Written at a crucial time - specifically facing the dual challenges of the pandemic and impending fatherhood - pianist Ben Winkelman's sixth album Heartbeat captures an emotional whirlwind, with anticipation and dread mixing freely and productively. We can all relate: the excitement of something great coming, but also the fear of figuring out how to deal with it, and the resignation that a bad situation might not have a clear endpoint, but also the realization that solitude can have its advantages, especially for creative people. That contemplation of living a new life in the face of change permeates Winkelman's compositions, from the tension of "The Plague" and "Isolation" to the relief in "Praise" and the title track. Winkelman also keeps his sense of humor about him, as evidenced by the appropriately titled "The Wonky Waltz." With a melody-forward approach and a crack band, Winkelman embraces both joy and trepidation, recognizing that both states can co-exist and fuel a life worth living.