Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

MOSTLY AUTUMN

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mostly Autumn picture
Mostly Autumn biography
Fine progressive rock band who really should be in the Premier League, but are probably quite happy as an archetypal cottage industry


Mostly Autumn were formed in York in 1995, their roots stemming from local gigging outfits mainly playing Pink Floyd covers.

Most bios on this site tend to include, rightly, discussions regarding line-up changes, the loss and replacements of personnel with varying importance, and the impact upon said act. With Mostly Autumn, such a discussion would simply take up far too much space, would probably be incomplete, and, ultimately, of little value. Suffice to say that, since the beginning, there have been numerous line-ups of the band, but all revolve around the man whose vision the band was, and is, namely Bryan JOSH, guitarist, vocalist, lyricist. Indeed, when celebrated lead vocalist, Heather FINDLAY, left the band in 2010 to concentrate on a solo career, and new family, she said in an interview with Prog magazine, without a trace of rancour, that the band's driving force and leader, to whom all centred, was Josh. Of the original line-up, only keyboardist Iain JENNINGS remains with Josh. It should be noted that, very sadly, original rhythm guitarist, and mainstay of the band to 2014, Liam Davison died in 2017.

In terms of the history of the band, a pertinent point to make about the ever-changing line-ups is that they appear to have been wholly achieved without any ill feelings on all parties' sides; indeed, many who have left have returned as part of the revolving door, this in stark contrast to the act to whom they are usually most likened, one Pink Floyd, of which more below. They have variously been compared to Floyd, Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Blackmore's Night, Camel, Renaissance, and a myriad of other progressive, folk, Celtic rock, and rock acts. In truth, they are a band whose music encompasses all these influences without ever sounding like anything other than Mostly Autumn. They are unique.

The Floyd connection was, in fact, promoted heavily in 2004/05 by then record label, Classic Rock Productions, with the release of a live album & DVD entitled Pink Floyd Revisited, which featured a side of Autumn live tracks, and a side of Floyd covers. The promotion came on the ba...
read more

MOSTLY AUTUMN forum topics / tours, shows & news


MOSTLY AUTUMN forum topics Create a topic now
MOSTLY AUTUMN tours, shows & news Post an entries now

MOSTLY AUTUMN Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all MOSTLY AUTUMN videos (7) | Search and add more videos to MOSTLY AUTUMN

Buy MOSTLY AUTUMN Music



More places to buy MOSTLY AUTUMN music online

MOSTLY AUTUMN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.52 | 144 ratings
For All We Shared
1999
3.76 | 170 ratings
The Spirit of Autumn Past
1999
3.94 | 243 ratings
The Last Bright Light
2001
3.19 | 107 ratings
Music Inspired by The Lord of the Rings
2001
3.73 | 159 ratings
Passengers
2003
3.54 | 142 ratings
Storms over Still Water
2005
3.48 | 123 ratings
Heart Full of Sky
2006
3.43 | 129 ratings
Glass Shadows
2008
3.49 | 128 ratings
Go Well Diamond Heart
2010
3.69 | 135 ratings
The Ghost Moon Orchestra
2012
3.85 | 203 ratings
Dressed in Voices
2014
3.85 | 160 ratings
Sight of Day
2017
3.96 | 161 ratings
White Rainbow
2018
4.13 | 104 ratings
Graveyard Star
2021

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

4.10 | 37 ratings
The Story So Far
2001
2.84 | 19 ratings
Fiddler's Shindig (Live Serie's So Far)
2003
3.86 | 18 ratings
Live in the USA (Live Serie's So Far)
2003
3.34 | 17 ratings
Live at the Canterbury Fayre
2003
2.82 | 42 ratings
Pink Floyd Revisited
2004
4.33 | 18 ratings
Live at the Grand Opera House
2004
4.00 | 11 ratings
The V Shows
2005
3.29 | 16 ratings
Storms over London Town
2006
3.46 | 16 ratings
Live 2009 - Part I
2009
4.16 | 18 ratings
Live 2009 - Part II
2009
4.18 | 31 ratings
That Night in Leamington
2011
4.06 | 13 ratings
Still Beautiful - Live 2011
2011
3.18 | 14 ratings
Live at High Voltage 2011
2011
4.50 | 18 ratings
Live at the Boerderij
2013
4.38 | 8 ratings
Box of Tears
2015

MOSTLY AUTUMN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.85 | 27 ratings
The Story So Far...
2001
3.55 | 11 ratings
The Next Chapter
2003
4.24 | 20 ratings
Live at the Grand Opera House
2003
3.66 | 24 ratings
The 'V' Shows
2004
2.99 | 25 ratings
Pink Floyd Revisited
2005
3.44 | 9 ratings
The Fiddler's Shindig
2005
4.08 | 17 ratings
That Night In Leamington
2010
4.31 | 13 ratings
Live At the Boerderij
2013

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

4.04 | 16 ratings
Heroes Never Die -The Anthology
2002
4.46 | 40 ratings
Catch the Spirit - The Complete Anthology
2002
4.66 | 34 ratings
Pass the Clock
2009

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

3.16 | 6 ratings
Prints in the Stone
2001
2.03 | 10 ratings
Spirits of Christmas Past
2005
3.67 | 3 ratings
Mostly Autumn Acoustic - The Genesis Revisited Tour 2014
2015

MOSTLY AUTUMN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Music Inspired by The Lord of the Rings by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.19 | 107 ratings

BUY
Music Inspired by The Lord of the Rings
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 557

"Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" is the fourth studio album of Mostly Autumn and was released in 2001. In contrary as its name indicates, the music of the album wasn't inspired by "The Lord Of The Rings", the book of the famous trilogy of J. R. R. Tolkien, but it was based because of the first film of the Trilogy cycle, "The Fellowship Of The Ring", when it was filmed and announced. Curiously, the recording of the album took only a fortnight to be recorded.

