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If I Was
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 listen!

 
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