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CIRRUS BAY

Neo-Prog • United States


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Cirrus Bay biography
US outfit CIRRUS BAY started out as an acoustic duo back in 2001, consisting of Bill Gillham on guitar and Sharra Gallham (now Sharra Acle) on vocals. They performed Bill's compositions live in coffee and sandwich shops, acoustic efforts with sophisticated compositional structures underneath a melodic palette catering to a more mainstream-oriented musical taste.

The duo were, at some point in time, approached by Mark Blasco. He's a drummer and engineer, and besides being fascinated by the duo's musical ventures he also wanted to know if they would like to record their music, offering his services as a drummer if so would be the case.

And while Cirrus Bay still is represented by a duo performing acoustic music, now consisting of Bill and Anisha Gillham, it has also evolved into a band project, at least as far as CD releases are concerned. And in the latter case the music has become much more embellished, closer to the muscial territories explored by acts such as Genesis and Spock's Beard.

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Buy CIRRUS BAY Music


Places UnseenPlaces Unseen
Cirrus Bay
Audio CD$14.99
Slipping of a DaySlipping of a Day
CD Baby 2008
Audio CD$15.61
$109.56 (used)
Step Into ElsewhereStep Into Elsewhere
CD Baby 2009
Audio CD$10.56
$9.95 (used)
Whimsical WeatherWhimsical Weather
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$18.02
$42.00 (used)
Whimsical Weather by Cirrus Bay (2012-07-09)Whimsical Weather by Cirrus Bay (2012-07-09)
CD Baby
Audio CD$14.99
Slipping of a Day by Cirrus Bay (2013-05-04)Slipping of a Day by Cirrus Bay (2013-05-04)
CD Baby
Audio CD$14.99
Search for Joy by CD BabySearch for Joy by CD Baby
CD Baby
Audio CD$14.99
Whimsical Weather by CD BabyWhimsical Weather by CD Baby
CD Baby
Audio CD$52.21
Step Into Elsewhere by CD BabyStep Into Elsewhere by CD Baby
CD Baby
Audio CD$82.74
Search for Joy by Cirrus Bay (2014-03-18)Search for Joy by Cirrus Bay (2014-03-18)
CD Baby
Audio CD$42.95
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CIRRUS BAY has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

CIRRUS BAY discography


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

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

2.88 | 19 ratings
The Slipping of a Day
2008
3.77 | 57 ratings
A Step Into Elsewhere
2009
3.63 | 61 ratings
Whimsical Weather
2012
3.58 | 54 ratings
The Search For Joy
2014
4.20 | 33 ratings
Places Unseen
2016

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

CIRRUS BAY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

CIRRUS BAY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Places Unseen by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.20 | 33 ratings

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Places Unseen
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars Wonderfully, romantic and pastoral music, wich reminds the listener immediately of Renaissance.

The music mostly based upon piano and acoustic guitars augmented by drums, synths, electric guitar, flute and saxophone. Singer Tai Shan is really a gifted vocalist, wich (as said) resembles Annie Haslam (Renaissance).

The music is symphonic rock as we knew it in the seventies; comparisons to Caravan, Genesis, Renaissance, Camel are easily made. The music and vocals really makes the listener dream about lush landscapes and warm summer days. The overall feel is sweet, kind, naive, dreamy and intellectual. When the soloing takes place, you know this is progressive rock, but the soft parts keeps you dreaming and relaxing.

I haven't heard a modern release of this high standard in a long, long time. Really recommended to Renaissance-fans, but any progressive rock fan should try this one out.

 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.58 | 54 ratings

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The Search For Joy
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars This is great suprise.

I've been playing this record for the last few weeks, as a warm up to their new album. The music reminds me of 70's symphonic rock. I find it weird that their music is in the neo-prog section. It doesn't sound as Marillion or Saga or IQ at all.

The music is pastoral and has lots of acoustic moments. Also the female vocals remind me of Renaissance. This is a very good album, although the female vocals are not the best I've heard. It's nowhere near Heart or Renaissance.

