Title - Always Be There
Artist - Vast Conduit
For those unaware, through a Vast Conduit, the universe provided an opportunity for the individuals in the band - Bill Jenkins (keys), Will Jenkins (drums), Michael Harris (guitar), Jeff Plant (bass), Friel (vocals) and Jim Hurley (violin) - to come together and create what they fondly refer to as smooth prog music.
Their new album, (releasing February 16th, 2022) is dedicated to the notion of doing whatever we can to build and cherish all parent/child relationships, regardless of circumstance.
There are so many different ways these can suffer – death, divorce, illness, self-centeredness, etc. – yet they are so vital to everyone’s happiness and well-being.
Every moment we have to support each other and make each other’s lives better is precious.
2. Soul Tuck
3. Always Be There
4. Endless Days
5. Too Busy
7. 500 Miles
8. Philly Etymology
9. Early Eclipse
10. Of A Feather
11. Wesley Save Us
This ambiently translucent one minute, rock-tastic album the next opens on the prog lite ebb and flow of Barrier and the full on funk, groove rock of Soul Tuck and backs those up with the laid back swirls of the title track Always Be There, the summers haze of Endless Days, the free flowing Too Busy, and then comes the mid-tempo prog-AOR of Odessa.
Up next is one of my own personal favorites here, the simply divine, smooth prog rock orchestrations that ebb and flow throughout within the love song 500 Miles, the percussion-imbibed Philly Etymology, the upbeat and harmonious Early Eclipse, the album rounding out with the, at first, quietly piano driven, but then gently fervent Of A Feather, closing out on the foot-tapping prog-pop of Wesley Save Us.
The Fates conspired and a fortuitous set of circumstances created a vast conduit, galvanizing what might have otherwise been a run-of-the-mill progressive rock project with an abundance of musical talent and prowess.
Keyboardist Bill Jenkins (Enchant, Thought Chamber), musing over some material near to heart, enlisted the talents of these amazing musicians to bring that material to light: Adding everything from scorching leads to subtle emoting is virtuosic guitarist Michael Harris (Arch Rival, Thought Chamber, Darkology, Michael Harris Tranz-Fusion).
Laying the foundation with solid grooves and making odd time signatures seem effortless and feel natural is drummer Will Jenkins (Ghost and the City, Great Wall).
The venerable Jeff Plant solidifies that foundation with electric and fretless bass (also from Thought Chamber and whose pedigree otherwise is too long to list here and whose amazing bass playing simply speaks for itself).
Adding just the right amount of smoke and fire off his rosined bow is violinist Jim Hurley (who has performed with the likes of Ritchie Blackmore, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Ancient Future, and Queen Ida’s Grammy-winning Bon Temps Zydeco Band, among many others).
Rounding out the list are the satiny vocals of Friel (a truly rare gem of vocal talent to have somehow, somewhere, out of the blue, been found for this project).
With the players in place, a cross-country recording project began, finishing with Vast Conduit’s initial studio album release Always Be There - a centrally themed album that explores several musical genres.
Although progressive rock in nature, when pressed for a singular genre, Michael jokingly suggested smooth prog. After the requisite laughter, the recognition of how apropos of a description it was settled in, and laughter shifted to nods of approval as it was fully embraced by the band.
Official Album Purchase Link
Vast Conduit @ Facebook