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Leah Waybright — Beauty Gone Wild
(Innertainment I-7001, 1999, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2000-05-01

Beauty Gone Wild Cover art

Waybright is a composer, keyboardist, floral artist, and wildflower preservationist. This project brings all of that together: a 12 track CD + 32 page CD-sized book featuring illustrations, artwork, and stories about each of the wildflowers that the tracks represent. Waybright’s compositions are intensely melodic and briliantly orchestrated, each with its own spirited vision and expressive purpose; even though this is a concept album, any of these pieces could easily stand on its own — zero filler. The material seems to span a lot of interests, but it fits well somewhere between progressive rock (structurally and compositionally) and — don’t want to say New Age, the word has too many negative connotations — the material here really transcends a lot of the fluff that New Age music tends to be, but it should appeal to some of the same listeners. The casual listener might at first be reminded of some of Kit Watkins’ solo work, yet the material here tends to be more upbeat and “positive,” not a lot of dark moodiness or ambient soundscapes. Interestingly enough, it’s some of Kit’s old bandmates supporting Waybright here: Rick Kennell (bass and orchestrations), Stan Whitaker (guitar), and Ron Riddle (drums), with Gary Blu (flute and horn melodies) and Gerardo Velez (congas and timbales on a couple tracks). Overall, Beauty Gone Wild is nothing short of superb, and there is plenty herewithin to satisfy the tastes of even the most discriminating progressive rock listener. Highly recommended.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 19, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Stan Whitaker, Leah Waybright

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