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MADRIGAL

Crossover Prog • United States


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Madrigal biography
Fans of vintage progressive rock at its most daunting and sublime (GENTLE GIANT, YES) may want to lend an ear to this MADRIGAL. Released in 1988, "Waiting." featured what essentially amounted to a trio of Stephen Dornbirer (guitars), Kevin Dodson (drums, vocals) and Don Caron (keyboards). The followup ("On My Hands") was a long time coming, and featured a full-time band that now included sax/flute player Chuck Swanson. Complex melodies, arpeggiated guitars, polyphony and counterpoint can be found in various amounts on both releases.

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MADRIGAL discography


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MADRIGAL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.12 | 11 ratings
Waiting....
1988
3.78 | 27 ratings
On My Hands
1996

MADRIGAL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MADRIGAL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MADRIGAL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
1988-1996 A Compilation Waiting... On My Hands
2012

MADRIGAL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MADRIGAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Waiting....  by MADRIGAL album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.12 | 11 ratings

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Waiting....
Madrigal Crossover Prog

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

4 stars When you think of progressive rock in the 80s you would probably immediately think of the British neo-prog scene blossoming with bands like Marillion, Pallas, IQ and Twelfth Night or you may even think of some of the RIO bands that emerged in the late 70s and carried on to the 80s like Univers Zero, Present, Art Zoyd and a few zeuhl bands from France and Belgium however there was a few artists that sprang up in the US as well. While the main contenders fall into the avant-prog camp such as Thinking Plague, The Muffins and Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, there were also some early crossover acts that prognosticated some of the sounds that would emerge in the 90s and beyond.

This US band named MADRIGAL picked the wrong time to form in 1977 when two teenagers Keven Dobson aged 18 and Dave Cebert aged 15 began this band in the city of Spokane, Washington. MADRIGAL began and would remain the sole project of Dobson who was immensely inspired by Deep Purple's keyboard sound by the late great Jon Lord and other 70s progressive rock which was a rarity in the US outback during the day but nevertheless found a few nerdy customers seeking out all those crazy sounds from overseas. Initially MADRIGAL simply covered the big bands of prog such as Genesis, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Yes and even pseudo-prog bands like Ambrosia.

Considering the band formed the very same year the punk rock scene completely changed the musical landscape, the MADRIGAL project was swimming upstream from the very beginning but nevertheless toured the Pacific Northwest in both the US and Canada in the late 70s but sadly despite writing a lot of material and recording a bunch of it never got a chance to release an album. It didn't help that the band name MADRIGAL was already taken by a UK folk band, a Canadian psychedelic pop band, another US experimental rock band and even in the prog world was taken by a French band. Facing a bleak future MADRIGAL ended in 1980 but changed its name to UVU and played period covers until 1986.

With only Kevin Dobson carrying the torch along with guitarist Steve Dornbier by his side, MADRIGAL reformed in the late 80s and finally released its first album WAITING in 1989 which took a lot of the influences of the aforementioned bands and crafted a rather interesting blend of prog that sounds like it was a few years ahead of similarly sounding band such as Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings and even Echolyn. WAITING is a very symphonic sort of prog album although its composiitons are catchy enough for crossover appeal but the complex melodies exhibit a quirky off-kilter procession with equally unorthodox counterpoints that include arpeggiated guitar runs evoking Gentle Giant and equally demanding vocal polyphony. The symphonic compositional style reminds a lot of bands like Kansas and even Yes with flute and pastoral segments reminding of Genesis but overall MADRIGAL sounds like the 90s bands before they existed.

Given that this album consists of eight tracks from over a decade's worth of material to work with, there are myriad musicians appearing on different tracks but amazingly the album sounds rather consistent due to Dodson's leadership role in the project. Perhaps the one weak spot on WAITING is the oft mopey vocal style Dodson displays but somehow despite sounding like a prototype of Neal Morse makes it all fit in fairly well. The highlights of this album are the longer tracks like "Best Laid Plans" and "Old Moon" which have the time to explore the world of symphonic prog in much greater depth. The album ends with the surprising track which features the classic 20s ragtime sounds of "Skinbo Hambone" which is a fun little track that despite sounding completely out of sync with the rest of the album is pretty freaking cool. This is an interesting obscurity from the 80s world of prog. WAITING appears with the second album "On My Hands" in its entirety on the MUSEA compilation that was released in 2012.

