Review by www.MusicalDiscoveries.com
(13 October 2002) Based out of Buffalo, New York, and featuring Ann Janish, Ray Lorigo, Daniel Haskin, and Pat O’Connell, The Dreaming blend myriads of styles, from alternative folk, to jazz, to ethereal, to progressive, weaving their own style of musical soundscape. The artists are all established in the Buffalo jazz and folk scene.
The Dreaming’s full length album Picturebook Rain (Dreamtime Records (USA), 2002) has just been released. This album follows a six-track EP entitled Silent (Dreamtime Records (USA), 2000) released almost two years ago. We review them both here.
Picturebook Rain. The band’s first full-length album is comprised of fourteen relatively short tracks that span a range of styles. Ann Janish-Schieder continues to front the band on vocals and contributes keyboard and piano. The line-up is completed by Ray Lorgo (guitars, classical, acoustic, electric), Daniel Haskin (guitars, acoustic, electric ebow, keyboards) and Pat O’Connell (drums, percussion). Guests include Chris Nagy (drums) and Cathy Carfagna-Meinzer and Mari Anderson (backing vocals)
The album is a clear development from the band’s first EP release. Instrumental and vocal arrangements are substantially more lush. The band have certainly developed into the art- or progressive-rock direction from the folky and bluesy roots of their debut through the loss of the violin and viola parts.
“Fifteen Minutes” is an upbeat rock style piece with lovely acoustic guitar backing and solos during the instrumental bridges and a sensitively sung vocal line. The sweet folk rock tune “Keep Breathing” is more sultry but equally enjoyable. The album’s acoustic guitar instrumental “Need” builds upon “Ultramarine” from the band’s debut EP. An album standout is light rocker “No Man,” richly arranged around keyboard, guitar and drums and Ann Janish’s lovely while somewhat sultry lead vocal. We especially enjoyed the flute (keyboard) solo during the instrumental bridge.
The ballad “Asymetrical,” backed with acoustic guitar and flute (keyboard), is reminscent of Michael Dunford’s Renaissance with Stephanie Adlington in both arrangement and Ann’s theatrical vocal style. Lush symphonic keyboard arrangements support the slow progressive track “Beautiful Lost Thing.” Ann’s continued theatrical vocal delivery and the keyboard-based arrangements perfectly compliment one another. The upbeat folky tune “Sweet Mary” effectively incorporate Cathy’s and Mari’s lovely backing vocals as does the jazz rock crossover “Ophelia in Pink Electric Blue,” two of the album’s standouts.
The slow and atmospheric ballad “Evergreen and Red” blends acoustic guitar and keyboards in an effective arrangements to perfectly support Ann’s lead vocal. We especially enjoyed the mood and tempo changes in the rocker “Bed of Roses,” the definitive album standout with vocals underscored by a dynamic progressive-style piano, guitar and drum arrangement.
“Below The Navel” illustrates the band’s funkier style with Chris Nagy on drums, electric guitar excursions and layers of Ann’s vocals adding to the resulting texture. “Alone In My Room” is lightly arranged with only acoustic guitar and finger snapping giving Ann’s vocals the space to shine. The album closes with the evocatively sung torch song “Stay,” accompanied by piano alone except for the instrumental brige which includes a lovely acoustic guitar sequence.
Silent . The Dreaming’s first recording is comprised of six relatively short tracks dominated by Ann Janish’s sweet and sensual vocals. The line-up for the CD is completed by Ray Lorigo (acoustic, classical guitar), Daniel Haskin (acoustic / electric guitar, juno 106), Cindy McCaffery (viola, zeta violin) and Kilissa Cissoko (percussion, conga). The recording opens with “I Think I’ll Disappear” a light folk rock tune sung primarily over acoustic guitar although light keyboards and viola underscore the main melody well.
In the bluesy track “Need,” viola takes over in the melody supported by acoustic guitar. Ann’s vocals climb well above the arrangement with power and range that illustrate the depth of her talent. The acoustic guitar dominates “Silent,” a lightly rocking tune with folk roots that emerge from Cindy’s viola part. Again the listener is treated to Ann’s powerful vocal which climbs above the instrumental arrangement. “The Getaway” is a slow and bluesy track that derives its texture from sliding guitar chords and a sultry vocal line. We especially enjoyed the piano part during the instrumental bridge.
The violin and viola parts in “For Real” establish the upbeat folk rock texture that underscores Ann’s evocative lead vocal. The concluding track is a classical guitar instrumental entitled “Ultramarine” and is a tribute to the virtuousity of Ray Lorigo and Daniel Haskin.
Both CDs by The Dreaming can be ordered from the band’s website. Clearly worth a journey this light progressive band’s music should be explored further. The material is indeed a very nice listen!
Review by Doug LeBlanc
First off, I should say that I cannot snap my fingers. One of the great failures of my life, but my every effort has only served to make me look like a demented Harry Potter, trying to cast a spell with his dancing digits. And when I hear `Alone In My Room’, from the new CD by The Dreaming, I want to try to snap my fingers. The song does that to you; the infectious rhythm gets me to wiggle my fingers like they are going to be able to snap. They don’t, of course, and I end up looking rather foolish for trying, but it’s that kind of song. In fact, many songs on The Dreaming’s new CD, entitled `Picturebook Rain’, are that kind of song.
There are haunting melodies, singable tunes, lovely songs, and melancholy- inducing ballads. The Dreaming are a foursome from Buffalo, New York. Ann Janish-Schieder is the lead singer, with a voice that’s warm and sensual. Ray Lorigo and Daniel Haskin provide excellent guitar work, with Daniel doubling up on keyboards. Pat O’Connell rounds out the band on drums.
Sound wise, The Dreaming are a lot like the Strawbs, Fairport Convention, with some Sandy Denny thrown in for good measure. The songwriting is quite varied, with the title track `Picturebook Rain’ opening well, and the Carol King-like `Stay’ finishing it as well. In between there are humorous songs – `Fifteen Minutes’ is a very amusing piece, as well as the variety mentioned before. There is a strength in the writing and performing here that is fun, thought- provoking and witty.
A few of the songs, however, suffer from over arranging. The best are when the songs are kept simple, with a wonderful folk strength to them. Songs like `Below The Navel’, though, have electric guitar work that I find grating. It may work well for others, I simply find it annoying.
That said, `Picturebook Rain’ moves through a cornucopia of styles and patterns. Especially enjoyable are songs like the wonderful `Ophelia In Pink and Electric Blue’. The first listening did nothing for me, but after a few times the song really grew on me. The melody line weaves in and out with the vocals like a dance. Of them all, though, my favourite song is `Asymmetrical’. This is The Dreaming at their best; a hauntingly beautiful melody. The song melds into the equally haunting `Beautiful Lost Thing’. This CD is available at The Dreaming’s website, along with their first release, entitled `Silent’, also highly recommended.