It is with regret that Unitopia announces that bassist Alphonso Johnson will no longer be able to join the band on their upcoming “Seven Chambers” tour in September due to unforeseen circumstances. The band, however, is thrilled to announce that acclaimed musician Don Schiff will be stepping in to fill the void left by Johnson’s absence.
In the wake of Johnson’s unavailability, Don Schiff emerges as the ideal candidate to take his place. Schiff is no stranger to the world of progressive rock, having carved out a remarkable career spanning several decades. His mastery of the Chapman Stick, an innovative and versatile instrument, has made him a sought-after collaborator and a revered figure in the genre.
Don Schiff’s progressive rock journey began in the early 1990s when he joined the legendary rock band Rocket Scientists. Since then, he has contributed his exceptional skills to numerous groundbreaking projects and has worked with an impressive roster of artists, including the likes of Eddie Jobson, Lana Lane, and Erik Norlander.
Schiff’s ability to blend complex melodies, captivating rhythms, and intricate textures with the Chapman Stick has made him an influential figure in the progressive rock scene. His distinctive sound and virtuosic performances have captivated audiences worldwide, earning him critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase.
Don Schiff’s versatile musical journey extends beyond progressive rock, as he has also made notable contributions to the world of pop music, collaborating with renowned artists such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Sheryl Crow, Pat Benetar, Tina Turner and Elvis Presley, among others. His exceptional skills on the bass have enriched the soundscapes of their chart-topping hits, solidifying his reputation as a sought-after musician across genres. Schiff’s ability to seamlessly transition between progressive rock and pop showcases his remarkable versatility and underscores his status as a respected figure in the music industry.
Unitopia is thrilled to have Don Schiff joining them on their upcoming tour, and they are confident that his immense talent and passion for progressive rock will bring a fresh energy to their live performances. Audiences can expect an unforgettable musical experience as Schiff seamlessly integrates with the band, contributing his unique style and expertise to the beloved Unitopia repertoire.
Unitopia expresses their gratitude to Alphonso Johnson for his contributions and sends their warmest wishes for whatever lies ahead. They are grateful for the understanding and continued support of their fans as they embark on this new chapter with Don Schiff.
For more information about Unitopia’s upcoming tour and Don Schiff’s addition to the lineup, please visit the band’s official website.
UNITOPIA (yu-nih-to-pi-E): meaning living together as one in a place of ideal perfection especially in law, government and social conditions.
Unitopia endeavors to draw from the heart and soul of the listener thought provoking topics such as environmental awareness, political and social upheaval and the hectic pace of life and human relationships in a positive and uplifting light. Using progressive themes as a framework, Unitopia’s music includes elements of world, classical, jazz, heavy rock, and groove. About Upcoming Release “Seven Chambers:
The current members of Unitopia have trodden varying paths where some have encountered serious heart disease, tumors, metabolic disorders, joint disease and psychological upheaval. The “Seven Chambers” is a concept album based on the band’s experiences of illness, a dark subject perhaps, but the simple fact that all four are still here and producing music bears witness to good outcomes and is cause for optimism and grounds for hope.
Nick Katona, head honcho of one of the finest music labels around, is back with this year’s charity offering. Seven songs by different artists who have all contributed the music so you have the opportunity to hear something very special indeed while also giving back. You see, you cannot buy this EP or download it without contacting the label, who will then send it to you free of charge (this is a digital-only release). All you have to do to get this is to provide proof of helping others. As Nick says, “To receive your copy as a gift from MRR and with the kind permission of all of our contributing artists we ask you to commit a great act of kindness. Send us proof of you donating to your local charity of choice, it can be your time, or tangible goods such as blankets, food or clothing even pet food. Think outside of the box; donate your time at the local food bank, soup kitchen or shelter. Certainly, the hospitals would be grateful for volunteers or donate blood today and save a life.”
I know that most people who think of others do so with no thought of reward or recognition, it is just because it is the right thing to do. Others aren’t aware of how much pressure this time of year can bring to those who are less fortunate, yet whatever society or country you live in there will always be some who are struggling. Not everyone has access to a computer to read this review, not everyone has access to clean water, food, clothing or a place to stay.
