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Renaissant biography
Terence SULLIVAN, the drummer from the peak period of the venerable symphonic prog group RENAISSANCE, had been writing songs with long time RENAISSANCE lyricist Betty THATCHER-NEWSINGER since 1977, although only one, "Forever Changing", had actually made it on to record, the Azure D'Or album in 1979. With various partial spin offs from the parent group proliferating around the turn of the millenium , Terry gathered family and friends under the name of RENAISSANT to produce "South of Winter" in 2004. In addition to drumming, he sings on a couple of tracks and plays keyboards and guitar. His wife Christine is the main vocalist. Other contributing musicians include the late lamented John TOUT from RENAISSANCE, Martin ORFORD, Steve RODGERS, Lee SULLIVAN and Alex CAIRD, while the aforementioned THATCHER-NEWSINGER contributes lyrics to 4 tracks. Stylistically, RENAISSANT might be closer to ILLUSION, the reformation of the original RENAISSANCE, than the Annie HASLAM version, but fans of both or either would be well advised to listen and support the band who apparently have more songs in the can, hopefully for future release.

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3.04 | 5 ratings
South of Winter

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 South of Winter by RENAISSANT album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.04 | 5 ratings

South of Winter
Renaissant Crossover Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars The Sullivans are evidently a most musical family, with patriarch Terence best known as the former drummer in another musical family known as RENAISSANCE. In this project Terry contributes a smorgasbord of instrumentation and even sings on a couple of tracks. His wife Christine offers almost whispered vocals on the rest. which suit the wistful, contemplative and bittersweet moods, complemented by sparse yet atmospheric accompaniment on acoustic guitar and piano. When it works it is nigh spellbinding, as in "Carry me Home", "Burning Bridges", and the title cut.

Some of the glorious if brief piano passages, even those played by John Tout, sound closer in spirit to John Hawken's work with the original RENAISSANCE and the reformed lineup known as ILLUSION. Actually, while Terry Sullivan has specifically stated that he felt uncomfortable on lead vocals, he acquits himself well on "Cold Flame", with its smoldering distorted guitar in the chorus backing, and even better on "Careless", a hybrid of Mark Knopfler by way of DAN ARBORISE.

The overall range represented here seems rather circumscribed; songs like "Alone", "Dove", and "Morning", utterly lacking in grandeur and excitement, live and die by their melodies, which fail to distinguish even after many listens. Still, when "South of Winter" works, it does so by melting away the decades and returning us to a time when winter was just a season.

Thanks to kenethlevine for the artist addition.

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