Focus or Blinders
Unique blending of rock, classical influences, and folk music. Progressive Rock Unique blending of rock, classical influences, and folk music; Ancient Vision utilizes strong writing concepts as a back drop for their intriguing, solid performance. Both lyrically and musically, Ancient Vision pushes the envelope of self expression, while maintaining their sense of playing within their firm framework. Strong ensemble interaction keeps Ancient Vision exciting, solid, and fresh. Ancient Vision was formed around 198485. Tom May (group leader) had been writing music for quite sometime when he decided to form a group to record. He felt that a band effort was more productive, as it offered other viewpoints on the arrangements and production of the music. The original group consisted of Tom May - keyboards & guitar, Barry Spry - bass, and Russ Gross - guitar. This formation worked with programmed drum machines and computers for their percussion section. They rehearsed in an abandoned recording studio inside a cave in Independence, Mo. About a year went by when the group decided to record the music that was to become their first release 'Vision'. At about the same time, Spry, quite by accident, struck up a friendship with Jethro Tull bassist Dave Pegg. 'Tull' had been one of May's biggest influences, so after discussing where to record their first CD, they decided, for fun and quality of recording, to do it at Dave Pegg's 'Woodworm Studio' in Barford, England. As the group discussed the future recording with Tim Matyear (engineer at Woodworm), they decided it would be best to utilize a 'real' drummer. Rob Leytham was given the music to rehearse and quickly became part of the band. The only missing piece was a vocalist that could sing powerfully, accurately, and with the proper emotion that the music demanded. After a few disastrous auditions, it occurred to both Gross and May that the perfect singer for the group was fellow musician Tom Hook, whom they had played with in a 'cover' band. They were so convinced of his talent that there was never an audition or rehearsal! So, in July of 1988, Ancient Vision went to England and, in a very short two weeks, recorded and final mixed the entire album 'Vision'. In retrospect, with such a short time available, the group feels that this was successful due to their previous hard work at rehearsals, Hook's incredible natural ability, and the entire groups willingness to listen to the experienced (although quite young!) Tim Matyear's suggestions and direction. The group also attributes the fine quality ale's and stout's served at the local pub for their tenacity! As the group was (and still is) completely self promoted, they had to come up with the money to put the master tape into a sellable CD package. With help and advise from various supporters, 'Vision' was released in early 1990. Upon completion and distribution through some of the 'underground' record distributors, Ancient Vision found that they had a small following (mainly in Europe). They also performed live a few times in the Kansas City, Mo. area with a surprisingly enthusiastic response from people of all ages and walks of life. With the limited but surprising success of 'Vision', Tom May decided to produce another albums worth of music. This time the music, although still written from the heart, was written and arranged from a 'group' viewpoint. Joe Allen, who had been running sound for the bands live performances, was added as the groups main keyboardist. Joe brought to the group a wonderful understanding of 'how things fit together', along with his fine keyboard playing. With over two hours of new music available, Ancient Vision set out to record their newest album to date 'Focus or Blinders'. This time they recorded the album at one of the local, high quality, recording facilities in their hometown of Kansas City. 'West End Recording' provided them with the perfect facility from an equipment perspective, but they felt they still wanted to use Tim Matyear for the engineer. He understood the musical direction of the band. Tim was very enthusiastic about this, and in August of 1993, flew over to start production for the new album. The recording went fine with over two hours of 'finished product'. Some rich background vocals by Debbie Brown and tasty alto sax parts by Steve Phillips were added. Then the band took a long overdue rest. Getting that quantity of music recorded and mixed to their much higher degree of production expectations had taken it's toll on all involved. During late 1993early 1994 the band listened to the finished product and decided which songs would fit conceptually best in the normal length of time for a CD. Upon listening though, May decided that, although impeccably recorded, there was something missing from his original conception of the music for this album. So, with much help from Joe Allen, and the wonders of modern day technology, over the next few months additional guitar and keyboard parts (including some solo's) were either added to the original final mixes done by Matyear, or re-recorded and mixed with the owner of the recording studio, Mike Miller. Now they had the sound they were looking for. A much 'slicker' recorded and produced album than 'Vision'. With beautiful art work provided by professional artist Mario Baert (Netherlands), 'Focus or Blinders' was ready to go to press. Once again the capitol for final CD production was found, and in early 1995, 'Focus or Blinders' was released. 'Focus or Blinders' has brought Ancient Vision an album that can proudly be compared to any 'major studio' production. The reviews and comments have spoken of the rich textures of the music. The overall maturity that the band has grown into. The simplistic more 'songish' feel that the complex arrangements have taken on. With their credo of: 'Respecting the Past. Experiencing the Present. Creating the Future.', Ancient Vision is looking forward to the future of their 'Vision'