Mostly Autumn — Dressed in Voices
(AUT0345, 2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-11-19Mostly Autumn has been around since the 90s and released a zillion albums during that time, many of which are documents of live shows in their native England, but this is the first time this writer has had the opportunity to review one of their releases. Indeed, I have never even heard any of their earlier material, though I did witness a very exceptional live show by the band several years ago at BajaProg, and it’s one that I’ve not forgotten. At that time the lead singer was Heather Findlay. Somewhere in the interim, she was replaced by the current lead singer, Olivia Sparnenn-Josh, who carries on the tradition most capably. Guitarist, primary songwriter and de-facto bandleader Bryan Josh also shares vocals throughout the fourteen tracks adding some variety which definitely prevents their sound from becoming samey. The band is rounded out by another guitarist (Liam Davison), keys (Iain Jennings), and a very solid rhythm section of bassist Andy Smith and drummer Alex Cromarty. Anne-Marie Helder (Panic Room) contributes flute and backing voice on the final track, and Troy Donockley contributes bouzouki on the standout “Skin on Skin,” and tin whistle on the follow-up “The House on The Hill,” where B.J. Cole also contributes some beautiful pedal steel, reminding me a bit of some of the country flavored songs from Sandy Denny’s solo canon. But make no mistake, this is a solid prog band with some folk and Celtic influences, but the stronger influences seem to be Waters-era Pink Floyd, Renaissance circa A Song for All Seasons or Azure d’Or (not a lot of the classical piano sounds from the earlier Ren albums), and the listener might more than occasionally be reminded of their contemporaries Iona. Dynamics shift from song to song, from subtly beautiful piano and acoustic guitar driven pieces painted with vocals, to powerful anthems – one could imagine the band on stage in front of a house full of swaying fans with their bic lighters held on high. There’s a lot of variety here, which is what keeps this disc energized and interesting from the first measure to the last. Perhaps it’s time for me to explore their back catalog!
Related artist(s): Mostly Autumn
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more