Schooltree | Heterotopia A Metaphysical/Paranormal Rock Opera | Album Review August 2017

Schooltree | Heterotopia A Metaphysical/Paranormal Rock Opera – Album Review August 2017

Label: Independent/Unsigned
Release Year: 2017
Country: USA
Genre: Paranormal/Progressive Rock

Band Members – Current

Lainey Schooltree – Lead Vocals/Keyboards/Creator
Tom Collins – Drums
Peter Danilchuk – Synth’s/Organ
Ryan Schartzel – Bass
Sam Crawford – Lead & Rhythm Guitar’s

Band Members – Album Recording Personnel

Lainey Schootree – Vocals/Pianos/Synths
Brendan Burns – Guitar’s
Derek Van Wormer – Bass
Tom/Tod/Tad Collins – Drums
Peter Danilchuk – Organs/Synths
Peter Moore – Nylon Guitar/Additional Vocals/Keyboards/Programming

Track Listing

CD 1
Overture
Rocksinger
The Big Slide
Cat Centipede
The Abyss
Radio
Walk You Through
Edge of a Dream
The Leitmaiden
The Legend of Enantiodromia
Specter Lyfe

CD 2
Dead Girl
Turning into the Strange
The Edge Annihilate
Power of the Ghost
You and I
Into Tomorrow
The River
Bottom of the River
Enantiodromia Awakens
Zombie Connection
Keep Your Head
Day of the Rogue
Utopia

Contact Links

Schooltree Official Website

Schooltree Official Facebook Page

Schooltree Official Twitter

Schooltree Official YouTube Channel

Schooltree Official Bandcamp Store Profile

* Writers Note*
I want to apologize to Lainey Schooltree for this review taking so very long. It was not intentional. Hopefully the review below will validate me.

Ever since the middle 1990’s the Urban Fantasy genre has taken the literary world by storm. Novels such as The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Twilight Trilogy by Stephanie Myer, Nightworld/Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith, Vampire Academy/Frostbite by Rachel Meade, etc .. Most of the very successful Urban Fantasy novels go on to become either ‘Television Series’ or ‘Hollywood Blockbusters’. Now the Urban Fantasy genre has grown tentacles into the world of the traditional progressive rock opera.

Lainey Schooltree becomes one of the very many successful women to shatter the typical ‘male stereotype’ and create her own ‘Urban Fantasy’ , however this is set to the traditional progressive rock opera. Her new project Schooltree Heterotopia is a melodic adventure of absolute paranormal and metaphysical proportions. Most progressive rock or metal opera’s have dealt with subjects as science fiction, world history, comatose people, or people with disabilities, end of the world scenario’s , etc .. Schooltree’s Heterotopia deals with the classic cliche or subject “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”

Schooltree’s Heterotopia comes in the tradition of The Who’s Tommy & Quadrophenia, Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell Trilogy on the Rock Opera end. On the conceptual end it comes in the tradition of Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans, Pain Of Salvation’s BE & In The Passing Light Of Day with some psychedelic structures reminiscent of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane.

There are six distinct and very different characters involved in the story and visual Lainey Schooltree has painted on this exquisite tapestry. There is the Greek Chorus – Narrator, Suzi – Our Hero, Zombuzi – Zombie Suzi, Metanoia, Shadows and Enantiodromia. Much like the ‘Urban Fantasy’ novels and films, these characters also have their own significance within Schooltree’s Heterotopia. The landscape of the project is well over 100 minutes and two CD’s worth of music that totally and completely seamlessly transition beautifully from track to track.

CD 1 – ACT 1

Overture opens up the album almost in the way a soundtrack or score would open a movie and/or film. It leaves a lot to the imagination and increases the anticipation opening up the epic opera. This is also a track loaded with various symphonic and progressive rock elements. The keyboard and guitar stringed section also adds a layer of distinct orchestration that gives the project a very unique sound.

Rocksinger & The Big Slide displays a very dark side of the main character Suzi. Lainey Schooltree really does a great job both lyrically and instrumentally showing the listener the true desperation Suzi has reached as to how far she will go to obtain her dream. Lainey Schooltree being the only vocalist on the album also allows for depths of various emotions to come forward in the narrative of the story.

Much like Alice In Wonderland, Lainey Schooltree incorporates a centipede like creature in this modern day urban fantasy, paranormal rock opera, however it is a Cat Centipede. The instrumental half of this track certainly lends a great picture on the screen of the theater of the mind. The band does a great job here building towards a climax, a transition. They do this through the incorporation of various progressive and psychedelic elements. Suzi the main character follows this abnormal creature into The Abyss.

With The Abyss the band utilize very heavy psychedelic elements in the intro leading in. The blend of vocals and psychedelic elements certainly create a otherworldly and strange journey into the progressive psychedelic harmonies. The drums also lend a firm melodic and rhythmic melody as well.

