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Johannes Luley

Crossover Prog

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Johannes Luley Tales From Sheepfather's Grove album cover
3.74 | 89 ratings | 10 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stab the Sea (part 1) (2:58)
2. Stab the Sea (part 2) (5:00)
3. Guardians of Time (4:18)
4. Moments (3:18)
5. Give and Take (part 1) (4:03)
6. Give and Take (part 2) (3:01)
7. The Fleeting World (3:44)
8. We Are One (4:24)
9. Atheos Spiritualis (10:03)
10. Voya (3:53)

Total time 44:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Johannes Luley / vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, bass, bodhrán, ukulele, banjo, cuatro, keyboards, percussion, composer, choral & orchestral arrangements, production & mixing

- Kristina Sattler / harmony vocals (3)
- Sianna Lyons / chanting vocals (1,2,9)
- Robin Hathaway / lead (9) & harmony (1,2) vocals
- Stephanie Bennett / concert harp

Releases information

Artwork: Harout Demirchyan

CD My Sonic Temple ‎- MST1302 (2013, US)

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JOHANNES LULEY Tales From Sheepfather's Grove ratings distribution

(89 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

JOHANNES LULEY Tales From Sheepfather's Grove reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
5 stars In December I heard from Moth Vellum founder and guitarist Johannes Luley who asked if I would be interested in hearing his new solo album. A short while later and I was staring at the incredible artwork from Harout Demirchyan and I felt that I had been transported back to the Seventies ' but would the music pass the test? Well, I had nothing to worry about on that score. Johannes provides all of the instruments himself (apart from a concert harp played by Stephanie Bennett) and uses three singers, Robin Hathaway, Kristina Sattler and Sianna Lyons, and the result is nothing short of stunning.

It is as if Jon Anderson has again joined with Vangelis, but without the wall of keyboards, and instead it feels much more 'real' and containing lots of space and depth. In many ways it is extremely complex, yet comes across in a simple manner. It is not music that can be played in the background as it may just disappear, but greatly rewards those who have the time to spare just to listen to the music as an end in itself. Electric guitar is used for emphasis as opposed to always being a central pillar, with plenty of room for mandolin and acoustic instruments. Instead of programmed drums or even a normal drumkit, Johannes has instead opted for handheld percussion which gives a very different feel to the norm and this builds to a climax in 'Give and Take'.

This is one of the most beautiful prog albums I have ever had the pleasure to listen to, and I am sure that when 2013 comes to a close that this will be on many people's Top 10's. I know it will be on mine.

Review by Warthur
3 stars On Tales From Sheepfather's Grove, Johannes Luley offers up a range of melodic light-prog numbers spiced up a little here and there by moments reminiscent of the folkier turns of Mike Oldfield. It's a slickly produced and enjoyable album, though at points it meanders and loses my attention, so the compositions could probably do with tightening up a bit. Still, if you are fond of Luley's work in Moth Vellum then you could do a lot worse than giving this a try, and the mildly New Agey vibe that worms its way into some of the more minimalistic moments on the album is admittedly interesting.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This one is tough to give a rating to because it sounds SO MUCH like a few other albums/artists (JON ANDERSON's Olias of Sunhillow, ENYA, MIKE OLDFIELD, and YES/STEVE HOWE) and yet it has such great sound, compositional facility and production.

Favorite songs: I like the acoustic guitar work on 7. "The Fleeting World" (8/10) and the first and last thirds of 3. "Guardians of Time" (8/10); 6. the ADIEMUS-like multiple drum rhythms and the deep bass chord pulse on "Give and Take (Part 2)" (8/10); and the lead guitar on the album's best song, 10. "Voya" (9/10), sounds EXACTLY like mid-70s Steve Howe, start to finish, note for note, sound/style for sound/style!