As said, the music is very 70's. The production aswell. The guitar is very Steve Howe. The keyboards very Rick Wakeman and the vocals remind of Renaissance. Well that's what this band sound like. The follow up is a better, because the vocals are better

 Places Unseen by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.20 | 33 ratings

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Places Unseen
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by Briaz58

5 stars I received a copy of the latest Cirrus Bay album entitled Places Unseen! It is their 5th venture into the commercial world of music! I will say right up front.....this is my favorite Cirrus Bay effort to date. It is an album that will find a place in your CD player. Cirrus Bay has crafted and polished their progressive sound with Places Unseen. They have a new female singer (Tai Shan) that has a beautiful voice and can bring out the feelings to the music. This album has elements of Genesis, ELP, Bo Hansson, Renaissance and for me even a bit of Jade Warrior to it. While all the tracks on the album are well done....there are some tracks which stand out for me. The first one is First Departure....it is something that I have never heard Cirrus Bay do and they do it well here. It is a progressive rock instrumental track which is one of the best things they have done. It is a strong track that is dynamic and flowing. The second track of note for me is Horseback To Hanssonland.......it is a great tribute to the late Swedish progressive rock musician Bo Hansson. I am sure he would have been pleased with Cirrus Bay's recognition of him. The next song which caught my attention was Boats......Tai Shan sings this song with great feeling and it's very nicely done. Finally the instrumental Second Departure also will send your CD player into repeated listening's. Cirrus Bay has found the right chemistry and formula for this album which will please any progressive rock fan...........Great job.......to Bill Gillham and the Cirrus Bay group!
 Places Unseen by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.20 | 33 ratings

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Places Unseen
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by brotherjohn

5 stars I rarely give an album 5 stars. And in fact, this is the only Cirrus Bay album that I feel is worth the rating. But this album hits all the sweet spots for me. I like the fact that it is about 2/3 instrumental (previously most all my favorite moments of theirs were the instrumental sections). But new vocalist Tai Shan has such a beautiful voice that I actually enjoy the vocal sections just as much. The writing is top notch on this album. The music is a perfect blend of beautiful and complex, and the playing also seems better on this album than previous albums. My favorite is clearly the album's finale, "Second Departure". Wow what a beautiful piece of music. And "Horseback to Hanssonland" is a wonderful tribute to Bo Hansson, capturing the mood of his music very well. "The Sheltering Cove" and the title track are also lovely. The cover artwork is also outstanding, a perfect fit. I can tell this will also be a grower, as usual.
 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.58 | 54 ratings

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The Search For Joy
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

3 stars This is a very pleasant collection of pretty, melodic songs. Usually based in piano or strummed guitar, the songs provide strong foundations for the steady singing of Sharon Acle. There is an undeniable similarity to the music of 1970s prog heroes RENAISSANCE--though the instrumentalists are not as accomplished or as steeped in the traditions of classical music as John Tout or Terry Dunford. I've found this album much more accessible than their previous release, I feel the production is still lagging in the quality that one hears from modern musicians. Most of the time the sound and song stylings and moods evoked by In Search for Joy actually have more similiarity to the "flower child" music of the late 60s and early 70s--bands like America and The Association (and, I have to admit, Stereolab) playing beautiful songs by composers like Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach, Todd Rundgren or Gregg Alexander. Listening to In Search for Joy is like taking a leisurely stroll through the park on lovely summer day. My beef with Cirrus Bay is that, in my opinion, the band has still not yet realized its tremendous potential. All of the musicians are playing it too safe, too straight and narrow, not enough adventurousness and craziness. This is more a like a search for Joy when instead they've stumbled into a permanent state of bliss. Sharon has a beautiful voice--so peaceful and calming. Bill writes very catchy melodies with supportive chord progressions and his keyboard and guitar play is competent. The drumming is solid but metronomic. But where is the vim and vigor, risk and reckless abandon that makes one reach the high joys of ecstasy?

A very nice 3.5 star album that I'm rating down for unrealized potential.

 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.58 | 54 ratings

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The Search For Joy
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The Search For Joy, the fourth release by American outfit, Cirrus Bay is, if you believe the ratings and reviews given thus far, a masterpiece of progressive rock. Indispensable. Right up there in the list of incredible albums released in not just 2014, but all time.

This is why, I believe, our ratings and review system here on Prog Archives really needs to be taken with a massive pinch of salt, and why, also, people who frequent this place for some time tend to filter in and out their "trusted reviewers" when deciding whether to part with hard earned cash for a new slab of music.

I have broken with my normal rule for reviewing this one, my normal rule being that I have either purchased an album, or been provided with a copy by the band to review. I am listening to this via Bandcamp as I write.