Each year at this time Melodic Revolution makes available a release like this, hoping it is a spur for those who are caught up in their own festivities to remind them of those less fortunate. If this release makes you think of that person who has no-one at Christmas or spurs you into buying a few extra bits and pieces at the supermarket to donate, or for you to find where you can volunteer for a few hours, then it has more than accomplished its goal.
It is almost an aside to say this seven-track release featuring Potter’s Daughter, Andrew Colyer, Harlequin Reborn, Don Schiff, Babal and Murky Red and Franck Carducci are an absolute delight. It is a winter album, not a Christmas album, and is a great way to discover “new” bands: a few here are new to me, while others are old friends. Potter’s Daughter even wrote the sublime “This Winter Child” just for this. Christmas is not about eating too much food or drinking too much wine, it is actually about people. Nick said to me “It’s more than just holiday music; it’s about love and hope”. Get out there, make a difference, and then contact the label with proof and in the subject matter put ‘Pay it Forward’, sending it to [email protected]
You will be making a real difference in people’s lives, and while that will always be reward enough, now you can also get to hear wonderful music by amazing people as well.
The Sled is Melodic Revolution Records10th-holiday album for charity.
The Sled is a unique charity release, you cannot purchase this album with Dollars, Pounds Yen or Euros; something this valuable requires a giving heart. To receive your copy as a gift from Melodic Revolution Records (MRR) and with the kind permission of all of our contributing artists we ask you to commit a great act of kindness.
Send us proof of you donating to your local charity of choice, it can be your time, or tangible goods such as blankets, food or clothing. Think outside of the box, donate your time at the local food bank, soup kitchen or shelter. Certainly, your local hospital would be grateful for volunteers or donate blood today and save a life.
We would like to promote the good deeds of great citizens and with your permission, we will share your photos on our page set up this holiday season to spread the good news.
The Sled will be released digitally on Monday, December 3, 2018, and we will stream it free through the end of January 2019.
Each year we host a holiday release to showcase many bands and artists that you may not be aware of, but we feel you should be. The album will feature many styles of holiday music and original music; all of which will touch your heart and soul. May it inspire you – for in giving, we receive so much more.
Let me introduce you to the contributing artists:
Jennifer Cutting’s Ocean Orchestra
The OCEAN Orchestra brings you soaring vocals and fiery bagpipe and fiddle tunes in their own American take on Celtic folk-rock. Fairport Convention’s Simon Nicol says they “get right inside the spirit of the folk music of the British Isles,” and Steeleye Span’s Maddy Prior calls their songwriting “stunning.” https://oceanorchestra.com/home
Federico Fantacone Orchestre Celesti
OC is the creative moniker of composer and keyboardist Federico Fantacone. The project was born in 2006 blending Italian prog, English 70’s variety, and contemporary influences. federicofantacone.wixsite.com/orchestrecelesti
Andrew is an Award-winning Composer in the Pop and Rock and Progressive rock field, he has performed and collaborated with Tony Levin, Jon Anderson, The Tubes, Sound of Contact and, Ryche Chlanda, Circuline, Cell15 among others. http://colyermusic.com
Electric Mud Electric Mud – progressive rock music without the genre’s usual display of virtuosity with endless solos, but straight minimalist guitar riffs on a groovy bass foundation with expressive machine drums. https://www.facebook.com/LiquidSkyNet/
BABAL reveal a dystopian, sideways view of life; their psych/art-rock approach calling up comparisons with Talking Heads and Patti Smith. The band have gathered great responses around the UK and Europe and have also played live soundtracks for Alternative Cinema presentations. http://babal.rocks
Dr. Bill Rhodes is a musician, composer, producer, author, engineer, and he has been a product specialist for various keyboard companies since the early 1970s. Over the past 35 years, Dr. Bill Rhodes has released over 30 albums on 3 different labels. http://symphonicpiano.com
Don is a Pop, Prog, and Rock bass guitarist who also writes music for TV, and film. He is one of the earliest Stick, NS/Stick, and bowed guitar players. http://www.facebook.com/donschiffmusic/
Andy John Bradford
Andy is a Progressive Folk Singer-Songwriter residing in Northern Ireland who has collaborated with numerous musicians over the years including MRR’s Colin Tench. http://mrrmusic.com/andy-john-bradford/
Originally a Power Trio that sounded like so much more, as of 2010, the band is a quartet… but still with the same melodic and symphonic tendencies in the best of Progressive Rock traditions. http://pinnacleband.com
Darrel is a Rock, Pop, Prog, Multi-Instrumentalist, Pianist, Keyboardist & Composer from the UK, Currently a member of TEN (UK Melodic Rockers), writing, recording and performing with Nth Ascension (UK Prog-Rockers) and his own solo works. http://darreltreece-birch.com
For full details to these artists, please follow their links.