Radio starts off exactly like the title suggests. There is a heavy effect of a actual radio tuning in and out. When the vocals kick in the story narrative holds fast to the objective of storytelling. Lainey Schooltree’s vocals and the instrumental in radio are almost within the alternative rock parameters. The vocal harmonies and instrumental harmonies together remind me a lot of Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries meets Christina Booth of Magenta. Radio is one of two very well written transitional tracks the next being Walk You Through.

Walk You Through is more of a straight up rock song. The vocal harmonies certainly allow the rhythm section to be front and center playing off of one another. This track is very guitar driven and bass/drum rhythm section driven. Both of those elements allow for the psychedelic style vocals to serve as a beacon of light in Walk You Through.

Edge of a Dream starts out with a deep piano stringed section that serves as a melancholic melody. It is this melancholic approach that conveys the correct emotion of Suzi now Zombie Suzi to have a heavy dose of the blues since she is now exiled out on the streets from her home. The alternative to our main character Suzi, now as Zombie-Suzi faces her first real conundrum when she encounters Metanoia ‘The Leitmaiden’. Metanoia informs her that the longer she stays in ‘The Garden of The Architype’ the more at risk she is in returning home and securing her human earthly form again. Lainey Schooltree depicts this perfectly with layers upon layers of psychedelic elements. This is met with various keyboard progressions blended beautifully with psychedelic vocal passages.

These atmospheres would continue through the rest of Act 1 or CD 1. The Legend Of Enantiodromia & Spectre Lyfe continue the psychedelia vibe. The psychedelic elements are that of more of a 1960’s style blended beautifully with 1990’s alternative rock elements. This is very rare in progressive rock and allows the entire story to really rest in the metaphysical and paranormal word Lainey Schooltree is conveying both melodically and harmoniously. Think Grace Slick Jefferson Airplane meets Delores O’Riordan meets Yes & Genesis. The vocals are warm and the instrumental portion allows the vocals and story to breathe through eloquently. The guitar solo’s shine through as well.

CD 2 – Act 2

The second half of this double conceptual metaphysical/paranormal rock opera starts off with a epiphany or transition if you will. This is where Zombie-Suzi has her first confrontation with three ghosts who taunt the hell out of her for her ‘ghostly’ condition. Ghosts who speak a curse over her to be dead thus the title of Dead Girl becomes appropriate here. Dead Girl opens up with a deep smooth rhythm section that is closely accompanied by the vocals that lyrically come out of the narrative of the three ghosts who taunt Zombie-Suzy.

Metanoia once again reaches out to Suzy- Spectre and lets her know that there is a way to adapt to her new condition. She teaches Suzy that she can bend her new condition and shape it by her will. She teaches Suzy that she can use all this strange to her advantage thus the title of the next track, Turning Into The Strange. Lainey Schooletree once again uses heavy psychedelic elements vocally and lyrically that are met with some very fluent hard rock elements in and out of the chord progressions. The band does very good work lyrically and instrumentally to articulate the story in such a matter.

Perplexed by her ‘Ghostly‘ self, Suzi begins to really take inventory on her path and progress in life both in her physical human form and her supernatural ‘Ghostly’ form. Initially unsure where she is going and even how to get there, Suzi once again is visited by what seems to be her only friend now Metanoia. After Metanoia weighs both the pros and cons of her ‘Ghostly’ form, Suzi finally gets a moment of clarity as to what path and how she must progress forward. This is all covered over the period duration of the songs The Edge Annihilate and Power Of The Ghost. It is during these two songs Suzi has some real introspection of her life. The instrumental and lyrical approach nails this down very well.

You & I sees Suzi in a confrontation with her Zombie body over taking a trip down by the river. This is only further irritated by the returning ‘Cat Centipede’ from the beginning of the journey who Suzi barely recognizes anymore. Against her better judgement Suzi follows the ‘Cat Centipede’ down to the river where trouble awaits Into Tomorrow. The instrumental portion remains on point with all the heavy psychedelic effects to portray Suzi into a otherworldly situation. The psychedelic element is now met with a thick and heavy neo progressive element as well.

The River & Bottom Of The River sees Suzi seduced by a sirens song to the river’s edge. Suzi knows full well to keep her resolve intact to be reunited with her physical earthly form she must jump all the way into the river. It has to be deliberate or else Suzi will fall into the river’s abyss and drown. These tracks are once again very heavy on the atmospheric effects of keyboards. Those effects serve as a heavy paranormal aesthetic throughout both of the tracks. The vocals are very heavy on the psychedelic elements as well. This allows a paranormal vibe to breathe here.

