The Tea Club is a band from New Jersey consisting of Patrick McGowan (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Dan McGowan (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Jamie Wolff (bass/violin/cello), Joe Dorsey (keyboards) and Dan Monda (drums).
In 2008, the band was discovered by producer Tim Gilles (Anthrax, Taking Back Sunday, Hades, Bear vs. Shark, Thursday), who recorded, produced, and mixed their first album at Big Blue Meenie Studios. “General Winter’s Secret Museum” was released in July 2008. The album included original artwork by Dan and Patrick McGowan, with an album cover by artist Kendra DeSimone.
Following a brief East Coast tour, The Tea Club returned to Tim Gilles and Big Blue Meenie Studios to record their second album entitled “Rabbit“ which was released on October 9th 2010. The album featured guest keyboardist Tom Brislin (Yes, Renaissance, OK Go, Meatloaf, Camel).
Like General Winter’s Secret Museum, the album cover was painted by Kendra DeSimone and featured original artwork by Dan and Patrick McGowan. Rabbit was met with very positive reviews. The Organ ‘zine praised The Tea Club for being a band that is ”not afraid to nail their colours firmly to their mast and fly directly in to the face of fashion”. Indie Music Reviewer said that Rabbit ”can appease any listener of just about any genre”, giving the album 5 out of 5 stars.
They spent the rest of 2010 and 2011 touring the East Coast, including performances at the ProgDay Music Festival in North Carolina, the Philly Film & Music Festival, and the NJ Proghouse Music Series. Reviews and articles about the band were featured in publications such as Metro Philly, Indie Music Reviewer, Origivation, and JUMP. The band also released several homemade music videos for songs from the Rabbit album. They ended 2011 by opening for Jimmy Gnecco of the band Ours in Philadelphia.
In early 2012, The Tea Club once again returned to Big Blue Meenie Studios to record their third album with producer Tim Gilles. Following these sessions, the band was invited to support Beardfish on their mini-tour of the United States in May 2012.
The Tea Club’s third album, “Quickly Quickly Quickly”, was released on November 15th, 2012. Once again, the album cover was done by Kendra DeSimone with artwork by the McGowan brothers. Quickly Quickly Quickly was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews and made several “Top Albums of 2012” lists. Dangerdog Music Reviews called the album “wildly inventive”, while Instrumentali.com said that “The Tea Club has taken the dormant rock beast and tied a choke chain onto it.” Conor Fynes of The Metal Observer had this to say in his review of Quickly Quickly Quickly: “Although 2012 was a year host to output of impressive records from some of progressive rock’s finest, The Tea Club just may have topped them all.”
In 2013, The Tea Club travelled to Canada to perform two 90 minute sets at the Terra Incognita Festival in Quebec City. In August 2013, the band toured the United States with Thank You Scientist. The tour included a performance at Indie Music Reviewer’s IMR Music Festival 2013 in Atlanta, GA.
The Tea Club spent 2014 writing and recording at Big Blue Meenie Studios. These recordings became The Tea Club’s fourth album, “Grappling”, which was released on November 17, 2015. Grappling was met with critical acclaim, with many reviewers calling it the band’s greatest achievement, solidifying the band as a major presence in progressive rock.
2016 The Tea Club supported HAKEN in September on part of their “Affinity” Tour of the USA. The Tea Club also announced the upcoming release of the Grappling Graphic Novel, a 6-issue comic book series that elaborates on the stories told in the lyrics of their Grappling album. Written by Patrick McGowan with artwork by Dan McGowan and Kendra DeSimone, the first issue will be available October 10th, 2016 In December the band has embarked on a support tour of Thank You Scientist.
Clive Nolan is a British musician, composer and producer who has played a prominent role in the recent development of progressive and symphonic rock.
Born in Gloucestershire, he was a pupil at Wycliffe College and King’s School, Gloucester. He completed his B. Mus and M. Mus degrees at London University where he studied composition, orchestration and conducting. He has been the regular keyboard player in Pendragon (1986–present), Shadowland (1992–present), Strangers on a Train (1993–1994), Arena (1995–present) and Caamora (2006–present) as well as writing music and lyrics for Arena, Shadowland, Caamora and numerous other projects.