This is a solid four star album, maybe even higher, despite the familiarity. It's because, IMO, Luley has taken the sounds, styles and feeling of the above-mentioned artists, merged them, and produced music that is BETTER than the original artists. Though I love and miss MOTH VELLUM, it is nice to hear music still coming from at least one of its members. Also: Cool artwork on the album cover.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars Last week I received a private message from Johannes Luley in the Prog Archives Forums asking me to listen to his album, so I did it. Although Johannes Luley doesn't give very much detailed information about himself in his personal website, in his Soundcloud website or in his Facebook page (other than he is from Los Angeles and that played in a Progressive Rock band called Moth Vellum before recording this solo CD), I think that his music has a lot of influence from European Progressive Rock music and even some New Age and Folk music influences (influences are inevitable), particularly from artists like Steve Howe (in some of his guitar playing), Jon Anderson's solo music, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis (in the use of some keyboards atmospheres and percussion instruments and patterns), and Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips (in some guitar playing techniques and atmospheric sounds). He plays all the instruments and sings all the male vocals and he is a good singer. Among the instruments he played in this album are a lot of guitars (mainly acoustic), some keyboards and some percussion instruments, with the exception of a harp which is played by Stephanie Bennett. I think that he is mainly a guitarist but he plays very well the other instruments he uses in this album, although the keyboard sounds are used more for the creation of sound atmospheres and moods, even making the listener to imagine that he is playing his music in a forest because he uses some 'wind sounds' in the background. There are some singers (Robin Hathaway, Kristina Sattler, and Sianna Lyons) who sing very well, mostly doing backing vocals. Some of the backing vocals arrangements are influenced by Mike Oldfield and Jon Anderson, in my opinion. In general, the music is very melodic and atmospheric, and very optimistic in content. I can't say if this album is a conceptual album or not, because I'm not a native English language speaker, and I couldn't find the lyrics in his websites. Anyway, this album is very good, with 'happy moods' most of the time. It is very well recorded and mixed, and with a lot of sound variations and track transitions which work very well as a whole. I think that this album was done very professionally and maybe it took him a lot of time to plan it and to make it. The cover design is well done, and it really reflects the style of the music which the CD contains.
Review by FragileKings
4 stars I'll admit that "Olias of Sunhillow" has never really grabbed me. I love Yes and I love Jon Anderson in Yes. But "Olias", for all its wonder and creativity and vision, as of yet still hits the target only near the edge for me. Now Johannes Luley's bands Moth Vellum and Perfect Beings I really like. So without knowing much about "Tales from Sheepfather's Grove" I reckoned that I would probably like this album, too.

I read the CD notes first. Johannes had an old cuarto, and hatched the concept of an album on which he would play almost every instrument. Because he's not a drummer, Johannes decided to forgo the drums and use only percussion. One look at the impressive list of instruments and you can imagine the effort and no doubt joy that went into creating the music, music entirely by his own design because Johannes has his own studio. He receives assistance from only a few select guests such as Stephanie Bennett on concert harp and female vocals by Sianna Lyons, Robin Hathaway and Kristina Sattler.

Now with Johannes handling nearly all of the instrumentation (various stringed instruments, synthesizer, percussion) and supplying his own vocals which are soft and high like Jon Anderson, the "Olias of Sunhillow" comparisons become apparent right from the first track "Stab the Sea". But though I said I haven't warmed up to Jon Anderson's solo classic, I quickly took to "Tales from Sheepfather's Grove". There are some distinctly important reasons why.

First of all, the state of the art modern recording techniques capture Johannes' music with such warmth and richness that each instrument is clear and present. I find "Olias" lacks that warmth and sounds a little flat though that may be because the CD version I have predates modern remastering techniques. Maybe Steven Wilson should have a go at it.

Another thing is that even though Jon Anderson is a brilliant creator of musical concepts and a wonderful vocalist and persona, he is not a gifted musician in particular. That doesn't mean that he didn't do a stellar job on "Olias"; he most certainly did in that respect. But Johannes is a very talented musician and indeed a multi-instrumentalist.

It didn't take long before I completely forgot about the Olias comparisons and simply came under the spell of the music of "Tales from Sheepfather's Grove". Others have pointed out similarities to Steve Howe and Jon Anderson / Vangelis collaborations as well as Enya. The soft, relaxing and meditative atmosphere of the album also reminds me a little of Devin Townsend's "Ghost". "Tales" however is a shorter album, wrapping up in around 44 minutes, making it an easy album to absorb and actually seemingly over too soon.

Johannes Luley has created an immensely pleasurable collection of acoustic songs with electric instruments added only for atmosphere, colour, and, as one reviewer on the Net put it, the icing on the cake. The melodies are beautiful and positive or mysterious and mystical or even cinematic. A special mention goes to the first part of "Give and Take" with the harp. The music is just so beautiful that I must say for me this is a moment where music's arrow has struck the bullseye of my soul. I immediately think of a few deep souls with whom I would love to share this.

If you can appreciate this kind of music, I highly recommend it if you haven't heard it already. It's not complex and tricky prog. Sweeping and transcendental would be more accurate terms to describe it.

