during the stress that many people are currently experiencing. As Topliff said, the melodies played on the piano are ideal to listen to when wanting a calming backdrop.

For more information about Topliff, "Beacon of Hope" and other albums, visit: www.nealtopliff.com.