The line up on the album is Bryan Josh (lead and backing vocals, lead and rhythm guitars), Heather Findlay (lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitars, tambourine, bodhran and recorders), Iain Jennings (keyboards), Liam Davison (rhythm, acoustic guitars and slide guitars), Angela Goldthorpe (backing vocals, flute and recorders), Andy Smith (bass guitars) and Jonathan Blackmore (drums). The album had also the participation of Duncan Ryson (keyboards and programming), Marcus Bousefield (violin), Marissa Claughan (cello) and Che (djembe), who were invited as guests.

"The Lord Of The Rings" is an oeuvre very well known all over the world. It's an epic novel divided into three volumes which was written by the English writer and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's also fantasy novel "The Hobbit", but developed into a much larger scale. The novel was even more immortalised by the three epic films directed by Peter Jackson, "The Fellowship Of The Ring", "The Two Towers" and "The Return Of The King".

Relatively to the album, the least we can say is that this is truly an unexpected album, which was what Mostly Autumn called it. They said that "The Lord Of The Rings" has long been a source of inspiration to them. The general idea was to present a whole set of songs based around the literary work. But, the most interesting and impressive thing was that Mostly Autumn made the album only in fourteen days in order to coincide with the world premiere of the first film of the series. So, and as the band wrote, this album is the final result of fourteen days and nights in November 2001. But as they said, it was never intended to be their fourth studio album but only wanted to be a tribute to a great literary work.

"Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" is somehow a bit different of their three previous albums. Here we are in the medieval era with great flavours. All kind of instrumentation confirms that. The music is really great and the sound is more epic, sounding like a big performance. The guitars are more electric and powerful, the wind instruments are here a great element and also the percussion. This is a powerful and spectacular presentation of their much known formulas.

"Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" has twelve tracks. The compositions are all different of each other. We find huge instrumental pieces mixed with soft and acoustic vocal ones. "Overture - Forge Of Sauron" opens the album powerfully and very dark. It's a great epic piece with a prog structure. "The Sauron" theme, which occurs several times, is introduced here. "Greenwood The Great (Shadowy Glades)" starts off rather folksy and then it kicks into high gear with loud guitars and drums. "Goodbye Alone" is a calm and melancholic piece, with a good instrumentation and nice guitar solo at the end. "Out Of The Inn" has a nice medieval environment, starting out light and airy and then lurches into an increasing sounding rocker. "On The Wings Of Gwaihir" is an instrumental that follows a steadily repeated riff, but works through several key changes to keep it interesting. "At Last To Rivendell" keeps its Celtic flavor throughout, even as its tempo hastens. It's almost a pure short and sweet folk music. "Journey's Thought" has a meditative mood and is another calm and sweet piece that rambles a bit, but maybe that's the point. "Caradhras The Cruel" is a bit short, but is a powerful song with a strong guitar, and it's very well arranged. "The Riders Of Rohan" is an uplifting and joyful rolling piano melody, sung in a friendly voice by Heather Findlay. "Lothlorien" is very delicately played and sung and despite its strong lyrics it's one of the most subtle tracks on the album. "The Return Of The King" is one of the most spectacular pieces on the album with a powerful guitar power chord sequence. "To The Grey Havens" is an acoustic and beautiful ballad. It's just a little bit sad, but the guitar and sparse violin confirm that this is a good end to the album.

Conclusion: "Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" is an excellent album. I enjoy it very much. It's a big surprise due to many of the things I've read on Progarchives. Recording an album only in fourteen days includes many risks such as repeating melodies, some inconsistency and music with low quality level. But, Mostly Autumn hasn't fall too deeply into those problems, really. This was largely compensated by some stunning tracks like "Overture ? Forge Of Sauron", "Out Of The Inn", "At Last To Rivendell", "Lothlorien" and "The Return Of The King". By the other hand, I don't agree with those who say that "Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" is an album too much inspired in Pink Floyd's music. Besides, I can't see anything wrong with that and I sincerely think that no harm can come to the world because of that. So and concluding, "Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" is an excellent Mostly Autumn's album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Last Bright Light by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.94 | 243 ratings

BUY
The Last Bright Light
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review N 541

"The Last Bright Light" is the third studio album of Mostly Autumn and was released in 2001. This is their first album to feature drummer Jonathan Blackmore and bassist Andy Smith. It's also the only Mostly Autumn album where Angela Goldthorpe has a writing credit song. So, the line up on the album is Bryan Josh (lead and backing vocals, lead, rhythm, acoustic and 12 string guitars), Heather Findlay (lead and backing vocals, bodhran, tambourine and bells), Iain Jennings (backing vocals, Hammond organ, synthesizers and keyboards), Liam Davison (lead vocals, acoustic, slide and 12 string guitars), Angela Goldthorpe (backing vocals, flute and recorders), Andy Smith (bass guitars) and Jonathan Blackmore (drums). It has also the participation of Troy Donockley (low whistles), Albert Dannenmann (backing vocals, recorders, crumhorn, rauschpfeife, hummelden and gaita), Marissa Claughan (cello) and Mark Atkinson, Janine Atkinson, Graham Hodge, Nicole Smith and Tabitha Buck (backing vocals), all as guest musicians.

