PROGRESSIVE BLUEGRASS JOINS PROGRESSIVE ROCK AS PART OF THE CUTTING-EDGE
‘MOD PROG’ SERIES FROM UMBRELLO MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
CRUCIAL SMITH, NASHVILLE-BASED PROGRESSIVE BLUEGRASS/NEWGRASS LEGENDS,
SIGN WITH UMBRELLO RECORDS
November 24, 2008 - Umbrello Records is set to release Crucial Smith’s new studio album, working title
‘Unfinished Business,’ in early 2009. The album once again reunites these world-class acoustic musicians
and takes up squarely where Crucial Smith left off.
Crucial Smith is made up of Dave "Doc" Holladay (bass, vocals), Chris Joslin (dobro/banjo), Tim May (guitar, vocals), Gretchen Priest-May (violin/fiddle) and Kyle Wood (mandolin, vocals). Together they create a progressive, contemporary sound reflecting a myriad of influences and showcasing each member’s distinct musical style.
Dave Holladay said this about ‘Unfinished Business’:
"Have you ever wondered what would happen if a bunch of top notch musicians who like to push boundaries and think outside the box were released into the wilds of their own studio without time or budget constraints? Crucial Smith has always carved their own musical path, and this record will continue that trend by again taking the bluegrass/newgrass genre into unexplored territory. The basic rule for this record was "no musical idea left behind" so to speak, and the band really enjoyed trying new directions in writing, vocal arrangements, percussion, and song production.”
The music is undoubtedly in many ways classic Crucial Smith so long- time fans won't be disappointed. In addition, this record offers previously untapped layers of creative energy which transcend genre boundaries and will have an appeal to a wide range of listeners. “It will be immediately obvious how much fun the band had operating with complete musical freedom in the making of this record,” said Holladay.
No tours are planned at this time. However, according to bassist and spokesperson Dave “Doc” Holladay, the band “hasn't ruled out playing some live dates after the new record is released in 2009.”
About Umbrello Records
Umbrello Records is a leading independent record label and part of Umbrello Music Entertainment. Umbrello is home to a diverse family of artists and includes progressive music leaders The Syn (featuring founding member Steve Nardelli), Francis Dunnery (It Bites; Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin’s Fate of Nations world tour, Elton John), and Tom Brislin (Yes Symphonic Tour - replacing Rick Wakeman, Spiraling). In addition to The Syn, the roster includes talented artists Julie Felix (in a collaboration with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin), K2 featuring Allan Holdsworth (U.K., Level 42), Ryo Okumoto (Spock’s Beard), Ken Jaquess (Atlantis), violinist Yvette Devereaux and drummer Doug Sanborn (The Untouchables).
About Umbrello Music Entertainment
UME is an independent producer and distributor of high-quality content for diverse digital entertainment platforms worldwide. The brand also includes Umbrello.tv (http://umbrello.tv).
Steve Sikes-Nova, Senior Media Consultant
Hampton Roads, Virginia, USA
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November 4, 2008
UMBRELLO MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT PAIRS WITH AMAZON.COM
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO DISTRIBUTION AGREEMENT IN PLACE
November 4, 2008, New York – Umbrello Music Entertainment, a leading pioneer in the new
music revolution, has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Amazon.com to deliver
digital content through the online retailer’s video-on-demand service. Through this arrangement,
consumers will have the opportunity to either rent video programming or to purchase it
outright as a video download or hard copy DVD.
Steve Nardelli, Umbrello’s director, describes
Amazon.com as "the perfect strategic partner to
deliver the company's unique video content." This portal mirrors the launch of Umbrello’s
own IPTV station, Umbrello.tv
(http://umbrello.tv), and the short-form video content it
is developing for distribution on the latest internet and video-enabled portable devices. "This
collaboration marks another important step in advancing our digital initiatives and is a great fit
within our overall digital distribution strategy," states Nardelli. "Our goal is to provide access
to our content through the widest possible selection of quality platforms and devices."
The Amazon.com programs have launched with the ‘Mod Prog’ series,
concentrating on content that overviews the emerging progressive music scene of
the 21st Century. First up is the ‘Live in Hollywood’ debut of Los Angeles sensation
K2; the making of the new Syn album ‘Big Sky’; the 14 Hour Technicolour V-band
documentary; and NEARfest concert performances from Prog Mods Wobbler, Frogg Café, The
Muffins, Matthew Parmenter, and many others. The ‘Mod Prog’ series is being developed in
partnership with Philadelphia-based film makers Mobius New Media.
