Sunday, June 2, 2013

Short Retrospective Pt. 1

For anyone that is following us, you know that we've just wrapped up our debut album, Within a Reverie.

I've been reflecting on the grueling journey that first albums are for recording artists, and it caused me to not only try to understand and qualify the end product and the process of creation itself (which will be the topic of another post), but also think about how much an artist develops through the interaction they have with other creative and talented human beings.

So, in the spirit of celebrating that beautiful creative interaction that happens in groups--whatever the specific dynamic--I just wanted to share a bit about the four people besides myself that helped make this album happen, either through literally having a hand in the recording process or being around and active with me before this version of the album was actually undertaken. Since they are all such awesome people, I want to share what they are up to now!

Super-shredder Nick Ford played in Within a Reverie when the group was under another name. A graduate from Berklee School of Music, he was the go-to music theory guru, and ultimate team player. We parted ways a few years ago, but Nick has been very active in other groups. He currently plays and composes with the Minneapolis band Semeron. Check out their new album, Breathing Scarlet. If you're into melodic hard rock with awesome guitar playing, you won't be disappointed. I've played and created music with Nick Ford for many years, and he was a significant part of the group when we were still finding our sound. Check out Semeron on FB or their website here:

Here is Semeron's latest single: "Crusher"

And here's my favorite off their album: "Honalee"

Joe Marx, the vocalist with the powerful yet smooth voice you hear on our debut album has been playing music with me since the beginning. He's a great person, mind-blowing visual artist, and a fantastic and versatile musician. He is currently the singer for the Minneapolis group Agora Forte. In 2011, his group released their debut album Monuments, and they are currently entrenched in crafting their sophomore project. If you like progressive rock, you will love these guys. Their songs "Ghost Town" and "The Last Goodbye" are easily two of my favorite songs ever, but the album is full of amazing tunes. They are on FB, so check them out! It's great music and you can hear Joe Marx wail in a totally different context.

A groovy Agora Forte song: "Pain"

And a newer one from Agora Forte: "Mary After Midnight"

As a side note, (I know I've posted this before...) here is a video of the Within a Reverie song "Not a Word for the Way You Left Me pt. I & II" that was recorded with Nick Ford from Semeron and Joe Marx (and Jesse Lang) from Agora Forte:

Thom Kinney is a bassist that played with us until 2009. He is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet and he brought a totally different set of musical insights into the group. While his name doesn't appear in the writing credits of the songs on Within a Reverie, he helped keep the group solid and focused while he was with us, and you will get to hear (at least) 3 songs that he co-wrote on our upcoming projects. For a time, he also played with Beller, a Minneapolis-based contemporary folk/country/alt rock group.

A great Beller tune:

Andy Hector--the PERCUSSION MONSTER on Within a Reverie--has been here since day 1. He is such a versatile player. Interestingly, he was the original drummer for Agora Forte, but has since parted ways. His distinct style is part of the energy and heaviness that defines Within a Reverie, and his grooves are, in my opinion, groovier than most (in whatever music he plays). In addition to Within a Reverie and Agora Forte, Andy also played drums in the punk rock group RumPunch. Although no longer active, RumPunch was easily the most creative punk group that I've heard, and this was largely due to the diverse grooves Andy melded with the overall punk sound. I only wish there was some artifacts from their time together on YouTube or Facebook, because I'd embed the crap out of that stuff!

I could literally write a short book about all the things I like about his phrasing, dynamic control, and love of half-time grooves, but instead I'll just share a couple songs that showcase my favorite recordings of Andy's playing:

1. Andy playing "Ghost Town" with Agora Forte

2. Andy playing "Wish Away" with Within a Reverie

So, to conclude, I just want to say that I am truly blessed to have been able to not only work with some of my best friends, but also such talented people. I will be trying to thank them in every way that I can, but if you'd like to help, check out their awesome music!

When I find the time, I'd like to add to this retrospective with things that are actually more retrospective than just sharing music, so I can discuss the process, challenges, and fun of creating our first album Within a Reverie. Until then, stay tuned!