|Past members||Jesse Reyes
Origins and first phase (1989–1995)
Echolyn was formed in 1989 when guitarist Brett Kull and drummer Paul Ramsey, members of a recently split cover band called Narcissus, joined with keyboardist Chris Buzby to form a new band to focus on original songs. They were soon joined by fellow Narcissus veteran Ray Weston on vocals and bassist Jesse Reyes, and quickly began playing live and recording their eponymous debut album, which was released in 1991. During the recording of that album, Reyes was replaced on bass by Tom Hyatt.
With this lineup, Echolyn recorded a second album, Suffocating the Bloom, and a 4-song EP, ...and every blossom, and with these releases attracted the attention of Sony Music. In 1993, Echolyn was signed to a multi-album deal on Sony's Epic Records label, and their major-label debut, As the World, was released in March 1995.
However, the band and the label did not agree on the band's musical direction, and the band was forced to promote As the World without the support of Sony. Disillusioned, the band split up, releasing a posthumous album of demos and live tracks in 1996 called When the Sweet Turns Sour (featuring a cover of the early Genesis track "When The Sour Turns To Sweet", which Sony refused to allow to be included on a Magna Carta Genesis tribute CD entitled "Supper's Ready").
Ray Weston, Brett Kull and Paul Ramsey formed a new, semi-progressive rock band called Still and released a disc called "Always Almost" in early 1996, on Geoff Logsdon's Pleasant Green label. Later that year the band changed its name to Always Almost, releasing a much more progressive-oriented album entitled "God Pounds His Nails", also on Pleasant Green.
Chris Buzby formed a jazz-influenced progressive rock band called Finneus Gauge
It was during this time that Echolyn were asked by Magna Carta Records to contribute to a Jethro Tull tribute album. Weston, Kull, and Ramsey (who owned the Echolyn trademark name) chose "One Brown Mouse," recorded the song, and the CD To Cry You a Song: A Collection of Tull Tales was released July 2, 1996. The CD contained Tull covers by prog giants Keith Emerson (with Mick Abrahams, Clive Bunker, and Glenn Cornick), Magellan, and John Wetton, among others.
Second phase (2000–present)
Echolyn formally reformed – without Tom Hyatt – in the spring of 2000. Ray Weston took over bass duties and new member Jordan Perlson (a Berklee College of Music graduate and former student of Buzby) supplemented Ramsey on drums and percussion. This lineup produced the 2000 album Cowboy Poems Free, a loose concept album centering on Americana, and the 2002 album mei, which contains only a single, 50-minute-long track.
After playing as a guest with the band in 2002 and early 2003, Tom Hyatt officially rejoined Echolyn later that year. The first album from the fully reformed lineup was The End Is Beautiful, released in September 2005. Subsequently, the band embarked on their first European tour. They also contributed a new track called "15 Days" to the benefit album "After the Storm" (NEARfest Records), in support of the survivors of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The band was later featured at the inaugural Festival des Musiques Progressives de Montréal in Quebec, Canada in September 2006.
2008 saw the release of a newly remastered Cowboy Poems Free as well as solo work from Brett Kull. Work was progressing toward a new album at the end of the year with the following working titles for tracks announced:
- Accumulated Blur
- Hey Little Man
- Moments Without Sound
- Some Memorial
- What Comes After(now known as "When Sunday Spills")
- The Cardinal and I
Echolyn continued to tour sporadically through 2009.
The new album, named simply echolyn, was eventually released on June 19, 2012. It was sold as both a double CD and as a limited edition two-disc vinyl release (500 copies). The tracklisting of the album is:
- Locust to Bethlehem
- Some Memorial
- Past Gravity
- When Sunday Spills
- Speaking in Lampblack
- The Cardinal and I
Subsequently, the band released seven additional tracks through Bandcamp, including a live track, a remix of "15 Days", outtakes from the album such as Accumulated Blur and Moments with No Sound, and songs written in the same period as the album but not completed in time, including Crows Fly By and Another Stone.
While the band's style has varied over the years, those influences have been consistently reflected in their music. Intricate guitar leads, unorthodox harmonic structures influenced by modern classical music, and complex contrapuntal vocal passages have remained significant aspects of the musical sound of Echolyn.
The albums they recorded before their 1996 breakup sounded more like "classic" progressive rock, with layered keyboards and extended arrangements. Following their reformation, they have streamlined their style significantly, emphasizing strong, tightly constructed songwriting and more prominent rhythmic grooves, while maintaining much of the subtle sophistication that has caused their music to be labeled "progressive."[original research?]
Their self-titled 2012 double album features extended arrangements, rhythmic complexity and integration of the symphonic, "retro" progressive rock sound heard in their earlier works, while also referencing American styles such as country and blues.
- Ray Weston – vocals, bass
- Brett Kull – guitars, vocals
- Chris Buzby – keyboards, vocals
- Paul Ramsey – drums, percussion
- Tom Hyatt – bass
- Jesse Reyes – bass (on Echolyn)
- Jordan Perlson – percussion (as a full member on Cowboy Poems Free and as a guest musician on mei)
- Echolyn (1991)
- Suffocating the Bloom (1992)
- ...and every blossom (1993)
- As the World (1995)
- When the Sweet Turns Sour (1996)
- To Cry You a Song: A Collection of Tull Tales (contribution) (1996)
- Cowboy Poems Free (2000)
- A Little Nonsense (Now and Then) (2002) (box set)
- mei (2002)
- Progfest '94 (the Official Bootleg) (2002) (released for trading among fans)
- Jersey Tomato, Volume 2 (Live at the Metlar-Bodine Museum) (2004)
- Stars and Gardens, Volume 4 DVD (2004)
- The End Is Beautiful (2005)
- After the Storm: A Benefit Album for the Survivors of Hurricane Katrina (contribution) (2006)
- echolyn (2012)
- Echolyn's Official Website
- Brett Kull's Official Website
- Ray Weston's Official Website
- Stars And Gardens DVD Website
- To cry you a song: a collection of Tull tales – album reviews
- "July 2, 1996, Magna Carta Records, "To Cry You a Song: A Collection of Tull Tales", ASIN B000003ZBA".
- "echolyn - Bandcamp".
- "Crows Fly By - Bandcamp".
- "Progressive World, Echolyn Are Back In The Saddle Again With Cowboy Poems Free".
- "Echolyn album review - Prog Archives".