Nolan is the founder member of The Caamora Theatre Company formed to produce and perform the musicals of Clive Nolan. The premiere of ‘She’ took place in Katowice Wyspianski Theatre in Poland in October 2007. Subsequently, full theatrical performances of ‘She’ were performed in January 2010 in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, followed by the eight-man ‘She in Concert’ variation in Holland in September 2011. In February 2012 theatrical version of ‘She’ debuted in the UK in Cheltenham Playhouse Theatre. Recently, the revived theatre shows were performed again at the Cheltenham Playhouse in September 2015 during the anniversary event, “The Fire and the Quest”. ‘She in Concert” was also performed in Germany in 2015 and Holland in 2016.
He was voted Best Keyboard Player by Classic Rock Society in the years: 1995, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015 and 2016. In 2010 the Bolivian government awarded him with the title of Honorary Visitor to Santa Cruz, Bolivia for his theatre work in the city of Santa Cruz. In 2013 he was awarded with the Polish MLWZ “Golden Lexicon Award” for Outstanding Achievements in Music for his musical ‘Alchemy’.
Nolan released his second musical ‘Alchemy’, with libretto based on the composer’s original story, early in 2013. In February 2013 the live show was recorded for the DVD at the famous Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice, Poland. The full theatrical shows of ‘Alchemy’ were performed by the Caamora Theatre Company at the Cheltenham Playhouse Theatre in September 2013. In 2013 and 2014 the concert version of ‘Alchemy’ headlined musical and theatre events in the UK and Holland. In August 2014 ‘Alchemy’ was performed over a week at the Jermyn Street Theatre in the London Off-West End. In november 2014, ‘Alchemy’ returned in a concert version to be performed in Reichenbach, Germany. Recently the musical was once more performed at the Cheltenham Playhouse as part of “The Fire and the Quest” festival.
Clive Nolan with Arena
Songs from the Lion’s Cage (1995)
The Visitor (1998)
Pepper’s Ghost (2005)
The Seventh Degree of Separation (2011)
The Unquiet Sky (2015)
Welcome to the Stage (1997)
Breakfast in Biarritz (2001)
Live & Life (2004)
Arena: Live (2013)
Arena: XX (2016)
The Cry (1997)
Ten Years On (2006)
Caught in the Act (2003) (live)
Smoke & Mirrors (2006) (live)
Rapture (2011) (live)
Arena: XX (2016) (live)
Clive Nolanwith Pendragon
The Jewel (1985)
The World (1991)
The Window of Life (1993)
The Masquerade Overture (1996)
Not Of This World (2001)
Men Who Climb Mountains (2014)
Clive Nolan with Shadowland
Ring of Roses (1992), reissued with two extra tracks (1997), remastered with bonus tracks (2009)
Through the Looking Glass (1994), reissued with one extra track (1997), remastered with bonus tracks (2009)
Mad as a Hatter (1996), remastered with bonus tracks (2009)
Francis Dunnery operates as a Multi-Media Artist. His work combines music, humor, video, literature, performance art, philosophy and blistering electric guitar. Although impossible to pigeonhole, his work always reflects his deep commitment to personal Freedom and Individuality.
Francis first hit the public stage back in the eighties as lead vocalist and guitarist for the progressive rock band ‘It Bites’. He has since gone on to have a very successful musical solo career spanning thirty years. During this time he has written, produced and performed music with some of the most successful artists of his time, artists such as Led Zeppelin’s singer Robert Plant, guitar legend Carlos Santana, Squeeze’s stalwart Chris Difford, Stone Roses’ singer Ian Brown, R&B superstar Lauren Hill, Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett as well as guesting with a host of bands and artists such as Yes, Hootie and the Blowfish and The Syn. Francis is accomplished in his own right, turning out ten engaging albums of original yet diverse composition and three DVD’s.
Alongside his music career, Francis is also a long time student of philosophy, logic, psychology and astrology. Francis was a pioneer in offering online consultations via Skype as early as January 2004, six months after Skype was launched, a practice that still continues successfully to this day.
