‘Origins’ is a collection consisting of compositions and recordings from keyboard player Lisa LaRue from as long ago as 1992, up to 2016. stemming from 1992 through 2016. It is incredibly varied, as it includes pieces such as a spoken word/keyboard collaboration with Gilli Smyth of Gong, some she composed and recorded for modern ballet, selections with John Payne (Asia Featuring John Payne, GPS, Dukes of the Orient), Michael Sadler (Saga), Ryo Okumoto (Spock’s Beard), a collaboration with Italian composer/keyboardist Federico Fantacone, and solo pieces. Other musicians involved include Mitch Perry (Talas, Aerosmith), Don Schiff (Rocket Scientists, Kracked Earth), 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.
It is a wonderful collection of work, containing so many styles that one never knows what is going to happen next. “256 Leagues Above New Orleans” combines jazz-style electric piano with shimmering synths and wonderful flute to bring together thoughts (at least in my mind) of Native Americans riding over the plains, and then there are others where Steve Adams provides incredibly fluid electric guitar, while it is always a pleasure to hear Don Schiff in the mix. There is so much going on that the album could have become disjointed, spread over two discs it is nearly two hours in length, yet there is always the desire to know what ideas are going to come through next, how it is going to come together.
LaRue isn’t a flashy “look at me” extravagant player in the realm of Wakeman or Emerson, but instead has a strong understanding of arrangements and what is needed where. There are a few numbers that drift into delicate New Age territory, but there are many others which are far harder, with real presence. The album ebbs and flows, and the result is that listeners such as myself, who haven’t previously heard much from LaRue, will feel inspired to search out more of her back catalog Now that she is with MRR, I am sure we will all be hearing quite a bit more of her activities, and I for one am very pleased about that.
8/10 – Kev Rowland
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.”
Official Website: https://www.lisalaruemusic.com/
Melodic Revolution http://mrrmusic.com/lisa-larue/
Progressive rock band Mars Hollow has announced that they will be recording a new album after a nearly 5-year hiatus. The announcement was made during a semi-reunion show and subsequent radio interview in June, and came on the heels of a show billed as “John Baker and Steve Mauk Perform the Music of Mars Hollow” in Chicago. The show was the first time Mars Hollow has performed live since May, 2012. The most recent studio effort from the group was the track “So Far Away,” which also had a video release and was included on the Mars Hollow Live album. The album, also available on DVD, documented the band’s ‘Church of Prog’ spot at RosFest, 2011 and was released in Fall of 2012.
However, guitarist and lead vocalist John Baker says that the new band will update both its name and line-up to fit the spirit and music of the new incarnation, and will be called “Life After Mars.” The band’s debut album release is tentatively scheduled for Summer, 2018.
Says John, “As Life After Mars is the newly reformed incarnation of Mars Hollow, the best way to explain it is ‘Mars Hollow…the Next Generation.”
Mars Hollow landed on the progressive rock scene in 2010 with their self-titled debut album, produced by Ronan Chris Murphy, and followed up in 2011 with “World In Front of Me,” co-produced by Mars Hollow’s John Baker and Billy Sherwood, now of Yes. Playing festivals and numerous gigs in the USA, Mexico and Canada, the band also played and toured with Billy Sherwood’s Circa, and received accolades and positive reviews for several years. In the spirit of progressive rock, “Life After Mars” seems a natural progression.
Says John, “I think of this as good timing. A perfect time to rethink your mindset, and have a new jumping off point. At one time, walking on the moon, or landing on Mars was the future. Everyone wondered if there was life on mars, and now they are talking about colonization of Mars. Truly, the FUTURE is life AFTER mars.”
Life After Mars features:
John Baker – lead vocals and guitars
Don Schiff – NS stick, various basses and string instruments
Lisa LaRue – keyboards
Emily Dolan Davies – drums
Throughout the years, John Baker has held stints as guitarist and backing vocalist for various original bands and musicians, including Christian Love of “The Beach Boys” and bassist for The Little Girls. Since 1995, John has been operating a successful studio business, comprised of music projects, audio drama, and dialogue work. In the music field, John has worked with many musicians and producers, including Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones) and Richie Zito (Elton John, Tina Turner, Heart). In the dialogue field, John has directed, engineered, and edited hundreds of audio books including works by authors such as Robert Ludlum, Danielle Steele and Deepak Chopra. John Baker, an original member of Mars Hollow, is also the lead vocalist for the LA-based progressive rock band, Forever Twelve, who has just completed their 4th studio album, Home, on Melodic Revolution Records.
Don Schiff has worked with some of the best – including Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, Pat Benatar, Sheryl Crow, Sammy Davis, Arjen Lucassen among many others. Don is also a member of Rocket Scientists. Having scored soundtracks as well as acted in TV shows and films such as “Live From Death Row” and “84 Charlie Mopic,” he has also received gold records for co-writing for Pat Benatar’s “Wide Awake in Dreamland” and Winfield/Schiff’s “Cerebral Man.” Don is internationally known for his expertise with the NS/Chapman stick. He was also a member of Lisa LaRue’s former band 2KX.
Keyboardist Lisa LaRue has worked with many musicians including: John Payne (Asia), Don Schiff (Rocket Scientists, Tina Turner, Elvis, and more), Ryo Okumoto (Spock’s Beard), Michael Sadler (Saga), Oliver Wakeman (Yes). Esquire (Nikki Squire) and others. Lisa has been awarded Oklahoma Native American Artist of the Year and nominated for other awards including the Hollywood Music Awards, Los Angeles Music Awards, and the Native American Music Awards. She collaborated with Gilli Smyth of Gong on a self-released album titled “Dreamscapes,” and has released 5 solo albums, 1 album with Lisa LaRue Project 2K9, 2 albums with Lisa LaRue 2KX, and 1 album with Federico Fantacone (Fantacone/LaRue – Sonic Landscapes).
EMILY DOLAN DAVIES
Emily Dolan Davies is a British drummer who has been playing since age 11, with full time gigging beginning at age 18. She has extensive experience in many genres as a session and live drummer, in addition to playing with artists such as Bryan Ferry, The Thompson Twins, The Darkness, and many more. She is currently touring with Howard Jones.
Here’s what the press have said about Mars Hollow:
“It’s quite clear that Mars Hollow is a band to be reckoned with. This is no garage band, but a very serious group of players with some serious chops.” – Rok Podgrajšek – The Rocktologist
“If you take a little bit of Yes – mostly in John Baker’s vocals – and a little bit of Rush (also there in the vocals), that’s a bit what Mars Hollow sound like.” – Stephanie Sollow – ProgressiveWorld.net
“Each member of the quartet is a star player in his own right. Their sound is a rocking and melodic mix of the best of Yes & Genesis with a bit of latter-day King Crimson.” – Mike Flavin – USA Prog Music
“I would consider Mars Hollow to be a band that will withstand the test of time for the advancement of the progressive genre.” – Grant Hill – Music Street Journal
For further details and to watch the project progress, please follow the Life After Mars Fan Page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lifeaftermarsmusic or https://www.lifeaftermarsmusic.com ;
Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr @ gmail.com