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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


Step Into ElsewhereStep Into Elsewhere
CD Baby 2009
Audio CD$11.89
$9.40 (used)
Whimsical WeatherWhimsical Weather
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$13.41
Search for JoySearch for Joy
CD Baby 2014
Audio CD$13.39
$20.93 (used)
Slipping of a DaySlipping of a Day
CD Baby 2008
Audio CD$13.80
$7.29 (used)
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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)

2.91 | 16 ratings
The Slipping of a Day
2008
3.70 | 57 ratings
A Step Into Elsewhere
2009
3.50 | 63 ratings
Whimsical Weather
2012
3.55 | 55 ratings
The Search For Joy
2014

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

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

CIRRUS BAY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.55 | 55 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.

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 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.55 | 55 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

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 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.55 | 55 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!

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 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.55 | 55 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.

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 The Search For Joy by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.55 | 55 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.

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 A Step Into Elsewhere by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.70 | 57 ratings

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A Step Into Elsewhere
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Days after the release of ''The slipping of a day'' Cirrus Bay's leader Bill Gillham was determined not to allow time to skip heading to a second release.The band's brand new effort was recorded in just a few months, again with Sharra Acle and Bill's sister Anisha on vocals and the always appreciated help of Mark Blasco on bass and drums.Blasco was also responsible for the production of the album, which was eventually entitled ''A step into elsewhere'', released privately in 2009.

With this album Cirrus Bay established themselves as a rising force in the modern Symphonic Rock field with their sound always bursting these elegant GENESIS stylings, wrapped up in long, lush arrangementes with elaborate melodies and atmospheric textures.More than ever their sound recalls MAGENTA's early albums, being definitely of symphonic nature with a few Neo-styled moves, led by flashy synth parts akin to GALLEON or US.The delicate and smooth musicianship includes a fair amount of gentle acoustic moments mixed with STEVE HACKETT-like electric textures and rich keyboard variations with Mellotrons, synthesizers, piano and organ.The careful production unleashes the talent of Bill Gillham as a composer.The man has put up stretched, interesting compositions with a strong 70's flavor, based on the alternating vintage and modern vibes and his ability to offer impressive, grandiose yet melodic symphonic movements with a pompous atmosphere.There are also some nice flute parts contained, a factor making Cirrus Bay's sound even closer to old GENESIS, while the absolute peak comes with the 16-min. ''Zenobia'', a lovely piece of nostalgic Symphonic Rock with electroacoustic changes, orchestral textures, BANKS-influenced synth and piano lines and dreamy female vocals.

No question, this is a must have for any fan of contemporary Symphonic Rock with a heavy vintage aura.Lack of personality is an issue, but really...who cares when the music is so well-executed?Strongly recommended.This group is capable of creating a future masterpiece...3.5 stars.

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 Whimsical Weather by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.50 | 63 ratings

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Whimsical Weather
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Cirrus Bay's Whimsical Weather refines the "Genesis-influenced neo-prog with a Renaissance-influenced vocalist" formula which Cirrus Bay had nailed down reasonably effectively on A Step Into Elsewhere. If you were very enthusiastic about that album, you'll probably enjoy this one a lot too, though equally if you disliked it I don't think Whimsical Weather's going to win you over. For my part, I thought A Step Into Elsewhere was OK, but not a real standout classic, and I don't hear much in Whimsical Weather which suggests that the band have substantially and coherently upgraded their sound since then. In short, more of the same.

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 A Step Into Elsewhere by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.70 | 57 ratings

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A Step Into Elsewhere
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A Step Into Elsewhere is Cirrus Bay's second album but the first one which they really stand by - their official website discounts the debut The Slipping of a Day as a grab-bag of various musical ideas developed over time. It seems that the core band members Bill Gillham and Sharra Acle really firmed up their ideas about what they actually wanted to do with this project in the meantime, and they decided to go for fairly straight-down-the-line neo-prog in a Genesis- influenced style with a few folkier elements creeping in thanks to Bill's use of mandolin and recorder. Sharra's vocals are quite nice in a mildly generic "woman in a prog band singing in a style not really much like Anne Haslam but vaguely intended to remind us of Haslam" way, and the release benefits from some interesting compositions. Not brilliant, but not half bad if you're into this particular style of neo-prog.

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 Whimsical Weather by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.50 | 63 ratings

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Whimsical Weather
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by deedee

5 stars The third Cirrus Bay is most welcome, a lovely release of beautiful melodies and somewhat complex arrangements and not far from their last release, 'A Step Into Elsewhere'. Like that album, it is the first and last songs that are the true classics, rooted in the 70s tradition of artists such as Camel, Anthony Phillips, Steve Hackett and Renaissance, with occasional lapses into something almost Canterbury-sections that are quite complex and beautiful at the same time, examples being the instrumental sections of 'Across The Cobblestones', the albums dynamic closer, and the curious instrumental 'Gathering Clouds'. Half of this album is the best music Cirrus Bay has released, and half is lesser than anything on 'A Step Into Elsewhere', in my opinion, notably 'Boundaries', while having some great ideas and moments, has some drawbacks, such as the vocal effects, and 'Wanderlust', which is heartwrenchingly beautiful during the mid section of the song, but the conclusion could have been more dynamic. Still overall a great album, one of my favorites for the year, and probably as original as 'symph' can be (the heading of neo-prog is inaccurate, and probably earned over the weaknesses of their debut album). Favorite songs: Across The Cobblestones, Circles and Seasons, Gathering Clouds and Me & The Wind.

Edit: after many listens, I have upgraded to 5 stars. 'Circles and Seasons' is just breathtaking.

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 A Step Into Elsewhere by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.70 | 57 ratings

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A Step Into Elsewhere
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars With just a couple of reviews for this album Cirrus Bay obviously hasn't made a real breakthrough so far. And that's strange because we're talking about high quality prog with this band. First resemblance I notice is to Glass Hammer mainly caused by the female vocals. But I also hear a touch of Thieves Kitchen although an immediate additional remark will have to be made there that Thieves Kitchen likes to play the dissonant style whilst Cirrus Bay plays the 100% harmonic melodic sort of music. Another feature is the laid back mellotron you can hear all the way through. All instruments are handled by skilled musicians by the way.

And this harmonic music is of the soothing kind. If you want to be enchanted for almost an hour this disc is very recommended. It's not highly original or challenging prog but more like wonderful music with a touch of "inventive composition". And since I'm a sucker for this kind of prog I can only give a high rating for A Step into Elsewhere. Not a masterpiece but an excellent addition for most prog collections for sure.

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