So, I went to said site, expecting to have my mind blown away. It is safe for you, dear reader, to assume from my tone that I will not be parting with the $7USD price asked for there on that venerable location.

Does that mean this is an appalling work? Well, no. It is just nowhere as good as those (obvious) friends of the band who have taken the time to rate and review would have us believe.

The music is a clear attempt to provide the atmosphere and structure of pastoral Genesis and Renaissance. Anisha Norflet, who provides the bulk of lead vocals, has a pleasant enough voice, if slightly monotone in parts. Project founder Bill Gillham can clearly play his varying guitars, keys, wind, and string, but, the electric guitars especially, leave me rather cold. It is just not particularly original, with Hackett and Howe flashes especially abounding. Likewise, one man rhythm section, Mark Blasco, can play, but not in such a manner as to make me sit up and take notice. There is a viola in there, apparently, but is rather lost in the mix, I am afraid, for most of the proceedings.

Also, I rather loathe it when a band tries to be just that little bit TOO clever, with a change in tempo or key simply to prove one's prog credentials. A good case in point here is A Door Into Yesterday, a track which started off as a very pleasing instrumental, but, half way in, has the most horrendous change from symphonic pastures to appalling, jazzy, noodlings. Quite what was being thought of here is beyond me, because I really rather liked the start (and the very end, a reprise of what came at the start).

There is, of course, another key to masterpiece. Without an exceptionally produced work, I cannot see for the life of me how a listening experience can be anything but a slight disappointment. In this case, it is more than slight, because the production is simply not that good.

The Search For Joy is a pleasant enough way to spend an hour idling away at home whilst the other half watches some tv, but an essential listening experience? Sorry, no.

Whilst I hate to be disparaging to any act we have here, and Cirrus Joy are most certainly an honest and earnest act, I cannot award this as anything more than an album which would appeal to those who simply must own all of this type of music. There is, of course, quite a bit of it out there, so deep pockets will be required.

 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.58 | 54 ratings

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The Search For Joy
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by Briaz5000

5 stars Cirrus Bay has been commercially around since 2008 when they released their first album The Slipping Of A Day. I was a guest vocalist on that debut album.

We last heard from this progressive rock band in 2012 with the release of Whimsical Weather. Their music is best summed up as a cross between perhaps the Bands Genesis and Renaissance. Genesis for the musical style and Renaissance since after their first album Cirrus Bay went to completely female vocalists. I have known Cirrus Bay's front man Bill Gillham for many years. His roots into progressive rock go deep. So I am happy to review Cirrus Bay's latest offering entitled The Search For Joy. This is their 4th album release and it is a strong one at that. There are 8 tracks on this CD and they come to over 63 minutes of progressive music. The whole album is recorded and produced very well. Cirrus Bay has come a long way since their first debut album.

The Search For Joy has a number of tracks on it that to me really capture the Cirrus Bay sound. Among these tracks the first one that really caught my attention was Song Of The Wind. It is sweeping and has lots of feeling and is quite intricate. Anisha Norflet does the lead vocals for most of the songs on this album and does a nice job. Another track which I really like on this release is Me And Wokara. It has at least to me a somewhat Genesis feel to it. Cirrus Bay included a viola on this track which was something different and a nice surprise. Overall it's a great song. Track 7 is another song which took me by surprise. The August Zone is breathy and light. Sharra Acle does the lead vocals on this track. I also really liked the lyrics to this song.

Cirrus Bay had some guests included with this new release. Phil Mercy and Amy Darby from the British band Thieves Kitchen make an appearance on The Search For Joy. With this fourth album Cirrus Bay really have come into their own on the progressive rock stage. They are a band that offers something fresh and new in the progressive rock style of music. Hopefully we will see more of them in the years to come.