 On My Hands  by MADRIGAL album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.78 | 27 ratings

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On My Hands
Madrigal Crossover Prog

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

4 stars MADRIGAL began all the way back in 1977 as a prog cover band just as punk rock was wiping prog off the map but led by the fiery determine of mainman Kevin Dodson, this Spokane, Washington band relentless toured for a few years before calling it quits. During those years up to 1980, Dodson wrote a lot of original material but never managed to release it as an album at least until 1989 after the band reformed and saw the debut 'Waiting' come out in 1989. By this time the band had a completely different lineup with only Dodson remaining as an original member but the more mature version of MADRIGAL had finally come into fruition and was actually in the forefront of a new kind of symphonic prog that took a lot of what Kansas and Yes were offering in the 70s and steering more into the direction of what bands like Spock's Beard, Echolyn and Flower Kings would sound like.

The band continued after 'Waiting' and after finding a home on MUSEA records even found some success in Europe as the prog revival of the 90s was underway but the band broke up once again for good in 1995 but once again an album was released after the fact this time in the form of the sophomore release ON MY HANDS which continued the symphonic prog style of the debut and made an even stronger album. The best apart about ON MY HANDS is Kevin Dodson had significantly improved and while the album is not as quirky as the debut, it makes up for that with stronger tight-knit compositions that are right out of the neo-prog playbook. With heavy emphasis on strong melodic grooves provided by the bass, the atmospheric keyboards provide sophisticated counterpoints. ON MY HANDS also has a jazzier presence with Chuck Swanson providing saxophone and other horn sounds in addition to flutes.

ON MY HANDS has honed it commercial sound much better than its predecessor. While 'Waiting' relied on quirky off-kilter rhythmic drives along with unpredictable time signature deviations, this one is clearly more focused on expanding the potentials of the melodies. While the symphonic prog of characteristic of Kansas and Yes are clearly in play, this album actually sounds more like an early version of Spock's Beard if you ask me. Gone are the lengthy prog workouts and the tracks are shorter and to the point with only the title track extending over 7 minutes. Tracks like 'Castings' sound much more out of the Genesis playbook with thick atmospheres, slow plodding rhythms and a pastoral acoustic presence before breaking into a heavier rock bravado.

Perhaps not as unique as the debut but nevertheless MADRIGAL delivered a beautiful crossover prog album that sits somewhere between the mellowest sounds of neo-prog and the symphonic prog revival of the 90s from the aforementioned bands. The production is better as well. ON MY HANDS appears together with the debut 'Waiting' on the MUSEA compilation "1988-1996 A Compilation Waiting... On My Hands" which also offers three bonus tracks. Basically the debut will offer more quirky prog outbursts for those who crave those while this second album is more focused on strong melodic performances with less prog workouts. The vocals are much better on this one however it does lose a bit of the unique charm that made MADRIGAL standout from the pack on 'Waiting.' Still though, this is a woefully disregarded band that deserves more recognition.

 On My Hands  by MADRIGAL album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.78 | 27 ratings

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On My Hands
Madrigal Crossover Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Madrigal (not to be confused with countless bands with same name) was an obscure progressive rock band from USA with only two albums relased and then gone into oblivion. In my opinion this band is very unnoticed in prog circles. Their music is inspired, complicated with many memorable passages and has some quite intresting arrangements on both albums. The first album Waiting from 1989 is quite hard to find but the second can be found on CD here and there and definetly worth purchasing. With nods towards Yes, Happy the Man, Gentle Giant Madrigal definetly worth to be investigated. The music has everything a prog rock album must have, complex passages, nice guitar moments, polyphony in Gnetle Gian manner and a very fine voice that just goes hand in hand with the music. All 8 pieces stand as great to me so for that reson 4 star easy, underrated album.

 Waiting....  by MADRIGAL album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.12 | 11 ratings

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Waiting....
Madrigal Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Fantastic obscure US Prog band,formed in 1977 in Spokane by teenagers Kevin Dodson and Dave Cebert.MADRIGAL toured extensively in Northern US and Canada,playing both covers and original compositions,but never had the chance to record an official album.So they reasonably disbanded in early 80's.However they came back in late 80's with only Kevin Dodson from the original members and recorded their debut ''Waiting''.