Francis is also the president and founder of ‘The Charlie and Kathleen Dunnery Children’s Fund’, a charity he set up to honor his parents. The CKDCF is dedicated to children’s health and wellness providing grants and donations that directly benefit the children of West Cumbria, England. Every October, Francis and his friends from around the world, gather in Cumbria for a benefit concert and charity walk in support of the CKDCF.
A serial risk taker, in 2005 Francis broke new ground once again when he initiated his House Concerts Series, offering his fans the opportunity to host intimate evenings of music, psychology, philosophy, astrology, all topped off with his tremendous humor. The shows became so popular that Francis has performed approximately a hundred and fifty shows a year for the past twelve years. He has taken these unique, inspiring and entertaining shows to front rooms throughout the world! Places as far reaching as New Zealand, Australia, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Holland, Switzerland and Germany as well as every corner of the USA and Canada. The House Concert shows have become an international phenomenon. Although his style can be brash and at times irreverent, he’s also capable of singing achingly beautiful music.
In February 2016 Francis launched ‘The Francis Dunnery Radio Show’ on the Progzilla internet radio station. The show is steeped in expansive and progressive subject matter as well as expansive and progressive music and humor.
Present day, Francis is more than ever committed to the personal freedom and individuality of himself and his audience. He continues his studies towards his psychology doctorate at East Stroudsburg University and plans on dying when he’s around ninety six. Bio by Kate Stauffer 2016
Francis Dunnery Solo Albums
Welcome to the Wild Country (Virgin Records, 1991)
Fearless (Atlantic Records, 1994)
One Night in Sauchiehall Street (Cottage Industry 1995) [live]
Tall Blonde Helicopter (Atlantic Records, 1995)
Let’s Go Do What Happens (Razor and Tie Records, 1998)
Man (Aquarian Nation, 2001)
Hometown 2001 (Aquarian Nation, 2001) [live]
The Gulley Flats Boys (Aquarian Nation, 2005)
There’s a Whole New World Out There (Aquarian Nation, 2009) [re-recordings and covers album]
Created in 2009 and born in January 2010 under the original name of Nth Degree. At this early stage the band consisted of Darrel Treece-Birch, Craig Walker, martin Walker and Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor. In 2011 the band changed the name to Nth Ascension and recorded a ‘live’ demo album entiled ‘Frequencies of Day & Night’. This was self-released as CD-Rs, also available as a free download via Aurovine. The band was signed by Aurovine/Sonic Vista directly after a live performance and the band set to work on an official debut recording. Recorded by Phil Brown (long-time friend and ‘live’ band mate) the album ‘ Ascension of Kings’ was released on 13 December 2014 to wide acclaim. TEN vocalist Gary Hughes engineered all the vocals for the album; and was a special guest on the album providing backing vocals. Phil Brown provided the majority of engineering for the Ascension of Kings album , whilst Treece-Birch edited the drum tracks and M. Walker and the entire band mixed the album.
AboutAlan “Spud” Taylor Alan started singing at about eight years old. Like many young musicians he would sing the chart hits of the time whilst at school and his friends would listen; captivating his friends with renditions of Elvis songs popular in the day.Alan was born into a musical family with both his Mother and Grandmother having sung in the clubs of the time and his Grandfather would play drums. Singing and performance were born to him and in his blood so to speak. He started playing guitar around the time he left school and was initially self-taught sharing his brother’s classical guitar. Many of the first tunes he learned were from his brother who was taking classical guitar lessons.
Shortly thereafter Alan purchased his first guitar, a 12-string Ibanez. He started to write songs and play in folk clubs. Teaming up for a while with the ‘Big Man’ Pete Rodger who was previously one of the ‘The Taverner’s‘ a very popular folk group during the 1970s and who played a Royal performance for Prince Charles.
1981 was a great year, Alan and Martin Walker would meet and start to write and record together using a 4-track recorder. Alan had taken up the bass in addition to singing in these early days. This friendship would evolve into a band named ‘AD’ adding Robert Stirzaker (Counterparts) on drums, Martin Walker (Nth Ascension) on guitars, Andrew Keeling (composer) on keyboards and Alan on vocals. An EP was released in 1984 which was recorded at Park Lane Studios Preesall.
