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Echolyn - Cowboy Poems Free CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.85 | 187 ratings

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Dan Bobrowski
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Echolyn disintegrated soon after the Sony debacle and As The World failed to catapult the band to the big leagues. The members went their own ways, Brett Kull, Ray Weston and Paul Ramsey formed Still and Chris Buzby created Finneus Gauge with his brother, John. Chris and Brett, after a few years apart, contacted each other and began talking of getting together and writing some music. They did and at length put together ten tunes, called on Ray and Paul and added Jordan Perlson on percussives and reformed the Echolyn machine.

On Cowboy Poems Free, Buzby reduces the synth heaviness of earlier recordings and relies more heavily on piano and organ for a more immediate and live feel. This album is a "grower." The more you listen, the more you get trapped by the wonderful melodies and warm, heartfelt lyrics. The lyrics for CPF come from various stages of American History. The depression era (Human Lottery, Texas Dust ), WWII (67 Degrees, Too Late for Everything and Brittany) the 50/60's (Grey Flannel Suits, Swinging the Ax). The melodies are strong and will get stuck in your head. This has to be Echolyn's most melodic accomplishment.

Musically the biggest difference between CPF and the previous efforts is bassist Tom Hyatt's absence. Ray Weston handles the bass chores well, but he's not as complex as Hyatt. Believe me when I say, you'll hardly notice. The songs are strong enough that you won't miss that component. The addition of Perlson (Buzby's Berkley student) on conga's (mainly) adds another facet to the sound, more airy and breathable. Buzby's keyboard work really shines, not flashy, but more live and energetic. Vocally, Kull and Weston are so "on the mark" and fresh sounding. They never sound forced, as they do on some tunes from the early days. They've matured and wrote vocals lines more suited to their distinct ranges.

The "stand out" tracks for me are; Grey Flannel Suits, Brittany, 67 Degrees and Swinging the Ax. I've played some of these for non-prog music fans with good results.

You can go to Echolyn's website and download some zip files from each disc and put together a good sampler. You'll find that the tunes representing Cowboy Poems Free are among their strongest. Some of the CPF tracks are also featured on the live DVD "Stars and Gardens."

Dan Bobrowski | 4/5 |


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