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Live At The Tivoli
Artist: Glass Hammer
Label: Sound Resources/Arion Records
Length: 10 Tracks/100 Minutes
Just when I think that the bar of excellence for art by artists who hold to a Christian worldview has been set, I am proved wrong once again. How am I proved wrong you ask. Very simply, the Chattanooga based band Glass Hammer releases another project and raises the bar even higher. Thank God for Glass Hammer!
The bands newest release is a DVD package recorded back in 2006 at the historic Tivoli Theater in downtown Chattanooga. The band recorded the project in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and the result is absolutely amazing. But then again I would expect nothing less from these sonic wizards. The material on the package includes songs going back to the "Lex Rex" album of a few years ago. The band lineup for this show was Fred Schendel on keyboards and vocals, Steve Babb on bass and vocals, Susie Bogdonawicz, Bethany Warren and Flo Paris on vocals, Matt Mendians on drums, David Wallimann on guitar, Carl Groves on guitar, keyboards and lead vocals along with Rebecca James, Rachel Hackenberger-Beckmann and Susan Whitacre on strings. The band was supplemented for the performance by the GPS Girls Choir and the Lee University Choral Union.
Although live performances by Glass Hammer are few and far between this is a unit that must be seen to fully be appreciated. This is a live band that is on an equal par with such artists as Yes and King Crimson. The next time you hear of a live gig coming up, get ready for a road trip. Trust me it will be worth it!
Chris MacIntosh aka Grandfather Rock
Chattanooga, Tennessee prog-rocker’s Glass Hammer are back with another exciting release just in time for the holiday season: Glass Hammer: Live at the Tivoli. A new Glass Hammer project is always a reason for great rejoicing and fanfare: studio maestros Steve Babb and Fred Schendel lead a magical team of vocalists and musicians that never fail to disappoint. Around the time Glass Hammer released their stellar Culture of Ascent project they gathered for two amazing evenings of symphonic progressive rock enchantment. The spectacular results of those shows are gathered here on Glass Hammer: Live at the Tivoli. The band is in fine form on Tivoli and the result is a live performance that is unique, epic in scope, and powerful in emotion and presentation.
On Tivoli Glass Hammer tears through a solid ten track set that hits many fan favorite highlights…starting with the new track “Eiger Dreams” and rolling through classics like “A Cup of Trembling” from Lex Rex, “Lirazel,” “Heroes and Dragons,” “Knight of the North,” and closing with a distinctive twist on the Yes classic “South Side of the Sky.”
The music of Glass Hammer creates layer upon layer of gorgeous sounds and textures woven into a dramatic tapestry. The band perform superbly on Tivoli: Babb’s bass is rich and booming; Schendel works memorable keyboard wizardry; Carl Groves provides an amiable presence and smooth vocals (check out the great version of Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer”); Matt Mendians crack drum work adds great rhythmic texture; guitar hero David Walliman offers astounding guitar pyrotechnics. Adding to this already solid musical base is the Adonia String Trio (Rachel Hackenberger-Beckmann, Susan Whitacre, and Rebecca James) who joins Glass Hammer on most of the songs for a rich foundation of inspiring string parts; also returning are the tender, melodic vocals of Susie Bogdanowicz, Bethany Warren, and Flo Paris. Finally, The Lee University Choral Union and The GPS Girls Choir lend their impressive vocals to the magic Glass Hammer sound captured on Tivoli.
The video is good quality and does a fine job of capturing the essence of the live performance but the star of the Tivoli DVD is the stunning 5.1 surround sound mix. This *IS* the way to hear a band like Glass Hammer; the layers of sound I mentioned are best heard in the additional dimensions provided by the 5.1 mix. This is Glass Hammer in 3-D (or is it 5-D?) sound; majestic, powerful, intoxicating. Buy it and give it as a gift but most importantly pop Glass Hammer: Live at the Tivoli in a surround sound system, sit back, and be blown away.
Sample the Glass Hammer: Live at the Tivoli DVD here: http://www.glasshammer.com/pages/features/samplers/ghtivolisampler.html
Barry Nothstine hosts Soul Frequency Radio (http://www.soulfrequency.com), a weekly freeform FM radio show showcasing progressive rock, instrumental rock, power-pop, psychedelic rock, rock classics, blues, and more—great rock for the ages!