In 1986 Alan met Darrel Treece-Birch (TEN and Nth Ascension) which would begin a thirty year friendship and music collaboration and the first fruits of their progressive style started to take root in the band ‘Purple on the Storm’. During this time Alan took formal voice training with the professional Tenor Lanceford Roberts.
The 1990s saw various collaborations mainly with Treece-Brich; ‘Helmwind’, ‘Order of Chaos’ and the ‘Noise Foundation’. In 2002 ‘The Field’ was formed with Martin Walker, Darrel Treece-Birch, Gavin Walker (Nth Ascension), Rob Stirzaker and Alan Allcock; after releasing their first album the band members went off to work on different projects and The Field did not record any further material.
In 2010 Alan was approached by his long-time collaborative partner Darrel Treece-Birch and asked to work on a project that Treece-Birch was involved in with Martin Walker and Craig Walker. This was the beginnings of Nth Ascension which reinvigorated and revitalized Alan’s need for live performance. Initially holding down bass duties and vocals with the band, but welcomed the addition of Gavin Walker on bass in time to record their first album Ascension of Kings in order to focus on his vocal performance.
About Craig Walker
Craig was barely old enough to walk; but his rhythmical ability was already apparent as he would play along to Queen’s ‘We will Rock You’ in perfect time. Throughout his school years he played drums in school productions and for his local church in Fleetwood.
Craig chose to study music technology in college and played in numerous bands by the time he was 18, most prominent of these was ‘Popstar Heroes’ who were known for playing anything from Metallica to Blink 182. Craig’s style was heavily influenced by the metal genre in his early years. By age 20 he found he needed more of a challenge for his creativity and found his way to progressive rock/metal. Darrel Treece-Birch his father’s long-time friend and collaborative partner introduced him to Dream Theater and a creative spark was re-ignited by the combination of technical prowess and stunning melodies that could be achieved in this genre whilst staying true to his roots in metal.
There are no coincidences in life for in 2009 Craig was asked to help out a local band whose drummer wasn’t available for a concert; this same band also was being helped by Treece-Birch. This led to the two playing together and discovering their undeniable musical chemistry. After the concert performance, Craig and Darrel decided it was time to start an original project together asking Darrel’s long time collaborators Martin Walker (Craig’s Dad) and Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor to come along to ‘see what happens’. Originally called ‘Nth Degree’, Nth Ascension was born and they went on to produce a demo recording called ‘Frequencies of Day and Night’. Shortly after, Gavin Walker (Craig’s brother) was brought into the band to take over bass duties so Alan could concentrate on his vocal performance.
About Darrel Trece-Birch
Keyboard wizard Darrel Treece-Birch started playing piano when he was seven years old. Music has always been his greatest love and passion gravitating to rock and especially progressive rock music. He has been inspired by bands such as Marillion, Yes and Genesis and joined his first band a few years later, Fleetwood based ‘Purple On the Storm’.
Over the last 25 years the band names have changed but the personnel have remained fairly constant especially with his main writing partner Alan (Spud) Taylor, guitarist Martin Walker and Counterparts drummer Rob Stirzaker. Darrel’s other projects include playing keyboards and touring with the British Melodic Rock band TEN, as well as recording and releasing solo material.
About Gavin Jon Walker
Gavin is from a musical family, together with brother Craig, grew up surrounded by the music of Martin (Dad) Walker, Darrel Treece-Birch and Alan “Spud” Taylor – some might say they were ‘pickled’ with their music from a very early age. Gavin started out with guitar but he eventually settled into the bass guitar and spent many formative years learning to play the blues and jamming often with Craig in their living room to the likes of Queen, Metallica and Nirvana. Having been raised in a musical environment long jam sessions with his brother and father was the natural progression of his exploration as a musician from learning others works to experimenting and creating his own sound and style.