Beyond the “wall,” Suzi finds and awakens Enantiodromia, and asks her to take her fair hand and make her whole again. But awakened Enantiodromia is changed from her former self; looking around at the darkness arisen during her slumber, she is the black-handed reaper now, bringing balance to the land once more, now by using her black hand to annihilate that which  does not belong in this world, and attempts to begin with Suzi. Suzi pleads with her to stop, explaining she is only half of what she’s supposed to be, telling Enantiodromia of her quest though endless night outside of time to wake her. “I am not a shadow, just a girl; an exiled soul in the wrong world.” Enantiodromia tells her that she’s been in this world too long and is no longer just a girl; she cannot return her home. But as repayment for awakening Enantiodromia, she allows Suzi the chance to go back to take control of her zombie body, and return as one to her, at which point she’ll take them both together to the next place. (Enantiodromia Awakens). That is achieved instrumentally through the staple psychedelic atmospheres both instrumentally and vocally.

Zombie Connection, Keep Your Head, Day Of The Rogue all see Suzi able to control her earthly body, zombie body all with her mind there is a reconciliation of sorts going on here even if it is not what Suzi imagined. The piano classically driven instrumental section really allow the lyrical side to breathe through so the listener can easily learn Suzi’s fate as she goes out in a ‘Blaze Of Glory’.

Utopia sees Suzi having achieved mastery in both worlds, Suzi is able to use her mind to grow her body from her head like a seed in the air downward to the ground. NeoSuzi glimpses what utopia could be for the first time, as something that can never be possessed, but experienced. The instrumental section beautifully wraps this story all up in a very coherent matter for the listener.

I did enjoy this journey. In a world of another dimension we can all find ourselves yearning and craving acceptance willing to do everything including mortgaging our own soul to obtain our ultimate goal. Suzi is a reminder of the absolute lengths we will go through to attempt our own Utopia. Lainey Schooltree certainly articulated this story beautifully on both lyrical and instrumental fronts.

Where some people usually enlist multiple vocalists to play parts of various characters and even multiple musicians, Lainey Schooltree enlisted a specific core both in studio and with a active band situation, thus to two different lineups in the rider of this review. Lainey Schooltree created a product that can be easily adapted to the live stage within reason. When listening to Schooltree’s Heterotopia think more The Who’s Tommy or Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell trilogy as far as Rock Opera’s are concerned. I can not wait for Lainey Schooltree’s next adventure for us. After much deliberation I have given Schooltree’s Heterotopia a strong 5/5.

 

 

Featured Artist of the Week // Billy Sherwood

William Wyman “Billy” Sherwood (born March 14, 1965, Las Vegas, Nevada) is a musician, record producer, and engineer.

billy sherwood

Biography

Family

Sherwood comes from a musical family which includes his father Bobby Sherwood, who was an actor, musician, and big band leader, his mother Phyllis, a singer and drummer, and brother Michael, a keyboardist and singer. His godfather is the late Milton Berle. Billy has a wife, Michi.

Lodgic

Sherwood’s music career started when he joined a band called Lodgic formed by Michael. Billy played bass and sang, while Michael played keyboards and sang back up. Lodgic also included Guy Allison on keyboards, Jimmy Haun on guitar and Gary Starns on drums. They eventually moved the band to Los Angeles in 1980. After many years of trying to get things together, they recorded their debut album Nomadic Sands, released in 1985.

World Trade

Lodgic eventually broke up, and Billy Sherwood put together a new band with Guy Allison. They recruited guitarist Bruce Gowdy and drummer Mark T. Williams to form World Trade. They recorded their self-titled debut in 1989, with Sherwood taking on the roles of engineer, mixer, and producer again, along with his band duties as bassist and lead singer.

Yes and other projects

Then, Sherwood and Gowdy were asked to come and jam with Chris Squire, Alan White, and Tony Kaye of Yes. Singer Jon Anderson and guitarist Trevor Rabin had left the band and the idea was for Sherwood and Gowdy to replace them in the band. Rabin returned to the band, but demos were recorded by a line-up of Squire, White, Kaye, Rabin and Sherwood. However, Yes were to merge with Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and Sherwood was relegated to the role of side musician, appearing on one track of the subsequent album Union. Like Trevor Horn before him, Sherwood was uncomfortable with the idea of replacing Anderson as the front man of Yes, but he struck up a friendship with Squire that would lead to work with him throughout the next 20 years.

During the hiatus of Yes, Squire put together the Chris Squire Experiment, having Sherwood as the lead singer while playing some guitar and keyboards. Sherwood then went on to record a project called The Key with guitarist Marty Walsh, though they would not release the album until 1997.

Behind the board, Sherwood worked with Motörhead, Dangerous Toys, and Paul Rodgers (formerly of Bad Company) as producer and engineer. Sherwood also guested on Toto’s Kingdom of Desire album, singing and playing bass. He also produced a couple of tribute albums, including Jeffology, a tribute to Jeff Beck. Sherwood then joined Yes on tour as an additional musician, playing guitar and keyboards for their tour in support of Talk.