Origins is a sixteen track double album which include one hidden bonus track and celebrate’s 25 years and 11 release by LaRue.
The songs on “Origins” were written and recorded over 25 years. Some in a small recording studio in Tahlequah, OK over a year’s time with John “Yakfe” Timothy, and some in Los Angeles working extensively with John Payne as a co-producer, mixing engineer, bassist, and vocalist. Also, certain songs were known as some of the first prog projects done via internet transfer and finalizes with “Sussuration” and “Lemniscate,” completely produced and mixed by LaRue.
According to Lisa, “This album is extremely important – it’s important to me, as it represents 25 years of my life and some of the best work I’ve done with some of the best friends in the world. It’s important because it represents the unity and bringing together of many musicians, big and small, through the universal language, music. Lastly, it’s important to fans, as it represents some of the obscure work of many top-notch artists that they may not have in their collection. Melodic Revolution and Nick Katona have always been known for bringing artists together, so there is no better label to showcase this 25-year effort.”
“Lisa has a unique perspective to her music. Her Prog rock style is highly influenced by her Native American roots. The listener is drawn in by the mystical and avant-garde approach. From my point of view, it has always been a pleasure and great experience working with her music.” – John Payne
“A very atmospheric composition, with a lovely tranquil finale. I hear a lot of my father’s influence in it, a beautiful arrangement.” – Aaron Emerson (son of Keith Emerson) regarding the song “Aspiration”
Origins also features John Payne (Asia, GPS), Michael Sadler (Saga), Mitch Perry (Talas, Aerosmith), Gilli Smyth (Gong), Don Schiff (Rocket Scientist, Kracked Earth), Federico Fantacone (Orchestre Celesti) John Baker (Forever Twelve, Mars Hollow) as well as Steve Adams, Brenda K, Michael Wheeler, Merrill Hale, Svetlan Raket (Par Lindh Project), John “Yafke” Timothy, Michael Alvarez.
Origins is housed in a new style of Digipak called a Digipack Lite™ this is one of the most unique and eco-friendly packages on the market, in fact, the CD tray actually flexes and is more durable than the standard ridged plastic tray as it is made from recycled water bottles.
1) All pre-orders get shipped before the release date.
2) All Pre-orders supporters will receive a personalized thank you postcard.
3) All Pre-orders of Origins also come with 2 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released
All orders include a digital booklet with purchase
LaRue became the first female artist signed to the Sound of America Records label (SOAR) a sub label of Natural Visions, the first all-Native American record label founded by Grammy Winner and Motown producer Tom Bee.
In 2008 LaRue was nominated for a Hollywood Music Award and was also awarded The Oklahoma Music Award for “Native American Artist of the Year.” Her band 2KX was Nominated as Instrumental Band of the Year in 2011 by the Los Angeles Music Awards.
Lisa has also appeared on recordings by others, including Head Transfer Process (Stargazer), Esquire with Nikki Squire (“Stay Low”), Don Schiff, Ryo Okumoto, Oliver Wakeman, Steve Gresswell, Quester and Beyond the Labyrinth.
Origins is a double album celebrating 25 years and 11 release by LaRue, featuring some of the best musicians in the business; John Payne (Asia, GPS), Michael Sadler (Saga), Mitch Perry (Talas, Aerosmith), Gilli Smyth (Gong), Don Schiff (Rocket Scientist, Kracked Earth), Federico Fantacone (Orchestre Celesti) John Baker (Forever Twelve, Mars Hollow) as well as Steve Adams, Brenda K, Michael Wheeler, Merrill Hale, Svetlan Raket (Par Lindh Project), John “Yafke” Timothy, Michael Alvarez.
A Statement from Lisa
“I look forward to being part of the Melodic Revolution family, and hope to collaborate with other MR artists, and interact with the fans. Great prog has come from the vaults of Melodic Revolution, and I hope I can contribute to that.”
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