In his college days Gavin was involved in the band ‘Angel Hill’ which gained some popularity locally, winning the local ‘Battle of the bands’ contest in 2000. In 2002 Gavin joined the group ‘The Field’ as a second keyboard player/percussionist. 11 years later in 2013, Gavin the latecomer to the land of “Nth” joined the band just in time to play his part on the album ‘Ascension of Kings’ and is now currently collaborating on the next Nth Ascension album with the band.
About Martin Walker Martin discovered his love for the guitar in his early teens after hearing the Dave Edmunds’ track ‘Sabre Dance’. It was Jimi Hendrix playing ‘Voodoo Chile’ that sent Martin on a lifelong quest to discover “awesome noises created by the electric guitar”.
According to Martin; following the usual school and college band-failed attempts of world domination he eventually settled into more realistic projects, namely a band called ‘Inheritance’ which eventually morphed into ‘Thruaglas Darkly’. Thruaglas Darkly went on to release the single ‘Modern Man’ but disbanded before further planned projects could be completed.
During this time Martin would fortuitously meet Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor and together with a few former Thruaglas Darkly members played together as ‘AD’ for a season, it was at this time he was introduced to keyboard player Darrel Treece-Birch.
Once AD satisfactorily concluded Martin withdrew to a few small projects one of which was joining again with Alan and Darrel together with Rob Stirzaker, Alan Allcock and his eldest son Gavin Walker to play as ‘The Field’ who went on to do a few gigs as well as release their self-titled album The Field. It was basically a live recording which captured the energy of the band for whoever desired to listen. This project concluded and Martin continued working on a few solo ideas until asked to join his son Craig, together once again, with friends Darrel and Alan. Initially it was a get together just to play for the fun of it; the music genre we all loved. This quite quickly became more than the ‘knock about’ it was intended to be and with the addition of his other son, Gavin Walker the group evolved into Nth Ascension.
2016 Nth Ascension have returned with their Criticly Acclaimed album, In Fine Initium; heavier guitars, a tighter rhythm section with quick time-signature acrobatics and long sweeping keyboard passages and vocals that reach into your soul with their power and compassion; culminating in an album that is truly worthy of praise.
Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor – Vocals Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards Craig Walker – Drums & Percussion Gavin Walker – Bass Martin Walker – Guitars
In September 2004 musician Jem Godfrey, better known to the wider world at the time for creating chart-topping hits for acts including Atomic Kitten, Shayne Ward and Holly Valance, was privately becoming increasingly frustrated by the creative limitations of the pop genre and made a conscious decision to record an album true to his own childhood roots in progressive rock to let off a bit of steam.
After 6 months of writing and recording in isolation, Godfrey approached John Mitchell, who had himself just released the now classic Kino album “Picture” and asked if he would contribute guitar to the as yet untitled project. Mitchell agreed and soon introduced Godfrey to John Jowitt, bass player at the time for IQ and Jadis. This subsequently lead to contact with ex-Robert Plant drummer Andy Edwards who was also in IQ, they listened to the demos and agreed to get involved. John Boyes, a former band-mate in Godfrey’s first band Freefall had already performed significant rhythm guitar work on the recordings and so with a bassist, guitarist and drummer to complete the line-up, recordings were completed over the winter of 2005 on what would become Frost*’s first album, “Milliontown”.
MILLIONTOWN (2004- 2006)
Named after the 26 minute long final track inspired by the book “The Apprentice” by Gordon Houghton, Milliontown was released in the United States on 18 July 2006 and in Europe on 24 July to widespread critical acclaim. The band went on a brief tour to play a selection from the album, supporting Pallas on a four date tour of the Netherlands and Germany in October 2006, but it wouldn’t last for long…
DISSOLUTION AND RE-BIRTH (2006-2007)
Shortly after returning from the tour, Godfrey announced – by way of an article on the band’s blog on MySpace and re-iterated by InsideOut in a bulletin on the same site two days later – that due to his increasing professional and personal commitments elsewhere, Frost* would be dissolved after fulfilling four remaining concert dates.