Sherwood got back together with his band mates from World Trade and released Euphoria in 1995, with Jay Schellen replacing Williams on drums. After this, he worked with a multitude of artists. Most of his work was as producer, mixer and engineer, including on more tribute albums: Dragon Attack, a tribute to Queen; Salute to AC/DC; and Crossfire, a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Sherwood would co-produce, engineer and mix the new studio tracks for Yes’s Keys to Ascension and Keys to Ascension 2 albums. Sherwood started work on a third album by World Trade, but the band would fall apart. He would later use much of that material as his debut solo album The Big Peace, released in 1999.

After the two Keys to Ascension albums, Rick Wakeman left Yes. Sherwood’s friendship with Chris Squire would then lead him being asked to join the band again. The material that they had written together was used as the basis of what would become Open Your Eyes, released in 1997 by Yes. Sherwood played guitar and keyboards. Igor Khoroshev would join the band before the tour as the keyboardist leaving Sherwood to playing guitar and supplying backing vocals.

After returning from the tour, Sherwood and Yes returned to the studio to record The Ladder. During this time too, Sherwood and Squire started putting the finishing touches on their album Conspiracy, largely based on the Chris Squire Experiment material, which was released while Yes was on tour in support of The Ladder in 2000. Billy also took time to perform on his brother Michael’s album Tangletown, released in 1999.

Yes recorded a show during The Ladder tour in Sherwood’s hometown of Las Vegas at the House of Blues. This was released as an album and DVD titled House of Yes. Then after the tour, an announcement came that Sherwood was no longer a member of Yes.

After his departure from Yes, Sherwood worked with Chris Squire to release Conspiracy, including some work they composed together some years before. Following that, Sherwood composed his first solo album called The Big Peace in which he played most of all the instruments and also produced. The album was a sort of back to basics of his progressive roots.

In 2003, Sherwood released another album with Chris Squire, the project becoming known as Conspiracy. The album was titled The Unknown.

More recently, Sherwood has been working on further tribute albums, notably Back Against the Wall and Return to the Dark Side of the Moon, tributes to Pink Floyd’s The Wall and The Dark Side of the Moon respectively. The latter includes a new track recorded with Tony Kaye.

In 2007, a new band with Sherwood, Alan White, Tony Kaye and Jimmy Haun was announced, called Circa. With the release of their debut album Circa 2007 and a live DVD concert, Circa has played various live dates. White left the band and was replaced by Jay Schellen.

Sherwood is also credited for writing the theme song for the online anime series, Kung Fu Jimmy Chow.

In August 2008, Billy Sherwood’s released his third solo album, At the Speed of Life, for which he received an award that year as the best Progressive Rock Producer.

On January 14, 2009, Circa self-released on the Internet its second studio album, Circa HQ. This time, White was not available due to his commitments with Yes (who had begun a new tour). Sherwood’s long time friend, collaborator and drummer, Jay Schellen, replaced White on the album. After a short international tour, Sherwood and co. started another project with former Toto singer, Bobby Kimball. Kimball, Sherwood, Tony Kaye and Jimmy Haun formed new band, Yoso, with a debut studio album in April 2009. Haun later abandoned the line-up (in order to focus on his work for adverts). He was replaced by Yes tribute band guitarist, Johnny Bruhns. Schellen chose to focus on his work in Asia Featuring John Payne and, after a number of other drummers, the band toured with Scott Connor on drums. Yoso then disbanded. Sherwood also released his fourth solo album, Oneirology.

In 2011, CIRCA: returned with a new line-up of Sherwood, Kaye, Bruhns and Connor, while Sherwood released his fifth solo album, What was the Question?. In 2012, Sherwood wrote, produced, arranged and performed on The Prog Collective, an album featuring vocal or instrumental contributions from many of the progressive rock artists he had worked with over the years. He reprised the concept with a similar collection of artists for Epilogue, released in 2013.

On October 8, 2013, they released the official video to William Shatner’s record Ponder The Mystery, followed by a sold out tour with CIRCA. Ponder The Mystery also features appearances of Steve Vai, Robby Krieger, Al Di Meola, George Duke, Vince Gill, Dave Koz, Rick Wakeman and Edgar Winter. He also played with Alan Parsons Project.

Sherwood appeared along with William Shatner in the Season 14 premiere of Hell’s Kitchen where they met blue team as part of their reward for winning the signature dish challenge.

On May 19, 2015, it was officially announced that Chris Squire would be undergoing treatment for Acute erythroid leukemia, and that Yes would continue their 2015 North American tour with Sherwood filling Squire’s role. After Squire’s passing on June 27, 2015, Sherwood—as well as other members of Yes (both former and current)–made a public statement expressing his grief. In regards to his new role as the now-permanent bassist for Yes: “Chris said to me, ‘play the music, be yourself and make me proud’. It’s my true desire now [to] live up to his wishes.”

On 11 January 2017, it was announced via Asia’s Official Facebook that Sherwood would be filling in for John Wetton for tour dates in the spring of 2017 while Wetton underwent chemotherapy. Weston died on 31 January 2017.

