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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Fernwood

Arcadia

Review by Gary Hill

Featuring Gayle Ellett of Djam Karet fame, this album would land under that heading based entirely on that connection. The thing is, there is plenty of prog here, too. Yes, this is acoustic based music, played entirely on such instruments. That doesn’t mean it can’t be prog, though. Whatever you call it, though, this is a solid release that works well start to finish.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Bells Spring

There are some great melodies built into this. It has a lot of world music and is rather folk oriented. Still, it has some classical music and a bit of a space rock edge at the same time. There are links to the kind of acoustic stuff Led Zeppelin sometimes did, too.

The Pan Chaser
The first part of this is more reflective and intricate. It works out to a more rocking kind of jam later, though.
Vision At Vasquez Rocks
As much as I liked the first two songs, this is even stronger. It has a definite progressive rock edge. Some of the intricate guitar makes me think of the acoustic stuff from early Genesis. I’m also reminded of Steve Howe a times. Yet, there is world music and psychedelia built into this, too.
Red Hill Trail
There is a bit of blues and some bluegrass here. It’s folk oriented, but there is a lot more going on, too. This is another that’s among the best of the set. Nothing is a huge change, but this just works so well.
The Lost Night
Psychedelia and folk prog seem to merge on this number. It’s another especially stron one. I really love some of the lush arrangements.
Crossing the Divide
Rock, folk and world music merge here. This has some progressive rock elements, particularly in the melding of everything. It’s an energetic and entertaining piece with a real old world sound.
Owens Hideaway
There are some great melodies here. It has some real drama and beauty, too.
Young Mountain Memory
This is more complex than a lot of the stuff here. It’s definitely acoustic based prog. It’s also one of my favorites of the set. It has some of the best musical passages of the whole album. I think I’d recommend this as the song to put forward to get people interested. It’s just so tasty.
After the Big Sky Falls
This shorter piece is quite pretty.
Escape from Sycamore
There is a great driving melody to this. The piece combines psychedelia, folk and more into another effective number. I really love some of the intricacies here.
Winter Way - Canyon
Slower and mellower, this is still quite pretty.
 
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