Image © 2000
Sojourn Hills Records
(20 August 2000) Grey Eye Glances albums Songs Of Leaving and
Further On (both originally released under the band name Sojourn)
were followed by Eventide and Painted Pictures on
Mercury Records. An additional EP sold exclusively on the internet
entitled One Day Soon was the band's last release on Mercury
Records before it was merged into a larger label. To ensure their
continued growth, the band recently purchased back rights to material
produced while they were with Mercury and released four additional
special compilations of rare and live material that was sold via the
internet to their most dedicated fans. The band are currently
financing their next album by selling tracks individually as
downloadable mp3 files.
The first collection of six of these tracks has been released as an
EP entitled If I Was ... (Grey Eye Glances (USA) JED0112, 2000).
It was recorded at The farmhouse—the band's new 24-track digital studio
located in West Point, PA. A second EP is due at the end of 2000.
Fronted by lead vocalist Jennifer Nobel, the band also includes
Eric O'Dell (bass, trumpet, vocals) Dwayne Keith (piano, organ, melodica,
vocals), Brett Kull (guitars, mandolin, banjo, vocals) [Echolyn] and
Paul Ramsey (drums, percussion). While the EP is professionally pressed
and well recorded, the production quality is reminscent of the band's
earliest two releases, with the lushness and rich bottom end typical
of the Mercury era gone.
With only one track co-penned by Jen Nobel, the other five are
written by Dwayne Keith either himself or in various combinations with
Kull and O'Dell. Earlier Grey Eye Glances albums included more Jen
Nobel writing credits. The vocals are again stunning, and the band
have mixed them way up, as in their earlier releases. Jen's fans will
be well pleased with her vocal work. on If I Was .... Artwork
is professional prepared and full lyrics are included.
The EP opens with the title track "If I Was" which is similar to
"Painted Pictures" in its rhythm. The brass section adds a lovely
texture to arrangement. Vocal work is evocative and balanced
with the individual instrumental parts. Harmony vocals and a well
played electric guitar part provide a perfect backdrop to Jen's
sensitive vocal in the soft rocking "Moonlight." The sweet and
sensitive ballad "In" is softly sung over light acoustic
arrangements, perfectly demonstrating the talent of the band's lead
vocalist. Instrumentals build for "Even," a typically Grey Eye
Glances tune, are well played. The song blends a crystalline lead
vocal part with orchestral sounds in the background as energy within
the track builds.
"Ordinary Day" is a very upbeat and equally accessible track with
melody carried by keyboard and lead vocal offset by a lively guitar
part. Crisp percussion and bass puctuate the sound. We were reminded
of "Halfway Back" from first listen. The EP concludes with "Hollow,"
opening as a delicate and lightly instrumented ballad. Jen's sensitively
soft vocals intertwine with searching guitars and delicate percussion and
build with harmony vocals as the song develops.
The latest release by Grey Eye Glances is certain to thrill
their following. The band are making great progress towards an
independent full length album release, and this EP is a notable
step in the process—one to be appreciated by those that prefer
CDs to mp3 files! Although not generally available until September
the band's fans can order the EP as a prerelease via the GEG
website or by calling toll-free 877-916-5862.
Enjoyable in every respect, especially with the
return to a self-produced sound, the EP is a very nice