Discography

Solo albums

  • The Big Peace (1999)
  • No Comment (2003)
  • At the Speed of Life (2008)
  • Oneirology (2010)
  • What Was the Question? (2011)
  • The Art of Survival (2012)
  • Divided by One (2014)
  • Collection (2015), compilation with two exclusive tracks
  • Archived (2015), album sold at Yes concerts during their 2015 tour, availability on Sherwood’s website in 2016
  • Citizen (2015)

With World Trade

  • World Trade (1989)
  • Euphoria (1995)

With Lodgic

  • Nomadic Sands (1985)

With Yes

  • Open Your Eyes (1997)
  • The Ladder (1999)
  • House of Yes: Live from House of Blues (2000)
  • Also: production, songwriting and various instruments on Union (1991), and mixing on Keys to Ascension (1996), Keys to Ascension 2 (1997), Heaven & Earth (2014), Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome (2014) and Like It Is: Yes at the Mesa Arts Center (2015)

With Conspiracy

  • Conspiracy (2000)
  • The Unknown (2003)

With Circa

  • Circa 2007 (2007)
  • Circa Live (2009, + DVD 2008)
  • Circa HQ (2009)
  • Overflow (2009)
  • And So On (2011)
  • Live From Here There & Everywhere (2013)
  • Valley Of The Windmill (2016)

With The Prog Collective

  • The Prog Collective (2012)
  • Epilogue (2013)

With Yoso

  • Elements (2010)

Solo Production Credits

  • Back Against The Wall (2005)
  • Return to the Dark Side of the Moon (2006)
  • Songs of the Century: An All-Star Tribute to Supertramp (2012)

Other Appearances

  • Deep Purple – Slaves and Masters (1990)
  • Yes – Yesyears (1991)
  • Yes – Union (1991)
  • Regulators – The Regulators (1991)
  • Toto – Kingdom of Desire (1992)
  • Motörhead – March ör Die (1992)
  • Air Supply – The Vanishing Race (1993)
  • Paul Rodgers – Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters (1993)
  • Dangerous Toys – Pissed (1994)
  • Various Artists – Supper’s Ready (1995)
  • Various Artists – The Moon Revisited (1995)
  • Various Artists – Tales From Yesterday (1995)
  • Pam Thum – Faithful (1995)
  • Air Supply – News from Nowhere (1995)
  • Yes – Keys to Ascension (1996)
  • Def Leppard – All I Want Is Everything (1996)
  • Various Artists – Crossfire: A Salute To Stevie Ray Vaughan (1996)
  • Yes – Keys to Ascension (1997)
  • Various Artists – Dragon Attack: A Tribute To Queen (1997)
  • Paul Rodgers – Chronicle (1997)
  • The Key – The World is Watching (1997)
  • Treason – Treason (1997)
  • Ratt – Collage (1997)
  • Carmine Appice – Guitar Zeus (1997)
  • Flambookey – Flambookey (1997)
  • Various Artists – Thunderbolt-A Tribute To AC/DC (1998)
  • Michael Sherwood – Tangletown (1998)
  • Regulators – Bar & Grill (1998)
  • Quiet Riot – Alive and Well (1999)
  • Carmine Appice – Guitar zeus: Japan (2000)
  • Yes – Keystudio (2001)
  • Fear Factory – Digimortal (2001)
  • Carmine Appice – Guitar Zeus: Korea (2002)
  • Jack Russell – For You (2002)
  • Todd Rundgren – Todd Rundgren And His Friends (2002)
  • Medwyn Goodball – Anam Cara
  • Various Artists – Pigs & Pyramids-An All Star Lineup Performing The Songs of Pink Floyd (2002)
  • Ignition – Ignition (2003)
  • Various Artists – Bat Head Soup-A Tribute To Ozzy Osbourne (2003)
  • Asia – Silent Nation (2004)
  • John 5 – Vertigo (2004)
  • Larry Klimas – Retro-Spec(t) (2004)
  • Michael Schenker – Heavy Hitters (2005)
  • Various Artists – Back Against The Wall (2005)
  • Edgar Winter – The Better Deal (2006)
  • Various Artists – Return to the Dark Side of the Moon (2006)
  • Various Artists – An ’80s Metal Tribute To Journey (2006)
  • Various Artists – Lights Out: The Ultimate Tribute To UFO (2006)
  • Various Artists – An All-Star Tribute To Lynyrd Skynyrd (2007)
  • Graham Russell – The Future (2007)
  • Hollywood Roses – Dopesnake (2007)
  • Various Artists – 70’s Box: The Sound Of A Decade (2007)
  • Julie Francis – Lucky Penny (2008)
  • Various Artists – Led Box: The Ultimate Tribute To Led Zeppelin (2008)
  • Various Artists – Big Movies, Big Music Volume 1 (2008)
  • Various Artists – Big Networks, Big Music Volume 2 (2008)
  • Various Artists – Big Networks, Big Music Volume 9 (2008)
  • Various Artists – Ultimate Holiday Party Volume 1 (2008)
  • Various Artists – Ultimate Christmas Party Volume 2 (2008)
  • Various Artists – Ultimate Christmas Party Volume 3 (2008)
  • Various Artists – A Tribute To Thin Lizzy (2008)
  • Various Artists – Abbey Road: A Tribute To The Beatles’ (2009)
  • Eureka – Shackleton’s Voyage (2009)
  • Various Artists – An All-Star Salute to Christmas (2010)
  • Nigel Briggs – Unwind (2010)
  • Mars Hollow – World in Front of Me (2011)
  • John Wetton – Raised in Captivity (2011)
  • Flaming Row – Elinoire (2011)
  • Michael Schenker Group – By Invitation Only
  • Sonic Elements – XYZ—A Tribute to Rush (2012)
  • Jay Tausig – Pisces (2012)
  • Various Artists – Songs of the Century: An All-Star Tribute to Supertramp (2012)
  • Various Artists – Black on Blues – A Tribute to The Black Keys (2012)
  • The Fusion Syndicate – The Fusion Syndicate (2012)
  • Edison’s Lab – Edison’s Lab EP (2012)
  • Blackburner – Planet Earth Attack (2012)
  • Nektar – A Spoonful of Time (2012)
  • Nektar – Time Machine (2013)
  • Days Between Stations – In Extremis (2013)
  • Sons of Hippies – Griffones at the Gates of Heaven (2013)
  • William Shatner – Ponder The Mystery (2013)
  • Dale Bozzio – Missing In Action (2014)
  • Spirits Burning – Starhawk (2015)
  • Time Horizons – Transitions (2015)
  • Leon Alvarado – The Future Left Behind (2016)