Sincerely Alex Brighenti

 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.58 | 54 ratings

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The Search For Joy
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by deedee

5 stars Bill Gillham takes his sound to the next level on 'The Search For Joy', the fourth and strongest cd to date in the Cirrus Bay catalogue. 'Search' features 8 strong tracks, all with their own identity, with lots of variation not only from song to song, but also within each song, all but two of which surpass 7 and a half minutes. Its an album of second halves, as the first half of most of the songs build the groundwork for a superior 2nd half. The album as a whole also has a stronger second half, and each song sounds new and fresh compared to the previous track. 'Song of the Wind' opens the album, and though it is far from the best song on the album, it works very well as an opener, upbeat, with hints of both Yes and The Sundays, Yes in the chordings and slide guitar work, Sundays in the feel, and of course, female vocals. The instrumental sections later in the song are pretty glorious, making me think of riding a horse on a beautiful summer morning. The third song, 'Me and Wokara' is completely different, an interesting story involving two Native American girls that hide while their family is murdered by bible-sporting settlers. 'Out of the Box' is a personal favorite. 'Joy was hurt while she was young, forcing her inside. Now she must pay to able to step outside again', begins this song of personality layers. 'Waking Wild' features Amy Darby of 'Thieves' Kitchen', whose singing here is breathtaking, to say the least. This is a song of subtle recurring themes and features a Crimson-esque energetic conclusion. 'Learning To Fly' is probably the best song on the album, firmly rooted in 70s tradition, perhaps most notably Camel. Phil Mercy, also of 'Thieves' Kitchen' adds a dynamic guitar solo to conclude the song. Compared to their previous albums, this one sounds less like 'Wind and Wuthering', and is a bit more dynamic as well as original, with stronger guitar work, and better keyboard sounds. The addition of viola in several tracks also is a plus, and fits well with their sound. For those unfamiliar with Cirrus Bay, their strength is certainly in their strong melodies, complex and often unorthodox chord progressions, and subtle arrangements, for whom this album is a great introduction. Highly recommended!
 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.58 | 54 ratings

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The Search For Joy
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by brotherjohn

4 stars "The Search For Joy" is clearly a beautiful work, with layers and subtleties that require additional listenings. I was amused by the reviewer who was reviewing it as he listened to it for the first time on bandcamp. It took several listens for me to really appreciate the depth and beauty of this album. But I don't think this is an album for everyone. The darkness and dissonance that appeals to many today is found rarely here. This is overall much more of an uplifting album, a bit like Moon Safari or early Flower Kings. I find the music a bit more appealing than either for some reason. I suppose the melodies hit me harder, and though I don't think Bill Gillham plays quite in the league of Roine Stolt, his playing, apart from being less flashy, is certainly tasteful enough, and more importantly, the feeling of the actual music is very strong.

I really do like the viola solos, which I hear in about half the songs, notably 'Out of the Box' and 'A Door Into Yesterday', and these are two of my favorite pieces on the album. The keyboards are lovely too, but what could make the album a bit stronger are the vocals. They are pleasant, but apart from Sharra Acle's gorgeous voice in 'Out of the Box' and guest Amy Darby's voice in 'Waking Wild', are not quite worth 5 stars for me. But the music is very heartfelt and enjoyable for me, and I know I'll get a lot of mileage out of this one.

 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.58 | 54 ratings

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The Search For Joy
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by snelling

5 stars Cirrus Bay returns with their fourth and finest album to date, a significate step up from their last album for a number of reasons. From repeated listens on their bandcamp site, I notice several things right away. First of all, the inclusion of viola in many of the tracks is a wonderful addition, playing many heartwrenching melodies, infusing warmth and an organic feel throughout. The playing in the album's instrumental, 'A Door Into Yesterday' helps make that track an immediate favorite for me, and seems to me to be perhaps the track that I always wished Tony Banks would write. It sounds like something he could do, in a prog setting, and with the right musicians. Other favorites include 'Learning To Fly', 'Out of the Box', and 'Me and Wokara'. I also have a soft spot for 'Cotton Skies', especially the last minute of the song. In fact, just about every song has an excellent last minute or so, so if one were to skip through tracks without hearing them to the end, they would usually miss the highlight of the track. Other strengths of this album include the backing vocals, the overall sound, and the contributions of guests Amy Darby and Phil Mercy of Thieves' Kitchen. Inconsistancies of their previous album 'Whimsical Weather' are gone. There is a warm, spring/summery outdoorsy feel to this highly emotional and beautiful album, which is definitively their best, and will certainly be among my favorites of the year. And no, I am not a friend of the band as the one condescending reviewer so snarkily asserts must "obviously" be the case of anyone who gave this cd 5 stars. I don't give 5 stars often, but do for a few deserving cds each year.

Cirrus Bay is my favorite band right now, and my wife, not really a prog fan, even likes them. As she puts it, "They have a lot of emotion." And I guess that's what I like about this album more than anything else.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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