Nashville-based Progressive Rock band Evership
is the conceptualization of composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer/engineer Shane Atkinson. Shane played in Nashville bands and as a backup musician for artists in the late 80's and 90's. As a composer he wrote on Music Row and, always having a studio running somewhere in the Nashville area, was a prolific composer with musical work spanning from commercials and film to orchestral and theater. He made two records with the 90's Alternative Rock band Curious Fools
, but after multiple labels and false promises, and with the birth of his first child, he decided to leave the music business for the budding software industry.
Shane says he never really stopped writing. "The music just kept coming, haunting me. I'd constantly wake up in the night to record song ideas. Over those years I amassed at least a hundred hours of material. But I was so successful in software, it became nearly impossible to get out. Something like Evership
was bound to happen, it had to happen, I was profoundly depressed."
Finally, in 2005, in response to a dream, he sold their big house in the suburbs, moved the family, downsized, built a recording studio, and opened a commercial and film music production company to finance the album effort. It would take about ten years to make the record; not just for the actual recording, but for raising a family with his wife (and PR person) Michelle, building a studio, holding down the production company and remaining business interests, and sifting through the mountain of song material.
Many of the Evership
songs were written long before the project started. Some were five to ten years old even then, and there is purportedly enough material for four or more albums. "I've got other material, but I wanted to do this first. Musically-speaking, Prog is where my heart is." He said while growing up, listening to bands like Led Zeppelin, Rush, Yes, Queen, Kansas and Jimmy Hotz, he had no idea it was progressive music. He just liked it. Amongst his other influences were classical composers, particularly Bach, Rachmaninov and Ravel. He has a sizable Opera collection and is a Puccini fan. Fusion music also played a role in the early years; Chick Corea, Al Di Miola, Mahavishnu Orchestra, anything that challenged him musically. "Even what I'm writing now is not intentionally Prog. It's just what comes out. These songs are life-stories, I can't tell them in three-and-a-half minutes."
After deciding on material for the debut album, demos were started in 2009, but life circumstances halted production until 2013 when Shane shut the music production company down to focus on the record.
Beau West, the lead vocalist, had moved to Nashville to do music in 2005 with his wife Melanie. He met Mike Tharret and Mike Priebe with whom he had some great musical moments with, coupled with some great recordings, but nothing materialized. With no prospects on the horizon he put his guitar in a closet and there it stayed for three years. "My wife asked me if I wanted to do music anymore. My answer was "'I don't want to write, I don't want any creative control, I just want to sing.'" Little did he know that around the corner of that third year he would get exactly that.
Originally, the singer Shane had keyed the music to was longtime friend and 90's band mate Jason Beddoe who ended up needing to bow out due to life circumstances. Shane says, "This was operatic music. These...