"The Last Bright Light" has thirteen tracks. The first track "?Just Moving On" written by Josh is a very short track and an original and interesting way to open the album, a kind of a short reprise of the end of their previous album "The Spirit Of Autumn Past". The second track "We Come And We Go" written by Josh is a soft and powerful acoustic and mellow ballad so characteristic of Mostly Autumn. It's an extremely beautiful song with a catchy melody, with reach and perfect vocal harmonies and a fine guitar work. The third track "Half The Mountain" written by Josh is another true extremely beautiful song. This is another brilliant song with some beautiful instrumental passages, great guitar work and powerful vocal parts. It's a very touching song where once more Josh writes about the death of his father what had happened on the band's debut album "For All We Shared", whom that album was dedicated. The fourth track "The Eyes Of The Forest" written by Josh and Findlay is a pastoral song very sweet and delicate with the wonderful and beautiful voice of Heather very well backed by the flute of Angela. The fifth track "The Dark Before The Dawn" written by Josh, Jennings and Faulds is another great track of the album. It's a different song with a dark atmosphere and an impressive musical ambient that changes from the rock to the folk and from the dark to the light. The voice of Bryan Josh reminds me the voice of Steve Hackett in the dark parts. The sixth track "Hollow" written by Jennings makes a good contrast with the previous song. Once again we have the clear and beautiful voice of Heather in a beautiful ballad that begins as a quiet piece of music, but that grows on a crescendo and with a great guitar work added to it. The seventh track "Prints In The Stone" written by Josh and Davison is a very sweet and nice short song, made in the style of Strawbs and with a little touch of Pink Floyd. The eighth track is the title track "The last Bright Light" and was written by Josh. This is clearly a song written in a true Pink Floyd's style. This is another brilliant and fantastic track full of a great and dense musical atmosphere especially provided by the choral work and with multi musical passages. The ninth track "Never The Rainbow" written by Findlay and Jennings is a great faster rock song with a nice, and memorable catchy tune, nicely sung by Heather and with a magnificent guitar work by Josh. The tenth track "Shrinking Violet" written by Josh and Findlay is a wonderful and beautiful ballad once more superiorly sung by Heather and with a fantastic choral work on the back and a superb guitar performance by Josh. The eleventh track "Helms Deep" written by Josh is a great instrumental track and once more we are in presence of another great track. This time we are in presence of a folk song very well made and with Celtic influences in the same vein of some of the songs written on the two previous albums, which reminds me Genesis mainly due to the keyboard work. The twelfth track "Which Wood?" written by Goldthorpe is a very short and another nice and pleasant folk song to hear with a beautiful flute work. The thirteenth and last track "Mother Nature" written by Josh represents my first contact with Mostly Autumn and is clearly the great masterpiece of the album. This is the lengthiest song on it, is very complex and very progressive with a true unique magnificent work by all band's members. It represents the greatest epic ever of the band and is a must for any progressive lover, indeed.

Conclusion: I've no problem in saying that "The Last Bright Light" is the best studio album from the band and the only masterpiece produced by Mostly Autumn, until now. This is a perfect album without weak points and where finally the group can do a perfect fusion between folk and prog, and where finally Josh gave for the first time to Heather Findlay the necessary freedom to sing as she knows to do so well. "The Last Bright Light" is a brilliant piece of music where its music flows perfectly and wonderfully throughout the whole album. The music of Mostly Autumn is a fantastic mix of styles. The group creates a progressive music focused on the songs and adding to them some elements than make their work very rich musically. In my opinion, it remains as one of the most important and refreshing works of our times.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Spirit of Autumn Past by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.76 | 170 ratings

BUY
The Spirit of Autumn Past
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 529

"The Spirit Of Autumn Past" is the second studio album of Mostly Autumn and, like their debut "For All We Shared", it was also released in 1999. It's their only album to feature drummer Rob McNeil and their last album to feature violinist Bob Faulds and bassist Stuart Carver. It was also the first Mostly Autumn's album to feature multi- instrumentalist Troy Donockley as a guest musician, what would become common because he has after guested on many of their albums since. By the other hand, it was the first album of the band to feature Angela Goldthorpe as a full member of the group.

So, the line up on "The Spirit Of Autumn Past" is Bryan Josh (lead and backing vocals, lead, rhythm, acoustic and 12 string guitars and E-Bow), Heather Findlay (lead and backing vocals, acoustic and 12 string guitars, bodhran and tambourine), Iain Jennings (backing vocals, Hammond organ and keyboards), Liam Davison (backing vocals, rhythm, acoustic, slide and 12 string guitars), Angela Goldthorpe (flute, high and low whistles), Bob Faulds (violins and 5 string zeta violin), Stuart Carver (bass guitar) and Rob McNeil (drums). "The Spirit Of Autumn Past" has also the participation of Troy Donockley (Uilleann pipes) and Marissa Claughan (cello), as guest musicians.

"The Spirit Of Autumn Past" has thirteen tracks. The first track "Winter Mountain" written by B. Josh and R. Josh is a great and stunning opener for the album. This is a great driving hard rock song with a symphonic touch, an excellent riff and great guitar and keyboard works. The second track "This Great Blue Pearl" written by Josh is a nice and beautiful song with catchy chorus and Pink Floyd harmonies. It's a very slow ballad introduced by Hammond organ and with a nice guitar riff that features a superb guitar solo in Gilmour's vein. The third track "Pieces Of Love" written by Josh is a mellow ballad that shows the other face of the band. Fortunately, here we can hear the beautiful voice of Heather Findlay, which isn't the case on many times during the entire album. The fourth track "Please" written by Josh, Findlay and Jennings is another great song. It's a song with some powerful vocal harmonies, a great guitar work and a nice keyboard performance too. The fifth track "Evergreen" written by Josh and Findlay is one of the lengthiest songs on the album, and is one of the highlights of it too. It has all the ingredients of a true Mostly Autumn's track, strong and beautiful vocal harmonies, a slightly rockier tempo, the guitar style of David Gilmour and above all the unmistakable beautiful voice of Heather Findlay. The sixth track "Styhead Tarn" written by Josh is a song very different from the rest of the album. Despite being a nice and pleasant song to hear, it's a weaker song compared to the others songs, so far. The seventh track "Shindig" written by Faulds is the first true folk track on the album and represents a nice, rare and good musical moment on it. The absence of songs like this was possibly the main reason why Bob Faulds leave the band. The eighth track "Blakey Ridge/When Waters Meet" written by Josh and Faulds, despite be another good and nice song, represents the third consecutive less good song on the album. It's a very short instrumental track with nothing special to note. The ninth track "Underneath The Ice (Troubled Dreams)" written by Josh is another song with a strong appeal to David Gilmour's fans. Once more and despite be another good song it became a little bit repetitive and boring too. The tenth track "Through The Window" written by Josh is a song in the same vein of the previous song and is especially centred on Bryan's voice and acoustic guitar. The eleventh and twelfth tracks are the title track song "The Spirit Of The Autumn Past ? Part 1 and Part 2" written by Josh, Findlay and Jennings. It's the return to the high quality level of the most of the album. They're about nine minutes long and they must be heard together. This is the highlight of the album, a track with a wonderful vocal harmony and chorus, which represents one of the best pieces ever made by Mostly Autumn. The thirteenth and last track "The Gap Is Too Wide" written by Jennings is another brilliant piece of music. The beautiful voice of Heather and the fantastic guitar performance of Josh are absolutely brilliant and deserve be heard properly. "The Spirit Of The Autumn Past" and "The Gap Is Too Wide" are two brilliant endings to the album.

