WILLOWGLASS is solo artist/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Marshall who lives in Yorkshire, England. Although involved in music from a young age and has played in various local groups over the last 20 years, the self-titled debut is his very first solo outing. Andrew’s work blends 1970’s style progressive rock with elements of classical music, adding a colourful palette of emotions & mood to his compositions, which have a uniquely English pastoral feel. It is clear that his inspiration has come from numerous symphonic prog rock bands since the 60s/70s and there are notable references to early GENESIS, YES, CAMEL and even a touch of PINK FLOYD thrown in for good measure.
The self-titled debut (2005) contains ten instrumental tracks recorded between September 2004 and April 2005, with lashings of mellotron, flute, 12-string acoustic & electric guitars. If you listen carefully you may find references to other works such as : CAMEL- “Rain Dances”, GENESIS- “Selling England By The Pound”, BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST – “Everyone Is Everybody Else” and YES – “Fragile”. However, this is NOT just a hackneyed clone of past Classics, it is a sophisticated, graceful & intelligent interpretation of these, taking the lucky listener on a journey into lush green pastures where we can forget the busy world and almost believe we are back in 1970’s again …
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to those who like any of the 1970’s classic prog bands mentioned above and especially for those who like the style & mood of Anthony PHILLIPS’ “The Geese & the Ghost”. (progarchives.com)
Because of the lush Mellotron sound on Willowglass their wonderful eponymous debut CD (2005), I was very curious to this new album that was released in 2008. Well fellow symphomaniacs, again this is Vintage Keyboard Heaven with frequent use of the unsurpassed Mellotron and analogue synthesizers like the Minimoog (and the ARP Pro Solist?). During my first listening session I already conclude that multi- instrumentalist and prime mover Andrew Marshall has matured in writing compositions during the 3 years between his two CD’s, in my opinion the five compositions (between 4 and 17 minutes, running time around 50 minutes) sound more elaborate and varied than on the first CD. I like the contrast between the bombastic keyboards and the warm twanging 12-string and classical guitar and the flute, in the alternating piece The Maythorne Cross you can even enjoy a medieval sound.
In the titletrack the Hammond sound evokes the early Procol Harum, wonderfully blended with a classical guitar (in the vein of Steve Hackett) and the Mellotron and Grand piano. My highlight is the long final song The Labyrinth: an intro with warm classical guitar in delicate interplay with the violin-Mellotron, then lots of shifting moods (featuring an impressive church-organ sound, sensitive electric guitar, majestic choir-Mellotron and fluent synthesizer flights), culminating in a splendid final part with a slow rhythm that gradually changes into a bombastic atmosphere delivering very compelling 24-carat symphonic rock with bass pedals, choir- Mellotron, pitchbend driven Minimoog runs and sensitive electric guitar, I am in Vintage Keyboard Heaven!
What a beautiful symphonic rock, highly recommended to all vintage keyboard aficionados and symphomaniacs! (by Erik Neuteboom)
Recorded and mixed October 2005 – March 2008 at 4th Room Studios, Yorkshire
Andrew Marshall (Keyboards, guitar, bass, flute, recorder, drums, percussion)
Dave Brightman (drums, recorder)
01. Argamasilla 11.01
02. Willowglass 4.02
03. The Maythorne Cross 10.39
04. Book Of Hours 7.16
05. The Labyrinth 16.51
05.2 The Journey
05.3 Don Quixote Rides Again
05.4 Nature’s Cathedral
05.5 Knight Of The White Moon
05.6 The Spiral
Music composed by Andrew Marshall