Follow Billy Sherwood
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BillySherwoodMusic/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/billysherwood

All Information copied from Billy Sherwood – Wikipedia

 

 

Althea // Featured Artist of the Week

Althea

About
Althea formed in Milan from an idea of the guitarist Dario Bortot and bassist Fabrizio Zilio with the object of developing a free-of-schemes progressive metal rock project. With the entrance in the line up of the keyboardist Marco Zambardi the band produced a number of demo tapes and played live in many venues in northern Italy, also participating in several musical contests.
With Sergio Sampietro on drums and Alessio Accardo on vocals joining the band, the Althea line up stabilized and the group resumed live performances in several of the Milan clubs, including the LiveMi event in Piazza Duomo.

With this formation, the band composed and recorded new songs that after an intense amount of work in the recording studio, became part of the “Eleven” EP, released in February 2014.
Eleven received outstanding reviews from local and international press and the band played live extensively in iconic locations, including Colony club.

In 2016 the band went back into the studio to record the new full length concept album “Memories Have No Name”, a 16 songs concept album spacing from progressive metal, rock and experimental ambient sections to be released in January 2017.

Members
Dario Bortot (Guitar)
Fabrizio Zilio (Bass)
Marco Zambardi (Key and Loops)
Sergio Sampietro (Drums)
Alessio Accardo (Vocal)

Featured Artist Of The Week // Textures

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In 2003, the year of the launch of TEXTURES’ debut album Polars, the first reactions start to stream in: “This is the best metal album that’s ever come out of the Netherlands” according to the Dutch music magazine Oor. The standard is set. TEXTURES, once just a promising up-and-coming band from the South of the Netherlands, has now emerged, 3 albums later, as an established name in the worldwide metal scene.

The band’s fourth album Dualism — on the band’s new home Nuclear Blast — is groovier, catchier, and the production even grander than its 2008 predecessor Silhouettes. The band’s trademark mix of expertly crafted brutality, melody, freaky, innovative rhythms and catchy vocals is still intact, with Bart Hennephof and Jochem Jacobs’s expertly crafted sonic… um… textures and the unruly heavy-hitting of drummer Stef Broks creating the perfect metal cocktail. The climaxes of the songs on Dualism have been elevated to a higher level, partially due to the contribution of their new keyboard player Uri Dijk and new frontman Daniel de Jongh (ex-Cilice) who, as far as his sound goes, is every bit the talent as his predecessor Eric Kalsbeek.

Once again, the band took total control of every facet of the album. Everything was recorded at Split Second Sound, the new Amsterdam-based studio belonging to Jacobs, who produced the album. The band also handled all their own artwork and merchandising, which was designed by bassist Remko Tielemans.

The last album, Silhouettes, received worldwide acclaim from the international press. Everybody from Europe to the U.S. to India could sing along to the song “Awake,” which received strong support from online metal communities and got prime time airplay on Radio 3 fm (NL), Radio 1 (UK) and Triple J (AU). The video clip got airplay on MTV in Europe and Russia, and VH1 in India. In the Netherlands TEXTURES reached the Album Top 100 for the very first time. The band played at Graspop in Belgium, the Great Escape in the UK, Tuska in Finland, Hellfest in France and Lowlands in their home country the Netherlands and also toured with Arch Enemy and All That Remains, among others.