Now I think I should go back to "Olias of Sunhillow" and give it more attention.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars My bad. 7 years ago Johannes Luley asked me to review his new album, then I totally forgot about it. Now, reading back my inbox I've found his request, and luckily his album is still available on soundcloud so I've had the possibility of listening to it and wirte this review, just "a bit late". While the Moth Vellum debut sounded like a Genesis tribute, this one has a lot of connections with one of my favorite albums. It's derivative, and it may be considered a bad thing, but Jon Anderson has never been able to repeat himself at the level of his masterpiece Olias Of Sunhillow. Johannes Luley, instead, has created what may be considedred a follow-up to the Anderson's masterpiece.

It features percussions ,bells high pitched vocals, choirs, almost all the ingredients of Olias, but has something that Jon doesn't have; classical guitar skills. In this sense, Guardians Of Time is an excellent track which takes some distance from Olias. The vocal harmonies of Kristina Sattler and Luley in the first part are replaced by a relaxing instrumental part.

The 12 strings guitar on Moments sounds a bit more closer to the Rabin's period of YES with a little touch of Parallels from Going for The One. So if you like YES, why not giving this album a try? Also the sleeve design is clearly reminding to them. It's clear that Luley wanted deliberately to sound this way. If this was the purpose, he totally succeded. Give and Take is clearly divided in two distonct parts: the first solar, with the guitar sounding like Howe, the second darker based on percussion and more in the vein of Olias.

It's not Mood For A Day, but the acoustic guitar played like a classical is one of the typical Howe's things. Luley does the job very well, and the melody is consistent, not just a guitar exercize.

We Are One: let'ìs joke a bit: with Anderson you are two. If I didn't know what I'm litening to, I would guess that there's a Jon Anderson's album I hven't listened to yet...

Atheos Spiritualis is Latin, and as many may have guessed, it means spiritualistic Atheist. It's mainly a bolero without the crescendo and the repetitivity of the famous Ravel's one, neither as the Abbadon's by EL&P. It has a classical feeling and is based on major chords. It reminds me to Rossini. at least until percussion, vocals and steel guitar bring us back to Olias' world. The third part of this track is darker and, probably because I have Anderson in mind, I recall Kitaro's Dream. The keyboard here sounds like Vangelis, that's another artist that I personally like a lot.

Voya is the closer. It's another song in some ways mimic of Anderson and Howe, but I think to hear some "external" influences: in some passages I hear the influence of Simon and Garfunkel. Not too strange if you think to the YES debut.

So, it's a good album. Derivative, but probably it's what the artist wanted to do. Again, my bad. 7 years for a review of less than 600 words. Apologies to the artist for my delay.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Johannes Luley is an American multi-instrumentalist best known for his guitar work. He was a key part of MOTH VELLUM and PERFECT BEINGS and he also has a solo career. Who knew? "Tales From Sheepfather's Grove" is his first solo work released in 2013. The cover art certainly suits the stories and mood of this album. Very pastoral, folky, symphonic and Oldfield did come to mind a couple of times.

Luley does it all here except for several guest vocalists mostly providing harmonies and a harpist. Yes harp. There's a couple of tracks that I really do not like especially "The Fleeting World" but mostly this is pleasant and enjoyable. Luley has a higher pitched voice usually singing softly. One thing I loved about this record is that despite being so light there's this dark section of atmosphere on "Atheos Spiritualis" the longest piece at 10 minutes. For the final several minutes nothing but atmosphere pretty much and some whispers.

I like the start of "We Are One" with the wind blowing then the banjo comes in hot, okay not really but it's banjo! We get piano and organ on this album as well but acoustic guitar leads the way for the most part. There's a couple of songs with sections where the percussion gives us a sense of travelling. A nice recording that would appeal I think more to followers of folk as well as to those Oldfield fans out there.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Is this a groundbreaking album? A Must record in your collection? Of course not, but It is a pleasant one nevertheless, the one You hear in the evening by yourself and with a tall glass of lemonade to quench your thirst. It is a cross between the folk side of MIke Oldfield and the sound of Jon An ... (read more)

Report this review (#1707689) | Posted by steelyhead | Monday, April 3, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Sometimes I have problems with new music, when it just feels new, not new with the meaning innovate, but new as an opposite to the music I like. This music does not have that problem, not at all friends. Johannes Luley has done a (partially) lovely album with soft glittering landscapes with ec ... (read more)

Report this review (#1051919) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, October 2, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Johannes Luley was the guitarist of Moth Vellum. This is a nice album, big surprise for me! Much of the album is lush and pastoral in nature. Luley plays on all instruments, except the harp. Lead vocal handled by Luley, saved for some female backing vocals. The first one, two part track "The Sta ... (read more)

Report this review (#931814) | Posted by fluiddruid | Sunday, March 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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