Conclusion: "The Spirit Of Autumn Past" represents another great and surprising album of Mostly Autumn. It was made in the same vein of their previous debut album "For All We Shared". Sincerely, I'm not sure which of the two albums I like most. In my humble opinion, on "For All We Shared" the music is purest and simplest and the final result was a very cohesive album despite the different musical influences on it. On "The Spirit Of The Autumn Past" the music is more mature and more complex, and despite being musically more compact, it's a less cohesive album because some lower quality of some of its tracks. The best tracks on the album are undoubtedly "Winter Mountain", "Please", "Evergreen" and especially "The Spirit Of Autumn Past" and "The Gap Is Too Wide". Anyway, I really think that "The Spirit Of Autumn Past" and "For All We Shared" must be listen together as a complement of each other as I like to do.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 For All We Shared by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.52 | 144 ratings

BUY
For All We Shared
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 513

"For All We Shared" is the debut studio album of Mostly Autumn and was released in 1999. With this album the band created a great debut with Pink Floyd and Celtic influences, although both influences are quite well separated here.

"For All We Shared" is the only Mostly Autumn album to feature Allan Scott on drums and Kev Gibbons on whistles. So, the line up on the album is Bryan Josh (lead and backing vocals, lead, rhythm, acoustic and 12 string guitars and E-Bow), Heather Findlay (lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitars and tambourine) who had replaced the founding band's member Heidi Widdop, Iain Jennings (backing vocals and keyboards), Liam Davison (backing vocals and rhythm, acoustic and 12 string guitars), Bob Faulds (violins), Kev Gibbons (high and low whistles), Stuart Carver (bass guitars) and Allan Scott (drums). It has also the participation of Angela Goldthorpe (flutes) and Ch (djembe), as guests.

"For All We Shared" has ten tracks. The first track "Nowhere To Hide (Close My Eyes)" written by Josh and Findley is a nice and beautiful song with a very catchy chorus that works perfectly as a great opener to the album. It's a very good song with an excellent composition a nice guitar work and great vocal harmonies. The second track "Porcupine Rain" written by Josh, Findlay and Jennings follows perfectly and smoothly the same vein and mood of the first track. It's another excellent and very strong track with great emotional singing. This is a song with great melody and very strong harmonies that flows wonderfully all over the song. The third track "The Last Climb" written by Josh is clearly the first Floydian's track created by Mostly Autumn. Once more we are in presence of a great track with a very good tune and a great feeling. It's a very melancholic song with a long instrumental introduction that features great violin work and a great guitar solo in the Gilmour's vein. This is clearly a song that shows perfectly the musical influence of Pink Floyd in Mostly Autumn. The fourth track "Heroes Never Die" written by Josh and Rayson is simply the best song on the album and represents one of their best compositions. It's clearly the great epic track on the album and is a song with the same similar musical structure as the previous song. This is a tremendous track with a great and sumptuous finale especially provided by the great finale guitar solo of Josh. The fifth track "Folklore" is a traditional song arranged by Faulds, Josh and Jennings. It's the first truly folk track on the album and represents a nice and good musical moment on it. We may say that the song has two different musical influences, the Celtic influence and the symphonic prog influence. The sixth track "Boundeless Ocean" written by Josh and Jennings is a very nice and quiet piece of music magnificently sung by Josh and Findlay. It represents another side of the band, the side of the ballads. It isn't as good as the rest of the album, until now, but represents a competent and relaxing musical moment on the album. The seventh track "Shenanigans" written by Faulds is another track with a folk instrumental tune. It's another nice and beautiful song, very well played and totally instrumental and with a very strong traditional Celtic sound with a driving rhythm and a happy mood. The eighth track "Steal Away" written by Josh is another nice and beautiful track. However, if the other tracks on the album were dominated by a male voice, this time we have the particularity of being totally sung by the beautiful voice of Findlay. This is a song with an excellent melody that represents the second mellow musical moment on the album. The ninth track "Out Of The Inn" written by Josh is a song that opens with a dialogue part followed by a woodwind solo with the percussion and acoustic guitar on the back. It's another excellent track that begins with a very traditional music style but where the music continues changing and progressively flows to a great rock tune with a truly stunning electric guitar work, really. The tenth track "The Night Sky" written by Josh is the lengthiest track on the album and represents another epic piece. Once more the presence of Pink Floyd is particularly noted. It's a very powerful song that is also at the same time very calm and beautiful. The song starts with a mellow part with nice vocal parts that flows nicely and gracefully to a great and dense musical ambience. This is a fantastic way to close this excellent and interesting album.