In 2009 the band flew to Bangalore to play India for the first time — where they’d just been featured on the cover of India’s most prestigious rock magazine The Rock Street Journal – and delivered an explosive headline performance for over 5,000 fans. Exactly a year later they return for another festival, dazzling the University of New Delhi where the band was welcomed by throngs of thousands once again.

With two new band members, a new record label and a new album TEXTURES will be hitting the road once again, touring all over the world in support of the album and going places where they’ve never been before, both literally and metaphorically.

MEMBERS:
Daniel de Jongh – vocals
Joe Tal – guitars
Bart Hennephof – guitars
Stef Broks – drums
Remko Tielemans – bass
Uri Dijk – synths

Follow
http://texturesband.com/en/news
https://www.facebook.com/textures/

The Tea Club // Featured Artist of The Week

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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.

Website: http://www.theteaclub.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theteaclubband/

 

Clive Nolan // Artist of The Week

Clive Nolan is a British musician, composer and producer who has played a prominent role in the recent development of progressive and symphonic rock.

Clive Nolan

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

Studio

  • Songs from the Lion’s Cage (1995)
  • Pride (1996)
  • The Visitor (1998)
  • Immortal? (2000)
  • Contagion (2003)
  • Pepper’s Ghost (2005)
  • The Seventh Degree of Separation (2011)
  • The Unquiet Sky (2015)

Live

  • Welcome to the Stage (1997)
  • Breakfast in Biarritz (2001)
  • Live & Life (2004)
  • Arena: Live (2013)
  • Arena: XX (2016)

EP’s

  • The Cry (1997)
  • Contagious (2003)
  • Contagium (2003)

Compilations

  • Ten Years On (2006)

Videos/DVDs

  • Caught in the Act (2003) (live)
  • Smoke & Mirrors (2006) (live)
  • Rapture (2011) (live)
  • Arena: XX (2016) (live)

Clive Nolan with Pendragon

  • The Jewel (1985)
  • Kowtow (1988)
  • The World (1991)
  • The Window of Life (1993)
  • The Masquerade Overture (1996)
  • Not Of This World (2001)
  • Believe (2005)
  • Pure (2008)
  • Passion (2011)
  • Men Who Climb Mountains (2014)

Clive Nolan with Shadowland

Albums

  • 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)
  • A Matter of Perspective (2009)

DVDs

  • Edge of Night (2009)

Box sets

  • Cautionary Tales (2009)

Clive Nolan with Caamora

  1. Clive Nolan & Agnieszka Swita – Closer – CD – 2006
  2. Caamora – Walk on Water (Mini-Album) – CD – 2007
  3. Caamora – Embrace (Single) – CD – 2008
  4. Caamora – Journey’s End… An Acoustic Anthology – 2CD – 2008
  5. Caamora – She – 2CD / 2CD Digipak / 3LP – 2008
  6. Caamora – She (Live) – DVD / DVD+2CD / 2CD – 2008

Clive Nolan with Strangers on a Train

  1. The Key – Part 1 – The Prophecy – Verglas 1990
  2. The Key – Part 2 – The Labyrinth – Verglas 1993

Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman

  1. Jabberwocky – Verglas 1999
  2. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Verglas 2002

Clive Nolan with Casino

  1. Casino – Verglas 1992

Clive Nolan with Neo

  1. Broadcast (DVD) – Metal Mind 2007

Clive Nolan

  1. Skeletons in the Cupboard -Archive – Vol 1 – Verglas 2003

Clive Nolan with Gandalf’s Fist

  1. A Forest of Fey 2014

Francis Dunnery // Featured Artist of The Week

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ABOUT FRANCIS DUNNERY

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]
Made in Space (Aquarian Nation, 2011)
Frankenstein Monster (Aquarian Nation, 2013)
Vampires (double album) (Aquarian Nation, 2016) [It Bites re-recordings album]

Francis Dunnery Singles
 
“American Life in the Summertime” (Atlantic Records, 1994)
“What’s He Gonna Say?” (Atlantic Records, 1995)
“Homegrown” (Atlantic Records, 1995) Australia
“Too Much Saturn” (Atlantic Records, 1995) USA/ UK Promo only
“The Way Things Are” (Atlantic Records, 1995) USA Promo only
“I Believe I Can Change My World” (Atlantic Records, 1996) Europe/ Australia
“Spiritual” (Atlantic Records, 1996) US Promo only 12″
“My Own Reality” (Razor & Tie, 1998) Promo only
“Riding on the Back” (Razor & Tie, 1998) US Promo only
“The Wounding & Healing of Men” (Aquarian Nation, 2003) US Promo only
“Good Life” (Aquarian Nation, 2005) US Promo only

Francis Dunnery DVDs
 
Live at the Union Chapel – credited to Francis Dunnery & Friends (Aquarian Nation, 2004)
In the Garden of Mystic Lovers (Aquarian Nation, 2008)
Louder than Usual (Aquarian Nation/Flying Spot Entertainment, 2010)