The sound of the album is an absolute surprise considering the time of its release,strong GENTLE GIANT influences all the way with some lighter KANSAS overtones.The result is so close to another unknown band,TERRACED GARDEN or even ECHOLYN and SPOCK'S BEARD without commercial traces.The vocal department is excellent,no matter the band delivers multi- or mono-vocal harmonies.A variety of keys,piano and synths along with the changing climates and sudden breaks produces the atmosphere only GENTLE GIANT could create.Guitars alternate constantly from acoustic to electric with a bit of banjo on some tracks.Some strings and flute doses make the album even richer.Complexity,atmosphere and melody combine almost perfectly in every track.

It is certainly a crime this band is so overlooked.In late 80's you could find plenty of Jazz Rock albums,some Symphonic or Classic Prog works but definitely not such an eclectic effort.MADRIGAL belong from today among my favorite all-time bands and their debut comes more than highly recommended by my side.

 On My Hands  by MADRIGAL album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.78 | 27 ratings

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On My Hands
Madrigal Crossover Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars In her second albun of studio "On my Hands" the band North American MADRIGAL, presents a work, that if it is not of the same level of her previous work "Waiting", nevertheless it presents an original plenty sound that mixes influence of bands as YES, GENESIS (era Gabriel), GENTLE GIANT & QUEEN. However in this disk the great difference for her predecessor, is that the way to interlace the different themes or passages that it composes certain music is less complicated , these combinations happen in a more linear way than in "Waiting." I detach in this disk two excellent tracks that are "Shout Out" and the title track "On my Hands" both exceptional ones that and which receive a quotation of 5 stars and making the average with the remaining of my disk myrate is 4 stars!!!
 Waiting....  by MADRIGAL album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.12 | 11 ratings

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Waiting....
Madrigal Crossover Prog

Review by maryes

5 stars Madrigal "Waiting" is (in my opinion) one of the best prog albuns of the late 80"s, and fairly superior to next albun("On My Hands") from this North-American band. The styke of sound is a mixture of bands of the 70's like, Gentle Giant and Queen (mainly) and pinchs of Yes, Rush and King Crinsom. The GENTLE GIANT influences is present in the alternate of "swinging" pasages and vocal counterpoints. The QUEEN influences are in some theatrical choir vocalizations.( like in the firs track "Siter Happy"). The RUSH influences be especially in more heavy moments and riffs. (like in track 4 "Experience") The KING CRINSOM style is more emphatic in the track 6 "Jericho". ( I listen cleary Fripp guitar moods). The YES influence is present in guitarrist style ( with a strong( Steve Howe influence, in spite of track 6). Another singularitv in the guitarrist style is the use of acoustic guitar mix with the eletric guitar in almost all tracks. I like to detach the fantastic bass & drums combination, which are in many times surprising. My rate is 5 stars !!!
 On My Hands  by MADRIGAL album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.78 | 27 ratings

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On My Hands
Madrigal Crossover Prog

Review by barp

4 stars A fine progressive album, Out Of My Hands contains some inventive songwriting and inspired playing. Madriga'sl influences may be undeniably apparrent in their music (Gentle Giant, Yes and Gabriel-era genesis in particular) but there is more than enough individuality in the band's arrangements and fine playing to make this something of an undiscovered gem.
 On My Hands  by MADRIGAL album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.78 | 27 ratings

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On My Hands
Madrigal Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Here is an fine example of the challenges involved in Progland! This US band was totally discouraged upon being ignored in 1990 that they gave up and quit only to return in 96 with a new selection of songs , fusing different influences such as Gentle Giant, Echolyn and the guitar phrasings of a Steve Howe.The melodies are neat and varied , the playing is inspired and punchy, certainly not commercial by any stretch (no selling out here) and loaded with some gorgeous sax and flute passages. The vocals are handled by the drummer with hints of Waters, Gramm and Gabriel. Not an essential addition but it does have its merits. Give it a try and see what it does for you. 3 minstrels
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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