Conclusion: Mostly Autumn is a very interesting band, really. Their music is a mix of Pink Floyd and Celtic music with some very nice harmonies. They can combine perfectly well the rich Celtic traditional music with the grandeur of the classic symphonic prog of the 70's, with a strong Pink Floyd's influence. This became perfectly clear since this debut studio album. "For All We Shared" is, in my humble opinion, an excellent and surprising debut studio album. It's one of the most beautiful albums I've ever heard, especially the lengthiest tracks "The Last Climb", "Heroes Never Die", "Out Of The Inn" and "The Night Sky". That made of Mostly Autumn one of my favourite progressive rock bands in our days. The purity and simplicity of their music made that "For All We Shared" became as one of my favourite albums from the band, with "The Spirit Of Autumn Past", "Heart Full Of Sky" and particularly "The Last Bright Light". This is not to lose.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Last Bright Light by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.94 | 243 ratings

BUY
The Last Bright Light
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This right here is where Mostly Autumn start to lose me. The Last Bright Light basically continues the general Floyd- meets-Tull folk-prog approach of the first two Mostly Autumn albums, but whereas their first album (For All We Shared) at least had a bit of novelty going for it and their second album (The Spirit of Autumn Past) found their sound becoming better-honed, here they seem to be merely treading water - and, worse, repeating old mistakes.

My biggest issue here are the vocals. Now, don't get me wrong, Heather Findlay is a fine vocalist - in fact, she's one of the band's best assets in my opinion. The major problem here is Bryan Josh who'd be better off taking the advice in the title of that old Zappa all-instrumental boxed set: "Shut Up 'N' Play Yer Guitar". I don't say that to be nasty, but it's pretty undeniable that of the two main lead vocalists in the band Heather is simply streets ahead of Bryan when it comes to having an engaging singing voice. When his vocals are set next to Heather's, Bryan's deliver cannot help but sound mundane, dull, and generic, the sort of thing any minor league Floyd cover group or indie rock group could muster without too much effort.

As it stands, there's too many instances on here of Josh singing songs which could have quite happily been handled by Heather, which is rather irritating - take We Come and We Go, which could be a much more uplifting song had it been sung by Heather, but with Bryan on vocals the chorus ends up drab and dirge-like.

Musically speaking, it feels like Mostly Autumn do not make much in the way of musical progress here compared to the preceding album. Occasionally they attempt to step out of their rut - The Dark Before the Dawn opens with a more electronic section than is normal for them, and it's quite good (for a Bryan-fronted song), though it feels like in the concluding section the more folkish instruments Angela Goldthorpe's flute are rather buried in the mix under the more conventional rock instruments. as though the mix were being done with half an eye to smuggling the less commercially- friendly aspects of the band in under the radar rather than giving them their due prominence.

Between this and a rather saccharine, mawkishly insipid thrust to much of the lyrical themes, The Last Bright Light is, so far as I'm concerned, the first red flag - a sign that perhaps my aesthetic tastes and what they are going for with their music might in the long run become incompatible.

 The Spirit of Autumn Past by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.76 | 170 ratings

BUY
The Spirit of Autumn Past
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Mostly Autumn's second album largely follows the lead of the first, with perhaps somewhat tighter songwriting and the departure of Kev Gibbons giving Angela Goldthorpe a chance to step up from guest musician to full band member, with her flute and whistle contributions as significant to the texture as Heather Findlay's vocals (which also seem to be called on a bit more than on the debut). Musically speaking, we're still dealing with a blend of neo-prog melodicism, folk influences and instrumentation, and a touch of Pink Floyd, though the Floyd angle is perhaps less overtly leaned on this time around as Mostly Autumn seem somewhat confident in being their own band with their own sound and leave their origins as a Floyd tribute act behind them.

Some of the earlier songs, more straightforward songs take a bit of getting used to, but closing epic The Gap Is Too Wide is lovely. By and large, I'd say that the album is more or less on the same standard as the debut, with perhaps a touch more polish and confidence.

 For All We Shared by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.52 | 144 ratings

BUY
For All We Shared
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Mostly Autumn came onto the scene combining an outward folk aesthetic and some folk trappings (acoustic guitar, whistles, tambourine) with a musical sound rooted in Pink Floyd-influenced neo-prog. (There are moments when the folk side of things comes more to the fore - the track Folklore is a prime example - but these are comparatively rare, and even Folklore as a prog-ish breakdown partway through its runtime.) Call it neo-prog folk if you will - either way, on this debut album it's a sound that's rather fresh, since the Steeleye Span-play-Pink Floyd approach allows them to sound distinctly different.

Most modern prog groups with unabashed 1970s influences and a desire to inject folk into the mix would be expected to rather follow the lead of Jethro Tull and Renaissance, and whilst you can discern traces of those flavours here, the harmonies and the keyboards really suggest Floyd more than anything else - but Pink Floyd themselves never quite leaned into a folk aesthetic to this extent. In this way, they square the circle of wanting to pay homage to their major inspirations whilst also having their own voice, because whilst their music will remind you of a great many bands from the past, only Mostly Autumn quite bring these ingredients together in this way (though I would say that Solstice often came close).

Ultimately, this is solid work, but it's very much laying the foundations for the further development of the band's sound. Call it three stars for a general audience, three and a half stars for listeners especially keen on Floydian prog and who don't mind that the band might not be 100% ready for prime time here.

 Graveyard Star by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.13 | 104 ratings

BUY
Graveyard Star
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

5 stars For a band who were originally well-known for their love of fantasy epics a la Tolkien and early releases which contained more than a few Celtic and Norse mythical references, latter-day releases by this superb York outfit have been well and truly grounded in the real world. Witness the incredible dying moments story of Dressed in Voices and the achingly sad tribute to Liam Davison in White Rainbow.

Now in 2021, we are presented with a paeon to the Coronavirus pandemic in Graveyard Star, and, thankfully, it is not nearly as depressing as that brief description alludes to.

