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Graced Lightning biography
Chicago, Illinois seems to have always had a vibrant music scene, so for the not so prolific artist its nice to have something that will set you apart from the crowd. Now, 40+ years later, Graced Lightning will get to be "the band that released half a record". That's right, in 1975 they literally released an LP with one blank side called The Graced Lightning Side. For all its brevity, Graced Lightning created a quality work of classic eclectic progressive rock with overtones of fusion with a blend of symphonic and folk writing styles. The band would release one other single, The Lard.

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The Lard / Silver Lining
4.05 | 3 ratings
The Graced Lightning Side


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 The Graced Lightning Side by GRACED LIGHTNING album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1975
4.05 | 3 ratings

The Graced Lightning Side
Graced Lightning Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars GRACED LIGHTNING was a progressive and mysterious all-instrumental band that formed in Chicago and existed from 1971 to 1976. The band consisted of Chris Herman (guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar), George Edward (vibraphone, chimes, percussion, voice, drums), Gary Gand (guitar, producer, rhythm guitar, writing, bass guitar) and Joan Burnstein (piano, writing, synthesizer, mandolin, voice) and is notable for releasing a single independent album that had three tracks on side A and a side B that was totally empty, a first as far as i'm aware. I'm surprised that a mere three tracks is all they could muster up in five years however they did release one single, "The Lard / Silver Lining (7")" in 1973.

The one-sided album THE GRACED LIGHTNING SIDE only clocks in at 18 minutes and was recorded in May through June 1975 and released shortly thereafter. The album instantly fell into the category of obscurity and just a quick glimpse on Discogs will reveal that the two copies for sale are 885$ for a very good edition and a whopping 1111$ for the near mint specimen. The album has never seen a reissue and unlikely anyone would be interested in doing so for a mere three tracks. Perhaps these could be tacked on to some various artist compilation though. It's really too bad there isn't more to this album as it's some intricately designed prog that engages in excellent instrumental workouts with a wide variety of tones, timbres and tempos so don't let the uninspiring packaging fool you.

The band had its roots in Deerfield's Village Music Shop where Gary Gand was giving guitar lessons. He had come from a musical family background. Having been impressed by his student Chris Herman, they started a band and began the recruitment process and after meeting Joan Burnstein, they started dating and eventually married. After a few lineup changes they ended up with the crew that recorded these few songs. The band's stated goal was to play original prog inspired by the British influences that included King Crimson, Gentle Giant, ELP and Pink Floyd. The music featured structured melodies and chord patterns that allowed for extended jams which displayed the band member's creativity and excellent interplay. Traces of folk and bluegrass can be heard in the rhythms and cadences especially when the mandolin is used.

Despite a pitiful three song EP existing as its only recording, GRACED LIGHTNING was a respected live act and even landed a gig at the Expo 74 World's Fair in Spokane, WA where they even played alongside Kiss. The tracks were recorded at the Legendary Golden Voice Studios in Pekin, Illinois and the reason why they chose to release a one-sided album was explained that the band wanted to avoid the poor sound quality that resulted from cramming too much material onto a 10-inch EP. In 1976 Herman quite the band and focused on his university studies while Joan and Gary continued to play together in various bands.

This truncated experience delivers three excellent tracks. "Neon Nightmares" is primarily piano based and delivers an expected dark and gloomy array of movements. Despite the band's influences they sounded rather unique. "Land Of The Brain" displays a bluegrass connection with a prominent mandolin performance and is exudes a much lighter feel with jazzy touches and nice transitions from light and fluffy piano driven moments to dirty guitar rock. "The Tot" begins with a wolf howling and then some Native American drumming before developing a knotty mix of heavy prog that exhibits energetic guitar performances and drumming frenzies. This is the heaviest track and hosts the most experimental touches with lots of instrumental workouts and mood shifts. Particularly love the vibraphones. Overall, this EP is short but really good. Not one moment that doesn't work. While i'd never pay hundreds of dollars for it, it's worth checking out on YouTube as it captures that ambitious free spirit of the 70s and then some.

Thanks to tapfret for the artist addition.

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