The final appearance of Frost* in support of their album Milliontown, was as support for The Flower Kings at The Scala in Kings Cross, London, on 10th December 2006. However, in early 2007, Godfrey changed his mind, revived the band name and wrote in his blog about writing material for a second Frost* album…
EXPERIMENTS IN MASS APPEAL (2008)
Following the band’s reformation, Godfrey recruited Declan Burke of Darwin’s Radio (whom he had met at the Flower Kings gig) to contribute vocals and guitars on the follow-up album, Experiments in Mass Appeal, which was released worldwide on 17th November 2008. Throughout the recording, Godfrey posted many vblogs on YouTube called “Frost* Reports” which became cult items in themselves. In the midst of this, Frost* supported Spock’s Beard for an 8 date tour across Europe and the UK.
Shortly before the album’s release, Andy Edwards announced that due to his new job as a college lecturer he would retire from live playing.
THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT (2009)
On Saturday 2nd May 2009, Frost* performed at RosFest at the Keswick Theater, Philadelphia with Nick D’Virgilio of Spock’s Beard guesting on drums. This recording later became the widely acclaimed “The Philadelphia Experiment” live CD.
Shortly afterwards, John Jowitt announced his departure from the band. With gigs scheduled in support of Dream Theater, Jem announced bass duties would be now handled by Level 42 guitarist, Nathan King, Andy Edwards played live for the final time at these shows before Craig Blundell was enlisted to replace him. With Dec Burke bowing out at the end of the Experiments In Mass Appeal concept, the new 4 piece became what is now the current and longest standing line-up of the band.
THE DIVIDING LINE (2010)
On 2 February 2010, Jem announced via his blog that he had been invited to participate in the 10th anniversary party of The Dividing Line Broadcast Network, British Columbia’s internet-based progressive rock radio station. Godfrey accepted and to thank them for their enthusiastic support of the band over the years tasked himself to write and record a new Frost* song, aptly titled “The Dividing Line” to be completed within the eight weeks remaining until the party.
Godfrey gathered not only fellow Frost* mates John Mitchell, Andy Edwards, Dec Burke and Nathan King, but also enlisted the talents of Tara Busch, Mark “madfiddler” Knight, Lyndon Connah and original Frost* guitarist, John Boyes, for the one-off project. A special Frost* Report was posted on the band’s YouTube channel, providing a video chronicle of the song’s creation.
“The Dividing Line” premiered during The Dividing Line’s 10th anniversary broadcast on Saturday, 3 April 2010 and remains one of Godfrey’s favourite Frost* songs to this day.
Frost* played a small selection of shows across the UK in December 2010 before once again returning to hibernation and, yet again, an uncertain future…
RETURN OF FROST* AND THIRD ALBUM PLANS (2011-2015)
In May 2015, Godfrey announced on Facebook that a new Frost* album was in progress – “New album underway. JM, CB and NK all in. Release scheduled for ’16. Writing nearly complete. Recording in Autumn”.
Writing was completed in late October 2015 and the band decamped to Strongroom Studios in Hoxton in December to record as well as at Mitchell’s Outhouse Studios in Reading and Godfrey’s Cube studio in East Sussex. Recording was completed on February 17th 2016.
FALLING SATELLITES (2016)
On 17th January 2016, Jem Godfrey announced the new album would be called ‘Falling Satellites’. The band also announced an 8 date UK tour in the summer of 2016. ‘Falling Satellites’was released on 27th May to critical acclaim.
Nashville-based Progressive Rock band Evership is the brainchild of composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer/engineer Shane Atkinson. Shane played in Nashville bands and as a backup musician for Artists in the late 80’s and 90’s. As a composer he wrote on Music Row and, always having a studio running somewhere in the Nashville area, was a prolific composer with musical work spanning from commercials and film to orchestral and theater. He made two records with the 90’s Alternative Rock band ‘Curious Fools’, but after three labels, including false promises from a large internationally-known label who eventually dropped the band, and with the birth of his first child, he decided to leave the music business for the budding software industry.
Shane says he never really stopped writing. “The music just kept coming, haunting I’d constantly wake up in the night to record song ideas. Over those years I amassed at least a hundred hours of material. But I was so successful in software, it became nearly impossible to get out. Something like Evership was bound to happen, it had to happen, I was profoundly depressed.”