When I reviewed Big Big Train's Common Ground, I remarked that the lurgy track The Strangest Times seemed a wee bit out of place for a band who dealt primarily with English and Classical history. I have grown to like that track over the passing of the months, but, right from the outset, I had no such qualms about this album. Indeed, this album, to me, marks Mostly Autumn, and Bryan Josh as the driving force behind the collective, as one of the finest modern folk outfits the UK has produced, and by folk I do not mean the narrowly defined definition of prog folk on this site, but a genre, a way of making music and producing thoughtful and relevant lyrics grounded in the collective consciousness of a nation. This entire album is one which millions of people can relate to from bitter experience.

The title track (January 2020 in the Covid timeline) bursts into life with a deep and heavy energy. At over 12 minutes long, though, the moods swing, especially in the thoughtful passage which recalls "so much time, so long ago" pre- pandemic. The Josh axe in this passage simply sings out to us, and throughout the vocal interplay between Bryan and his wife Olivia drags us into the shared emotions of the story. In the heavier passages, Henry Rogers blasts his drum kit perfectly in resonance with Andy Smith's bass, and behind all this the sweeping panoramas of Iain Jennings' keyboards. Olivia blasts out the closing section with an energy and force which takes the breath away, and this segues into the distinctly ghostly The Plague Bell, in which Josh tells perfectly of the darkness of the emotions we all felt as lockdown descended on us.

Skin of Mankind is a wonderful track, commencing with what can only be described as a type of rockabilly meets The Shadows guitar riff ? don't be put off by that. I have fond memories of playing the cd for the first time on a journey back from visiting my son, with my wife exclaiming it was "the best she had ever heard MA!" The body of the track has at its heart a delicate and thoughtful vocal by Olivia, who continues to prove that she has a huge range, power to ballad, but always thoughtful and deeply emotional. This track is the first to feature as a guest the wonderful Troy Donockley on his range of wonderful instruments, with some fine violins being provided by Chris Leslie.

Shadows is a more "traditional" MA track, but one which all of us will relate to in its description of not being able to see our loved ones during an enforced absence and its nod to the real heroes of the pandemic, namely the frontline healthcare workers who deliver despite the worst efforts of their leaders. Nobody in modern rock music does a soaring guitar riff better than Josh, and he delivers again here.

The Harder That You Hurt is the first joint writing effort on the album between Olivia & Bryan, and it returns us to the more delicate mood. The lyrics are insightful and knowing, the stronger you are, the weaker you feel, the deeper that you bleed. The track counts the days before getting back on the road. Your breath is taken away with this when Olivia hurls out the final vocal passage, which follows a very introspective guitar solo, a change of mood which can only be described as stunning, and the power of the track at the denouement is incredible. A stunning performance.

Razor Blade is dedicated to the memory of Val & Tracey in May 2020. I am not familiar with the relationship between the band and these individuals, but it was clearly close. This is a beautiful song, dripping with emotion both lamenting lost loved ones and the desire to be able to be free to mourn. Jennings and Josh set the mood perfectly throughout, and just over three minutes in the former produces a keyboard solo which leads into the emotional vocal interplay of Josh & Olivia. The closing passage soars with the collective producing a wondrous symphonic rock noise.

This Endless War is written by Olivia, and it is rather prescient in how we all feel (no matter what our opinions on measures taken against Covid this past couple of years have been) with the dawn of Omicron. When will it all end? Once again, Iain Jennings' work is critical to the feel of this piece with a thoughtful piano chord accompanying Olivia's vocals perfectly at the opening passages. When she and the band once again open the noise in the mid- passage, the emotion comes flooding out ? "you have to let it go!" and as ever, Josh on lead guitar provides us with the lilting riffs enabling Olivia and us to do so.

Spirit of Mankind brings us to January 2021. Jennings ponds out his keys to introduce this heavy track, with the rhythm section adding dark lustre. Bryan's lyrics are extremely knowing again. He is spot on that those dark days of lockdown two brought out both the best of us and the worst of us, your reviewer most definitely included. We do take for granted all the beauty of normality, and when Olivia sings that "you stole our precious time, no chance to say a last goodbye, this ends now" she speaks for all of us.

Back in These Arms brings us to July 2021, so-called (prematurely one fears) "freedom day" in the Johnsonian parlance. This is a love song, but not merely to loved ones, but to a love and zest for life, holding one's mother and watching children playing standing in the sun. The drumbeat is pivotal to moving this track along, and the interplay between all the band members produces a foot-tapping, head-nodding ode to the joy of simply being alive and free. Donockley makes a welcome return with his trademark Celtic pipes (oh, to see Iona back!) before the closing passage frees all the senses in a joyful explosion of emotion.

Free To Fly is co-written by the wonderful Jennings and Bryan. It is a short ballad with more of those delicate piano notes and then soaring synth backing Olivia emotionally singing of the winds of change when we can be free to fly. This is quite simply sumptuous, beautiful.

Chris Johnson who replaced Davison takes the helm in co-writing and providing male vocals for The Diamond. The female (main) lead is taken by the extremely talented flautist and vocalist, longstanding collaborator in the band Angela Gordon, who struck me as being quiet up until now on the album. She provided the lead vocals for my personal favourite of White Rainbow, namely The Undertow. She has a wonderful voice, and, despite my admiration and love for Olivia's vocals, I would like to hear more of her. The denouement of the track is a joy, with Angela pounding out a lead vocal and Josh closing with a mournful guitar.

The album closes with Turn Around Slowly, the longest track at just over 12.5 minutes. As a closing piece on such a work should, it ties up all the strands and themes of the album and does so to powerful effect. Indeed, only Josh and Mostly Autumn can combine so many elements of power and soaring emotion. Witness Gordon's lovely short flute solo to a gentle acoustic guitar before Josh packs a vocal punch to a searing rhythm backing, alongside those pipes accompanying Jennings once again lifting his keys to the sky. The close lyrically takes us to the main theme and is as heavy a piece as you will hear all year.

