Peter Hammill, Peter Gabriel, Jethro Tull und Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pentangle and Genesis, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Magna Carta, Spyrogyra
“Cheshire Tree Suite” was produced by Vermont resident Lou Maxwell Taylor who plays light melodic orchestral progressive rock that incorporates folk and classical influences. There are strong Celtic influences in spots, not surprising given the presence of mandolin, violin, and bodhran. Taylor composed all the music, sings, and plays keyboards and synths, guitar, bodhran, and many forms of percussion. He is joined by guests on even more varieties of percussion, guitar, bass, button accordion, clarinet, fiddle, cello, mandolin,and vocals. Taylors vocals are very close to Geoff Mann of the early 80s British progressive band Twelfth Night, though the music isn not dark and intense like that band was. He equals Manns vocal power and passion most notably on “What Life Is”, a potent number with an orchestral buildup that leads into a rapid percussion heavy segment with piano and synth. The lyrics are VERY well written and well worth following along with. The music travels through a variety of styles, opening with a piano, clarinet, and mandolin instrumental, moving on to the almost show tune feel of “Someone Has Stolen My Star”, and on to the Celtic touch of “Lost Lake”. Taylor is backed by some excellent female vocalists, one of them, Lygia Ferra, who shares lead vocals with him on “The Living And the Dead”, a gorgeous melodic song made majestic by the mandolin, cello, and accordian. Beautiful. In summary, “Cheshire Tree Suite” will appeal to fans of orchestral progressive rock that explores varied, but coherent, styles of folk and classical music accompanied by passionate vocals and lyrics. When I say orchestral though I should emphasize that the music is quiet and easy paced, though emotional and well developed.
Seldom have I been so spellbound by a piece of contemporary music as by this work. Smooth, beautiful, full of balanced atmospheres without a single sharp edge, and additionally, without being dull, that alone is a masterpiece. Let me add more adjectives like, melancholic, beautiful, low-key, narrative, engaging and wondrous. In addition to Maxwell Taylor singing, and in his voice alone lies much of the albums character, he has added another vocalist. The instruments are partly acoustic, partly synthesizers, and the composer plays quite a few of them himself, with additional help by other musicians on some tracks. The cover design is a piece of art in itself, but unfortunately, the lettering is so small that it was hard to get much information out of it. The production is quite good, and Maxwell Taylor ought to bring Cheshire Tree Suite around to a record company and have a proper release of the album, not least for the distribution, because as many people as possible should be given a chance to hear what this man has to offer.
©1990-1996 Lou Maxwell Taylor/Myshkazippy Productions, except “What Life Is,” ©1991 Lou Maxwell Taylor/Alan K. Lipton
The U.S. public performance rights to this work are administered BY ASCAP.
First Myshkazippy CD pressing, September 1999
First QuiXote CD pressing, October 2001