Finally, in 2005, in response to a dream, he sold their big house in the suburbs, downsized, built a recording studio, and opened a commercial and film music production company to finance the album effort. It would take about ten years to make the record; not just for the actual recording, but for raising a family, building a studio, holding down the production company and remaining business interests, and sifting through the mountain of song material.
Many of the Evership songs were already written long before the project started. Some were five to ten years old even then, and there is purportedly enough material for four or more albums. “I’ve got other material, but I wanted to do this first. Musically-speaking, Prog is where my heart is.” He said while growing up, listening to bands like Led Zeppelin, Rush, Yes, Queen, Kansas and Jimmy Hotz, he had no idea it was progressive music. He just liked it. Amongst his other influences were classical composers, particularly Bach, Rachmaninov and Ravel. He has a sizable Opera collection and is a Puccini fan. Fusion music also played a role in the early years; Chick Corea, Al Di Miola, Mahavishnu Orchestra, anything that challenged him musically. “Even what I’m writing now is not intentionally Prog. It’s just what comes out. These songs are life-stories, I can’t tell them in three-and-a-half minutes.” After deciding on material for the debut album, demos were started in 2009, but life circumstances halted production until 2013 when Shane shut the music production company down to focus on the record.
Shane met Beau West, the lead vocalist, through session singer Mike Priebe (who sings BGVs on the record, along with Nicelle his wife on violin). The singer he had originally keyed the music to was longtime friend and 90’s band mate Jason Beddoe who ended up needing to bow out due to life circumstances. Shane says, “I thought it was over. This was operatic music; these kinds of singers just don’t exist anymore. Beau was literally an answer to prayer. He had that rare range and tone that sounds great anywhere on the scale. He could handle anything I threw at him, and had such a great attitude as well, which was critical because so much production had already been done.”
Shane choose to play drums, keyboards, and an assortment of more obscure instruments like the Theremin and Chapman Stick, but to sub-out most of the guitar and bass work to like-minded musician friends and family. The earliest recording (Flying Machine) was performed by Dan Smalley on classical guitar and Brandon Vestal on electric guitar. However, most of the rhythm electric, acoustic and classical guitars were performed by the classically trained Rob Higginbotham.
Shane’s brother James moved into town later in the process and performed the lead guitars, which turned out to be a critical event for the sound Shane was reaching for. “Having my brother here reminded me of when we were kids. We used to do these ‘concerts’. We’d open the garage door and play songs from just about every classic rock group we knew. The neighbors would set up lawn chairs and watch.” With James on guitar, the ‘brother magic’ (a termed James coined to explain their telepathic ability to communicate musically) made the lead guitar production more organic.
The infamous Nashville Prog bassist Jaymi Millard rounded out the tracks. Once the album was in full swing Shane engaged the know-how of recording engineer Mark Aartun of Innerspeaker Records who cut the beginning of Flying Machine – Part 1: Dreamcarriers on plexiglass using a rare 1940 Presto K-8 portable record cutting machine. They then re-recorded it from a Newcomb schoolhouse tube record player. “This gave me the vintage Victorian feel I was after.” Finally, as a last minute production idea, Shane contacted his oldest Nashville friend and classical composer Charles Heimermann, who had been leading a professional chorale made up of session singers and singers from both the Nashville Symphony Chorus and The Nashville Choir, to push the production over the top with live choir recorded in a catherdral in Green Hills, Tennessee.
The panoramic artwork was illustrated by Nashville-area artist Philip Willis. Like the music, it is immersive. If you buy the CD you’ll be rewarded with that, and more so when the Vinyl comes out; a double-album with gatefold cover.
The debut Evership album digital release was on July 1, 2016. CD’s will be available in a few weeks. The vinyl is in the works and has been mastered by Grammy-award winning engineer Cameron Henry at Welcome to 1979, and they are shooting for it to be released on Record Day in April next year (2017).
The release of the Evership project signifies both the end of a very long journey and the beginning of another. In essence, that journey is what the band and music are about.