Nardelli, entrepreneur and lead songwriter/vocalist for The Syn, the band that has also included
Chris Squire, Peter Banks and Alan White, and is considered a significant part of the prehistory
of progressive rock supergroup Yes most notably for the progressive influences, explains,
"The Syn’s unique musical style helped fuel the Progressive Modernist Movement and
is the basis for the Mod Prog series. It is a collection of great musicianship and arrangements."
Looking ahead, Umbrello’s content will span across genres from music and sports documentaries
to American film classics and art house productions. "This isn’t the mainstream monoculture
so expect to see a wide range of quality content."
K2 ‘Live in Hollywood’ is now available on Amazon.com (for more information
Ken Jaquess, a multi-instrumentalist for the neo-progressive outfit Atlantis, founded K2 in 2001 and
includes guitar legend Allan Holdsworth (UK, Level 42), keyboardist Ryo Okumoto (Spock's Beard),
Karl Johnson and drummer Doug Sanborn.. Their debut CD Book of the Dead, a concept album based
on the Egyptian Book of the Dead and written by Mr. Jaquess in the old prog tradition, was released in
April 2005 to worldwide acclaim and heralded as a top 10 release by many critics. On January 13,
2006, K2 performed Book of the Dead in their first gig in Hollywood before a packed house.
October 10th, 2008, New York – Critically acclaimed progressive rock act K2 has signed a major distribution deal with Umbrello Music Entertainment. The agreement covers both digital downloads and physical CD distribution worldwide. Included in the deal are the album Book of the Dead, a DVD and their upcoming disc, (working title: Black Garden). This deal is just the latest in a series for Umbrello (a label that is quickly becoming both a progressive rock establishment and a leader in digital and video technologies).
K2 was formed by Ken Jaquess in 2001. Beginning with guitar lessons at age 11, and switching to bass at 13, Jaquess found a desire early on to play unconventional music, far from the path of commercial, radio pop. That desire led him to perform with Newcross (Rain of Thought), Dresden and Atlantis before ultimately creating K2 (“K Squared”).
Book of the Dead was originally released in April of 2005 and received worldwide acclaim, even being heralded as a top 10 release by many critics. Jaquess was joined by drummer Doug Sanborn along with Spock’s Beard keyboardist Ryo Okumoto, vocalist Shaun Guerin, violinist Yvette Devereaux, guitarist John Miner and guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Holdsworth, who was once named by Eddie Van Halen as the best guitarist in the world, is well known for his work in the progressive rock supergroup UK, but has also made a name for himself in fusion. He is a true musicians’ musician.
In response to live gig requests, Jaquess assembled a new line-up to hit the road. Sanborn, Okumoto and Jaquess teamed up with Atlantis guitarist Karl Johnson and vocalist Josh Gleason of The Waiting Room. In January 2006, K2 performed their first gig in Hollywood. The entire Book of the Dead album was performed, along with a few surprises and was filmed live in widescreen. The DVD includes a bonus live video performance from their summer 2006 tour, as well as behind the scenes footage of rehearsals and a photo gallery. This long awaited item will finally see the light of day!
Jaquess is currently working on the new K2 album, which will also be released through Umbrello in early 2009. This deal will allow worldwide distribution of long anticipated material from this vital progressive rock outfit.
About Umbrello Music Entertainment
UME is an independent producer and distributor of high-quality content for diverse digital entertainment platforms worldwide. With production studios in London, Philadelphia and New York, UME’s library of premium short form programming content is extensive with unending content development. UME offers their clients a competitive advantage with unique, attention-grabbing content that gives their viewers more choices. As a video partner, UME works with clients to assess their content needs and develop effective quality programming for maximum impact to their target markets.
The Syn are taking a break from recording the Big Sky album to play a couple
of UK charity shows in October with Francis Dunnery and his Tall Blonde
Helicopter Full Band. Other guests include Soni from Hootie and the
Blowfish; Phil from Motorhead; Dorie Jackson and her band, Phil and Wayne
and possibly Chris Difford. Both shows are almost sold out, so book early if you're interested!
UMBRELLO MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT GETS $12 MILLION IN EXPANSION FUNDING INVESTMENT ENDORSES WORLDWIDE DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION MODEL
June 23, 2008, New York – Pioneering entrepreneur Steve Nardelli, lead writer and vocalist for the legendry ‘60s band
The Syn, has earmarked $12M of a total investment portfolio of $600M to expand the operations of his New York-based
Umbrello Music Entertainment. With this infusion of capital and two major new contracts to add to their growing client
list, UME is now in a prime situation to solidify a leading market position.
