The Aaron Clift Experiment — Lonely Hills
((Not on label) Aaron Clift Productions, 2012, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2015-01-01On October 31 Aaron hand-delivered his CD at my house and I had no idea of what to expect. Needless to say, I was blown away! The Aaron Clift Experiment is another example of Austin’s rapidly growing progressive rock community. The sophistication, orchestration, and composition of Lonely Hills is what you would expect from a seasoned band, not a debut release. Bandleader Aaron Clift is a classically trained musician, working for several years as a classical composer before turning to rock to explore his musical passion — the same route many artists took in progressive rock’s halcyon days of the 70s. Aaron’s training shines through each of the 10 songs on this disc. He knows how to craft beautiful song structures and make judicious use of time, space, and shifting moods, creating a new progressive music for the 21st Century that pays homage to the 70s without being derivative, so much so that I have difficulty identifying touchstones for comparison. Aaron has a beautiful and soothing tenor voice that he skillfully uses to evoke different emotions, more than merely singing a song. I am reminded of Tim Buckley when I hear him sing. And there is some sense of pre- and post- Gabriel Genesis, as well as Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips elements in the music. I am particularly reminded of the chorus at the end of the “Supper’s Ready" section "Apocalypse in 9/8." The other band members, Jim Ragland (guitar), Joe Green (bass), and Joe Resnick (drums), are also academically trained musicians. Songs of particular note are the title track, the exquisite “My Andalusian Love,” “Part 2: The Shell,” and the extremely catchy “Part 3: III High Tide” that could easily be released as a single. This year the band launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund their second album that they will begin recording in 2015. If Lonely Hills is an accurate indicator, their new album will be off the charts!
Related artist(s): Aaron Clift
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more