What an album this is. What I love about this is not only the superb musicianship and production, but the way that the lyrics and themes touch me. This is achieved by the band producing a work which connects on the human, and not the political, level. Not for Mostly Autumn a rant. Instead we have a wonderful album which soars in many places, and comments in foreboding dark keys elsewhere, but never fails to forget that the period it comments upon have had a human impact, something forgotten in all the noise and data one sees, hears, and reads about in the media. That is what I mean by this being a true English Folk album, a work which has at its very heart a human and community led vision.

Five stars for Graveyard Star, one of my top three albums of a mightily impressive year for progressive rock music.

 Graveyard Star by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.13 | 104 ratings

BUY
Graveyard Star
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

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

4 stars MOSTLY AUTUMN has been around for quite a few autumns now having formed all the way back in 1995. That's a total of 26 years and was one of the earliest prog bands to join the revival scene of the 90s although the debut album "For All We Shared" didn't see the light of day until 1998. Still though, that's a long time but the band's sound has remained relatively consistent by fusing prog era Genesis with Pink Floyd space rock all the while adding a bit of Renaissance symphonic prog, Jethro Tull-ish folk and Camel to the mix along with a bit of traditional Celtic folk.

Out of the roughly 24 musicians and vocalists who have come and gone, only guitarist Bryan Josh has remained with the band every step of the way so it's safe to assume that this is his baby and the passion never seems to die as after a quarter of a century MOSTLY AUTUMN seems to be getting better rather than burning out. Here we are in 2021 and MOSTLY AUTUMN is releasing its 14th studio album with the current lineup of vocalist Olivia Sparnenn-Josh, guitarist Chris Johnson, keyboardist Iain Jennings, flautist / keyboardist Angela Gordon, bassist Andy Smith and drummer Henry Rogers.

While the team members may have changed substantially over the decades, MOSTLY AUTUMN has remained true to its unique hybrid of melodic prog that borrows heavily from the 70s bigwigs but has always managed to stand in its own world of melodic prog folk laced with the best influences that the 70s had to offer. Another victim of the 2020 pandemic inconveniences, MOSTLY AUTUMN did what any sensible team of musicians would do and that is to spend the time fine-tuning their craft and taking advantage of the time allotted due to a lack of touring schedules. The result is a beautiful collection of 12 tracks that deliver beautifully vocal led melodies with crescendoing choruses, neo-prog inspired keyboard textures, emotive space rock guitar solos and nice pacing of slower and faster tempos.

This is a lengthy album that clocks in at 75 1/2 minutes! Add to that there is also a limited edition that offers a bonus CD with eight more tracks that add another 41 minutes of playing time! Whoah! I am only reviewing the original 75 minute album since i find that to be a sufficient dose of MOSTLY AUTUMN's unique display of catchy emotive spacey folk prog. This is really one of those bands that delivers everything you expect with no true surprises. There are no twists and turns into avant-prog, death metal or anything fans would cringe upon. This is just sweet and sensual prog folk that offers a bit of rock heft, atmospheric spiciness and excellent instrumentation. Add to that a nice soft production and there's nothing you could really complain about listening to GRAVEYARD STAR which continues the band's classic sounds.

I guess when it comes to bands that deliver albums with such a consistency, you have to be someone who expects more of the same and MOSTLY AUTUMN does just that! What will set this album apart from those that came before is mostly in how much you can relate to the melodies, the compositions and the variations in the instrumentation. Olivia Sparnenn-Josh has never sounded better and it was a wise decision indeed to promote her from backing vocalist to the lead a decade ago however Bryan Josh does offer his vocals as he has done since the beginning with some songs even taking over as the lead as heard on the album's lengthiest track "Turn Around Slowly" which ends a beautiful mostly divinely feminine album in a more masculine manner. I can't say i've kept up with this band's massive canon but if GRAVEYARD STAR is any indication of what to expect i guess i've been missing out!

 Graveyard Star by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.13 | 104 ratings

BUY
Graveyard Star
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Mostly Autumn has the rather unique reputation of a rather sandwich career, starting off with 4 great albums (For All We Shared, The Spirit of Autumn Past , The Last Bright Light and Passengers) winning plenty of fans with a delightful take of epic symphonic prog, liberally spiced with prog-folk tendencies and massive Floydian guitar interventions from band leader Bryan Josh. Together with Heather Findlay's immense voice and Iain Jennings' keyboard work as well as contributing compositions, the band was quite the revelation. A slight decline for the next four releases in terms of inspiration (Storms over Still Water, Heart Full of Sky, Glass Shadows and Go Well Diamond Heart), very good albums but missing that WOW effect. By that last one, Heather Findlay left, and many predicted the end of the band as some deemed her irreplaceable (no one ever is, though). In stepped Olivia Sparnenn who contributed harmony vocals on 'Heart Full of Sky' as well as vocalizing brilliantly on Iain Jennings' offshoot band Breathing Space (arguably as good as Mostly Autumn at the time). Now Findlay has a great voice but Olivia? Holy molly! When she took over the main microphone duties on 'The Ghost Moon Orchestra' album, two important things happened to the band: the quality of the songs improved noticeable, and Olivia really raised the bar from her previous debut on 'Go Well', literally elevating the songs to immense heights. The second aspect is that she and leader Bryan Josh fell in love, always a great source of inspiration, which undoubtedly led to the subsequent 4 albums (Dressed in Voices, Sight of Day, White Rainbow and the new masterpiece Graveyard Star) to be viewed as an upward vortex of ever improving quality and presentation. Not surprisingly, profound inspiration came from the purest emanations of humanity: love, the untimely passing of long-time member Liam Davison, which explains the sorrowful feel of White Rainbow and the Covid-19 pandemic that has forced many of us into contemplating our entitlement.

