Local band Echolyn lands recording deal

Appeared in "The Mainliner", written by Chris M. Slawecki
April 1994

Members of the local band Echolyn left their own studio March 6 for Woodland Digital Recording Studio in Nashville, TN, where, joined by three-time Grammy winning producer Glenn Rosenstein, they will record their debut release for Sony (Epic) music.

Echolyn members Brett Kull (guitar, vocals and founder), Tom Hyatt (bass and MIDI pedals), Christopher Buzby (keybords, vocals), Paul Ramsy (drums, percussion) and Ray Weston (lead vocals) all live within minutes of each other in nearby communities of West Point and Lansdale, and have been performing as Echolyn since 1989, with Hyatt the most recent addition in 1991.

Producer Rosenstein has won Grammy Awards for his production of the first two releases by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers and for his work with David Byrne on the soundtrack to the film The Last Emperor, and has otherwise been in the employment of artists such as The Ramones, Madonna and U2.

Based on the strength of their live performances as near as the 23 East Cabaret and as far as Michigan, and their three independently released CDs (all recorded in their own studio on West Point Pike called "The Barn"), Sony Music signed Echolyn this past August to a contract for seven new releases, a considerable number for a first contract with a new band.

Echolyn may well reward Sony's committment. Their three independent CDs all display a refresing mixture of "older, progressive" rock styles for which British bands such as Genesis and Yes are known, except with little of the pseudo-classical, windblown pomposity and lyrical pretension for which similiar "prog-rock" groups like Emerson, Lake & Palmer were faulted (not entirely without merit). Suffocating The Bloom, their second CD release in between their eponymous debut and the four-song acoustic EP ...And Every Blossom, sounds at various times like Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (espically when Weston gets plaintive backed only by Kull's acoustic guitar), Queen circa A Night At The Opera, and The Yes Album. Yet Kull and Weston provide lyrics so sympathetic to the instrumentation that not one single song pretensiously reaches for heights more lofty than the listener can grasp, and no song goes for more than eight minutes.

It almost seems incongruous to learn that the band views itself as "an alternative to alternative", as they collectively described their stule in an interview at The Barn in early March.

Among other interview revelations: Glenn thinks that Paul can compare to another pretty fair drummer, Bill Bruford, and is amazed that five such talented musicians all live up the street from each other; Tom made the shocking admission that most of the band likes music like Jane's Addiction.

Paul doesn't really like to talk much during interviews, and lead singer Ray cracked the funnies line with his opinion that the debut album should be titled Ray Weston and Echolyn.

But that "alternative to the alternative" seems to conflict with an industry definition of "alternative radio" which appears exclysively reserved for artists like The Lemonheads and The Gin Blossoms (guitar-jangling song-slingers who in another day would have been called "underground" instead), and for more established groups such as Jane's Addiction, REM and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (all of whom were called "underground" earlier in their careers until they struck their respective commercial motherloads).

But upon closer examination, their description makes sense. What if you like the collective dound of Yes, Genesis, et all, but are fed up with "classic rock" radio stations playing the same songs over and over? What is your "alterative?" Who ya gonna call?

Echolyn would like to welcome you back to the show that's just beginning. As The World, the tentative title of their debut, is scheduled for release in late July.

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