Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mostly Autumn Says Goodbye To A Family Member

Mostly Autumn has been making a name for themselves since their debut album was released in 1998. The progressive rock band, influenced by the likes of Pink Floyd and Genesis, was blessed with the unmistakable voice of Heather Findlay who sang lead on many of their songs. Her voice, to many around the world, was Mostly Autumn. It came as somewhat of a surprise when she announced that she would be leaving the band to focus on a solo career. The band decided that a proper final show was in order for Heather and for her fans.

This brings us to the release of the live, double CD That Night in Leamington, Heather’s final performance with the band. It captures the April 2, 2010 show at the Leamington Spa; her final farewell. The CD spans their catalog with all studio albums being represented at this performance. One could say that it is almost a greatest hits show. The show opens with “Fading Colours” from their Passengers release. This may seem familiar to fans of the group as they used it to open most shows over the last few years.

Newer selections such as “Flowers for Guns” and standout track “Unoriginal Sin” follow. “The Spirit of Autumn Past” really allows the band to soar. There are quite a few songs that the band is playing for the last time. “Shrinking Violet” is one of those examples. She mentions that it is a very special song that has reached out and touched s many people. The connection between the artist and song is just too intense to let another singer take over the mic and start performing. It’s understandable, yet at the same time it is a shame because “Shrinking Violet” is one of the best songs that the band has ever recorded.

Disc two starts off with “Carpe Diem” from the Storms over Still Water release. It begins with a haunting, yet beautiful piano intro that continues until midway through the song. I think the second disc contains songs of a different nature as they tap into the emotional quality that Heather brought to the songs that will be sorely missed. It also features many of the older staples from the bands repertoire such as the epic 17:36 song “Mother Nature”, “Half the Mountain” and “Nowhere to Hide”.

The final three tracks close the set with, in my opinion, the best of the best. “Above the Blue” is a beautiful song and a very personal one for Heather about losing some of the people in her life that she was close to. This one, along with “Shrinking Violet” will not be played live again. It’s a song simple in arrangement, yet deep and complex in emotion. Two older songs, “Heroes Never Die” and “Evergreen”, finish us out and bring to a close a journey that started well over ten years ago.

Olivia Sparnenn, former backing vocalist for the band, has stepped up to fill the big shoes left empty by Heather’s departure. She is a very talented lady, but time will tell how well she is at filling such a big void being created by Heather’s solo venture.

This album is such a great farewell for her and for the fans. It creates a scrapbook of songs that hold great memories for all of the fans. The recording aspect of this album is top notch. The harmonies really reach out to the listener and help to breach that gap created sometimes between the band and the listener at home on a live recording. This is a great souvenir to all of the fans to capture a truly talented woman’s footprints in the world of music.

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