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Spotlight: Circa: Valley Of The Windmill (2016 Frontiers Records)
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
The newest Circa: studio record has recently hit the store shelves; Circa: Valley Of The Windmill. I ordered mine from Amazon Dot Com, a few days after it was released. Was a reasonable price, and it arrived in good time. The pre-sale promotion had me hooked.
Photo: Gary “Uncle G” Brown – Newly Arrived Circa: Valley Of The Windmill.
Four songs, for a total of around fifty minutes. The longest of them, the closing number entitled ‘Our Place Under The Sun’. Almost nineteen minutes. Just knowing that can make a long time progressive rock fan like myself, damn near wet themselves. After all, one characteristic of progressive rock, is the composition of longer musical arrangements. Now, throw in a quote from Circa: guitarist and vocalist Billy Sherwood saying how ‘super proggy’ the new release is, and it’s purchased without even hearing one note played. At least it was that way for me.
Circa: been around since 2007. This is their fourth studio effort. Joining Billy Sherwood, is original Yes keyboardist, Tony Kaye, who’s been with Circa: like Billy, from the beginning. Other players have come and go. Circa: 2016 also includes Scott Connor (Drums and Percussion), and Rick Tierney (bass). ‘Valley Of The Windmill’ is produced by Circa:, and was recorded and mixed by the master himself, Billy Sherwood.
“Uncle G” Discusses … Circa: Valley Of The Windmill (2016)
The first track called ‘Silent Resolve’ starts off for a few seconds real mellow like, and then kicks in. It’s the one song out of the four, that has continually stayed in my head, pretty much since the first play of the CD. For the most part up-tempo, as is the rest of the album. All musicians involved do a great job, but it’s Billy’s guitar work that for me makes this song so infectious. And speaking of which, this album marks the first time Billy played lead guitar and not bass on a Circa: studio offering. Does fantastic!
It’s the second track entitled ‘Empire Over’, where I can say it’s Tony’s playing that really makes the song for me. I love hearing his keyboard work, which is not only outstanding on this song, but throughout this whole album. Fans of Mr. Kaye work will rejoice knowing he’s don’t hold anything back, and that his trademark Hammond sound, is here in all it’s glory.
The rest of the album sparkles. Behind the drum kit, Scott Connor is there keeping things lively, along with Rick on bass. The lyrics are sharp, and holds one attention. Billy’s a fine lead vocalist, and always has been. The last two songs as as good as the first two. Bonus: Circa: Valley Of The Windmill has a cool looking album cover to boot. It’s the pure definition of a real progressive rock album, inside and out. Looks like one … Sounds like one … MUST be one!
“Uncle G” Rates … Circa: Valley Of The Windmill (2016)
Using the one to five star rating system, whereas one star would equate to drinking warm beer out of a can, and five stars equaling the best draft beer available in a chilled mug on a hot Summer day, I rate the new studio – Circa: Valley Of The Windmill … 5 stars! Would like to see the band tour this record. At least do a few shows and have them filmed for audio / visual release. Am sure fans would be more than interested. I’d try to make one show if I could. California here I come?
Uncle G’s Helpful Web-link
Billy Sherwood Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BillySherwoodMusic/