Last Update: January 29th, 2023
Progressive/Art 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 label 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 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, almost 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 my success in software made it nearly
impossible to get out. Something like Evership was bound to happen, it had to happen."
Finally, in 2005, in response to a dream, he sold his big house in the suburbs,
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 first
record; not just for the actual recording, but for raising a family, 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. I was a music and
literature major in school. So my lyrics tend to be classically driven as well, lending
to a longer format."
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, but nothing
materialized for the effort. With no prospects on the horizon Beau shelved music for
three years. He says, "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 of the project due to life
circumstances. Shane says, "This was operatic, expressive music. These kinds of singers
just don't exist anymore. I thought it was over. Beau was literally an answer to
Shane met Beau West, the lead vocalist, through session singer Mike Priebe (who sings
BGVs on the record, along with Nicelle, Mike's wife, on violin). Shane and Beau had a
conversation about music that lasted hours. The two had the same musical interests and
the same vision for what they wanted to accomplish. After an initial meeting to review
the material, Beau was invited to the studio to sing on the most challenging vocal
track, Ultima Thule. Shane says, "Beau has that rare range and tone that sounds great
anywhere on the scale. He could handle anything I threw at him, and had such a great
attitude as well, which was critical because so much production had already been done."
Beau says, "This music is everything I'd heard whirling around in my head since I was
fourteen and couldn't get it out. Shane unlocked what was already inside and I can't
wait to sing every note he writes." This set course for a three year journey of
finishing the recording and hence was birthed Evership.
On the debut album, Shane choose to play drums, keyboards, and an assortment of more
obscure instruments like the Theremin and Chapman Stick, but to sub-out most of the
guitar and bass work to like-minded musician friends and family.
The earliest recording, Flying Machine, was performed by Dan Smalley on classical guitar
and Brandon Vestal on electric guitar. However, the classically trained Rob Higginbotham
performed most of the rhythm electric, acoustic and classical guitars.
Shane's brother James moved into town later in the process and performed the lead
guitars, which turned out to be essential to the Evership sound. "Having my brother here
reminded me of when we were young. We used to do these 'concerts'. The neighbors would
set up lawn chairs and watch." With James on guitar, the 'brother magic' (a term James
coined to explain their telepathic ability to communicate musically) made the lead
guitar production more organic.
The Nashville bassist Jaymi "Pink Bassman" Millard (Innocent Monday, Kinetic Element,
Mark Slaughter) rounded out the tracks.
Once the debut album was in full swing Shane engaged the know-how of recording engineer
Mark Aartun of Innerspeaker Records who cut the beginning of Flying Machine-Part 1:
Dreamcarriers on Plexiglas using a rare 1940 Presto K-8 portable record cutting machine.
They then re-recorded it from a Newcomb schoolhouse tube record player. "This gave me
the vintage Victorian feel I was after."
Finally, as a last minute production idea, Shane contacted his oldest Nashville friend
and classical composer Charles Heimermann, who had been leading a professional choir
made up of session singers and singers from both the Nashville Symphony Chorus and The
Nashville Choir, to push the production over the top with live choir, recorded in a
cathedral in Green Hills, Tennessee.
The panoramic artwork was illustrated by Nashville-area artist Philip Willis. Like the
music, it is immersive.
The eponymous debut album Evership (CD and Digital) was released on July 1, 2016. Within
a month Evership was invited to perform at the prestigious 2017 Rite of Spring
progressive rock festival in Gettysburg, PA. By years-end was sited as a 2016 top-ten
album of the year by scores of prominent international progressive and rock magazine
outlets and radio! The vinyl was mastered by Grammy-award winning engineer Cameron Henry
at Welcome to 1979 Studios and was released a year later, again to exceptional reviews.
The Evership momentum continued in 2017 and the band was invited to perform in the
second iteration of New Jersey's new Progressive Rock festival "ProgStock", in 2018. But
after RosFest the Evership live band went through a change-up, as the members who joined
Shane and Beau to support RosFest were largely part of the original album effort and
moved on to other pursuits. Jaymi Millard went on to play with Mark Slaughter and was
replaced by Ben Young. James moved back to Atlanta and was replaced by John Rose. Jesse
Hardin, who was part of the live effort, went on to pursue his own project (Coatsworth
Drive) and was replaced by Matt Harrell. Taking time to secure new members lasted into
Simultaneous to getting the new band up to speed, Shane embarked on creating a second
Evership record to keep up the momentum. What took 10 years for the first record, took
10 months for the second. "I was over-extended but I was compelled to keep the
continuity of Evership in front of our listeners and the media. And in a way, I had to
clear my head of the first run of material. There is so much more to do!"
Evership II began in January of 2018 and was released on October 19th, 2018. The music
received almost instantaneous international praise with a record number of reviews and
sales in a short amount of time for the act. "Evership II is really the rest of what
would otherwise have been on the Debut. The best way to listen to Evership II is to
listen to the debut first and then go into the second. It will make more sense."
The sophomore record retains James Atkinson on most of the lead guitars, but otherwise
the line-up includes most of the new live band; with Ben Young on Bass and Chapman
Stick, and the classically-trained John Rose on rhythm electric, classical, acoustic and
slide guitars. Beau West continues to shine on lead vocals and Shane fills out the
remainder of the instrumentation, with the exception of the opening track which includes
some live performance material from live drummer Joel Grumblatt and some guitar work
from former bandmate Jesse Hardin. Shane also managed to incorporate a live orchestra
and another session with the Charles Heimermann Chorale. The artist Philip Willis was
re-engaged to create the new album artwork in the celebrated style of the first album.
Portions of Evership II where performed at ProgStock 2018.
In 2019 Evership released their first official music video to the opening cut;
"The Serious Room" to wide praise. The band's proliferation that year caught the notice
of PROG magazine and Evership was featured in an interview in issue 97 (along with Yes
and Alan Parsons)!
In the break after the Evership II support tour and during Codiv, Shane completed
writing/curating their third and fourth albums; a two-act rock opera based on a literary
work by Harold Bell Wright entitled 'The Uncrowned King'. The same Evership II band
lineup performed the recording and the unique photography of Rory White graces the
covers for an altogether different and catching "storybook" effect. The single 'Allthetime' was
released April 23nd to great fan and industry acclaim, appeared on PROG magazine's CD
Sampler (Issue #119) and aired internationally on terrestrial and internet radio. The
album 'The Uncrowned King - Act 1' was released on May 21st, 2021 and garnered many Best
Album of 2021 from reviewers and fans! The epic music video to 'The Tower' aired on
November 24th of that year.
'The Uncrowned King - Act 2' was launched with three singles: The first 'Coronation' was released on June
22nd, 2022. The second single 'The Voice of the New Day', released July 15th, features SAGA-frontman
Michael Sadler. The final single 'The Law of Ages' is accompanied by an elegant music video sensation.
And finally the awaitied conclusion to the rock opera 'The Uncrowned King - Act 2' was released October
14th, 2022 to great international acclaim! Evership has garnered solid responses and best of 2022 awards
for 'The Uncrowned King - Act 2' proving that this band is at full-sail and the journey continues strong!