In the forced lockdown, the band had the smarts to hunt down one of Britain's premier drummers and one of my true favourites Henry Rogers, who had graced many albums by Final Conflict, Deeexpus, Touchstone, Shineback, Edison's Children, Heather Findlay solo (well, well), Cairo, Alan Reed, Mark Kelly's Marathon and John Holden. He is a superlative talent, not just technically brilliant but has the uncanny ability to thump hard when needed. Comparisons to the incredible Paul Thompson of Roxy Music fame I had previously mentioned in other reviews remains quite the compliment, Henry being a resolute drummer's drummer. "Graveyard Star" is quite the well of material as the single album edition clocks in at nearly 76 minutes, while the 2cd version adds another 41 minutes! I have the single version and, it simply has blown me away on first listen. Not everyone in Progland is as incurable romantic as yours truly, as I am a sucker for heartfelt emotion, sweeping melodies and gut-wrenching atmospheres but even the most rigidly technical prog fan will succumb to the beauty on display here, as this amazing album is a very strong contender for album of the year or maybe of the last decade.

From the opening grim symphonics announcing the imminent bunker lifestyle we have all endured, the tone is set for some serious melodic moments, with both husband and wife exchanging whisperingly aching vocals, the electronic keyboards painting a dreaded future and in comes Henry with a binary beat as the track takes shape, Olivia revving her lungs in anticipation. And when she starts belting out the plaintive lament, doing her best version of Ann Wilson of Heart, and if this leaves you unaffected, you are not normal! A patented Josh guitar rant is followed by a suddenly gentle and raspy Josh vocal dueling with Olivia's heavenly interference. Another fluid guitar run raises the hairs, dripping and gripping with unabashed emotion (yeah, he loves Gilmour, who doesn't?). Rogers beats this one mercilessly into the horizon, Olivia forcing the golden buzzer, hitting the notes with masterful control.

There are a plenty of stylistic variations as the sombre 'The Plague Bell', the Sergio Leone-inspired 'Skin of Mankind' and the classic rocker 'Shadows'. 'The Harder That You Hurt' is a killer ballad, typical of other past examples that made Olivia Sparnenn such a talent on those Breathing Space albums, her voice being a thing of beauty, perfectly modulated, pitch-perfect and devastatingly stunning. A succulent bluesy guitar flick of the wrist is just what the doctor ordered as the level rises to incredible heights, sweeping synths and organ in tow, as Henry thumps along. Right behind is another epic marvel, 'Razor Blade'. Incarnation of beauty, forlorn sadness, and an almost mystical atmosphere full of restraint and yet, immense pain waiting to explode. The drums, the synths and the guitar are all holding back until the arrangement gets raunchier and angrier. Olivia seizes the moment and unleashes a vocal for the ages, a what a voice finale!

Can this ride keep on giving, you ask? Yes, and in fact, it even has the balls to raise the bar even higher! 'This Endless War' sounds like a classic prog tune right from the very first listen, grabbing the listener by the heart and squeezing tight, never letting go. It brought me literally to tears, as intense a performance you will not hear in a long time. Gorgeous and overwhelming are the 2 words that come to mind. When Josh lets it rip on his white Fender Stratocaster, it screams, it howls, it cries, flush with utter pain and desolation. If by this time you are not slain, well get yourself tested!

The shorter 'Spirit of Mankind' is a rocker very much in the vein of classic anthemic rock songs, except Olivia sings like a tornado wanting to be a hurricane (try imitating her voice, good luck). Rogers bashes boldly as only he can, propelling this piece effortlessly. A welcome diversion from all the previous emotions and as such, works perfectly. Another dense track with the initially moody 'Back in These Arms', a keyboard intro with electronic atmosphere but truly inspired musically (the backing string synths are delicious). When the drums kick in and the arrangement takes shape, the emotions get ratcheted up to a potent main riff that sticks like the finest epoxy, Josh can bellow convincingly but when the wife adds her grain of salt, clearing the board, here comes the convincing 'let it go' as that Celtic riff just keeps hammering away at the brain nodes, a bruising Andy Smith bass pushing things along forcefully. Superb build up and ends up as a classic anthem for the ages. Oh my, such pleasure!

A moment of reflective calm, 'Free to Fly' is a sweet piano/vocal duet that proves that simplicity can be the purest form of elegance, a heartfelt piece of shimmering loveliness, showing Olivia's ability to do the fragile thingy. An amazing talent ?. A serious challenge to Annie Haslam for the greatest female prog vocalist of all-time. 'The Diamond' is a remarkable change of style and pace, a highly modern take quite far from classic prog, perhaps closer to an indie option, that nevertheless showcases the band's immense talent, compositionally, creatively, and instrumentally. Angela is all over this one, showcasing her own range and her conviction factor, raising this to a paroxysm of feelings. Very upturned eyebrows.

One more, please! The epic 12 minute + 'Turn Around Slowly' uses a patient intro that exudes their recent confidence, a male vocal centrepiece, current social commentary on patience and a whopping axe solo, aided by a pulsating rhythm on both bass and drums, shoving this one along. A gentle bridge with some Genesis-like acoustic guitar/flute interplay veers this again in another direction (as the title implies) before going back to the male gruff vocal, heavy riffing and Celtic tinge. and then a rockier reprise of 'Spirit of Mankind', with heavier symphonics and a marshalling beat, Celtic flutes aglow in the night. As the ever-mounting tension increases (hello guitars), Olivia reprises her massive vocal onslaught but this time even faster, harder, higher and crazier. Sheer genius.

Ridiculous masterpiece, the number of times I giggled nervously at the sheer brilliance of their music, which I do when intimidated by talent. The second time through, I was in shredded tatters. This happens very rarely.

5 cemetery solar fires

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Lazland (w/ Quinino help) for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.