It Bites Albums
 
The Big Lad in the Windmill (Virgin Records, 1986)
Once Around the World (Virgin Records, 1988)
Eat Me in St. Louis (Virgin Records, 1989)
Thank You and Goodnight (Virgin Records, 1991)
Live in Montreux (It Bites, 2004)

It Bites Singles
 
“All in Red” (Virgin Records, 1986)
“Calling All The Heroes” (Virgin Records, 1986)
“Whole New World” (Virgin Records, 1986)
“Old Man and the Angel” (Virgin Records, 1987)
“Kiss Like Judas” (Virgin Records, 1988)
“Midnight” (Virgin Records, 1988)
“Still Too Young to Remember” (Virgin Records, 1989 – remixed and reissued 1990)
“Underneath Your Pillow” (Virgin Records, 1989 – remixed and reissued 1990)
“Sister Sarah” (Virgin Records, 1990)

It Bites DVDs
 
Live in Tokyo (It Bites, 2004)

The Sin Albums
 
Big Sky (Alliance Records, 2009)

Guest Appearances and Session Work
 
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe – Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (1989, Arista Records) – backing vocals.
Robert Plant – Fate of Nations (1993, Es Paranza) – rhythm guitar on ‘Come into My Life, lead guitar on “Promised Land.”
Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998) – guitar on “Every Ghetto, Every City” & “Nothing Even Matters.”
Santana – Supernatural (1999) rhythm guitar on “Do You Like The Way?”
Ian Brown – Music of the Spheres (2001, Polydor Records)- guitars on all tracks, also co-wrote “El Mundo Pequeño.”
Big Big Train – The Underfall Yard (2009) – guest lead guitar on “The Underfall Yard.”
XII Alfonso – (as-yet-untitled triple album based on the life of Charles Darwin) (due autumn 2011) – guest guitar on one unspecified track.
Steve Hackett – Genesis Revisited II (2012) – lead vocal songs Supper’s Ready, Dancing with the Moonlit Knight.

As Producer
 
Chris Difford – I Didn’t Get Where I Am (Aquarian Nation, 2002) – also co-wrote and played guitars and keyboards on all tracks.
John & Wayne – Nearly Killed Keith (Aquarian Nation, 2002 – also co-wrote and played drums and organ on all tracks)
Stephen Harris – Songs From The Mission of Hope (Aquarian Nation, 2002 – also co-wrote and played guitar, piano and Mellotron on all tracks.)
John Gilmour Smith – “The Story We’ve Been Sold” (Aquarian Nation, 2010; also co-wrote, and sang on several tracks)
Discogrophy from Wikipedia
Links
Website
Facebook[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=228665471 size=large bgcol=333333 linkcol=0f91ff tracklist=false artwork=small]

Nth Ascension // Featured Artist Of The Week

Biography
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.

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About Alan “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.

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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.

dtb-bannerAbout 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.

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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.

dsc_0157-2About 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.

Nth Ascension
Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor – Vocals
Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards
Craig Walker – Drums & Percussion
Gavin Walker – Bass
Martin Walker – Guitars

Discography
In Fine Initium (2016)
Ascension Of Kings (2014)
Frequencies Of Day & Night (2011)

Links
Website 
Facebook 
Instagram 
Twitter 
Youtube

Frost* // Featured Artist of the Week

FORMATION (2004)

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”.

milliontownMILLIONTOWN (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…

experimentsinmassappealEXPERIMENTS 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.

HIATUS (2011)

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.

 

frost-falling-cover

 

All info from the Official FROST* Website

Frost* Links
Official Website
Facebook

 

Evership // Featured Artist of the Week

Evership – Bio
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.
Evership (Self-Titled) Released: July 1st, 2016
evership-album-cover
Track List:
1. Silver Light (09:26)
2. A Slow Descent Into Reality (12:39)
I: Everyman
II: A Slow Descent
III: Wisdom of the Ages
IV: Honest with Me
V: The Battle Within
VI: Anyman
3. Evermore (10:12)
A: Eros
B: Agape
4. Ultima Thule (10:28)
5. Flying Machine (t) (13:44)
I: Dreamcarriers
II: Dream Sequence
III: Lift
6. Approach (Binaural) (01:58)
Evership Genre: Progressive Rock/Classic Rock
Beau West: Lead Vocals
Shane Atkinson: Vocals, Keyboards, Drums, Percussion, Theremin, Chapman Stick,
Dulcimer, Experimental Guitar, Sound Design and Orchestrations
With:
James Atkinson: Acoustic and Lead Guitars
Rob Higginbotham: Classical, Acoustic and Electric Rhythm Guitars
Jaymi Millard: Bass
Nicelle Priebe: Violin
Mike Priebe: Background Vocals
Dan Smalley: Classical Guitar, Ebow (t)
Brandon Vestal: Electric and Acoustic Guitars (t)
Evership Links:

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