Umbrello Music Entertainment is working with production house Edpic to supply targeted video and music content to Nokia,
the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile telephones, and to Amazon.com, the major online retailer. These agreements
will be further supported by Umbrello’s record label and Umbrello.tv.
Nardelli states that Umbrello will offer a true alternative to mainstream chart music and video.
"Through our global digital portal agreements, we will supply quality broadcast content to a worldwide
audience of millions."
"Steve identifies change before change happens," says UK billionaire Mike Ashley who partnered with Nardelli
to purchase and re-build Donnay, a leading manufacturer of sports racquets. The Donnay brand became a cornerstone
of Sports Direct bringing their company forward into international retail superstardom.
Nardelli has started to invest the bulk of the $600M into property development projects in the UK with an emphasis
on "green and planet friendly" social housing developments through his Evergreen Homes Company.
About Umbrello Music Entertainment
UME is an independent producer and distributor of high-quality content for diverse digital entertainment platforms
worldwide. With production studios in London, Philadelphia and New York, UME’s library of premium short form programmes
is extensive with unending additions. UME offers their clients a competitive advantage with unique, attention-grabbing
content that gives their viewers more choices. As a video partner, UME works with clients to assess their needs and develop effective quality programming for maximum impact to their target markets.
14 HOUR TECHNICOLOUR DREAM: THE VIRTUAL BAND
Another Cutting-Edge Music Project sponsored by Steve Nardelli (The Syn)
March 2, 2008 — As a founding member of the classic British ‘60s psych band The Syn - which has undergone a rebirth as a “prog modernist” band in the new millennium - Steve Nardelli has shown himself to be a true innovator on many different levels. Not only does The Syn have a brand new CD entitled Big Sky in the works for 2008 with a new core lineup consisting of
Nardelli, Francis Dunnery (It Bites; The Robert Plant Band) and Tom Brislin (keyboardist for the Yes: Symphonic Tour; Meatloaf, Debbie Harry, and his own band Spiraling), but Nardelli has another unique Web 2.0 project underway as well: 14 Hour Technicolour Dream: The Virtual Band
THE FUTURE (OF THE SYN) WILL BE TELEVISED
New core lineup announced as Brislin, Dunnery and Nardelli
February 24th, 2008 — As a founder of TheONETV and founding member of the band The
Syn, Steve Nardelli has always shown himself to be a true innovator on many different levels.
With the recording of the new Syn CD (Big Sky) Nardelli takes that spirit of innovation to a new
plateau. The recording process of the album is going to be filmed and televised via IPTV
broadcast and mobile telephones world-wide. Music fans will have an intimate, inside
experience—a concept that is sure to take off so remember where it originated.
Nardelli is the lead singer, songwriter and overall "main man" of The Syn. In the past, The Syn
has included Yes members Chris Squire, Pete Banks and Alan White in its ranks, and currently
boasts a lineup that is every bit as impressive. Nardelli is joined by Francis Dunnery on guitar and
vocals and Tom Brislin on keys and vocals. Dunnery is probably best known for his work in the
legendary band It Bites and for his great solo work. He also played in Robert Plant's band (the
Led Zeppelin connection continues with Umbrello Records featuring John Paul Jones on their up-
coming Julie Felix release). Tom Brislin was the very talented keyboardist for Yes on their
symphonic tour and not only has worked with Meatloaf and Debbie Harry but also has his own
band called Spiraling, which has developed quite a following. The Syn will also be joined on the
new album by a number of very notable guest performers.
The CD release will mark the launch of Nardelli's US operation. His new company—based in
New York—is Umbrello Music Entertainment. UME's main focus will be delivering quality
music via such Web 2.0 portals as IPTV, mobile telephone and multi-digital download.
"Technology is transforming the industry." says Nardelli. "You can either be a part of it or sit
back and watch. Either way, it's going to change the way music is presented from here on out."
In step with his innovative style, Nardelli will lend his vocal and songwriting talents to "14 Hour
Technicolour Dream: The Virtual Band." This side-project will feature the talents of many
individual musicians working together—virtually—from locations throughout the USA.
Participants signed onto the project thus far include Umbrello Records recording artists Kurt
Michaels and Anton Roolaart, the California-based indie band The Tomorrowes, and both indie
recording artist/producer Kevin Still and vocalist/project executive producer Steve Sikes-Nova.
14HRTD:TVB is currently underway with plans to have its first Nardelli-penned song ready for
release around the same time that Big Sky will be released worldwide.
TheProgFiles.com | In Review - ANTON ROOLAART / DREAMER
Imagine if you will. As far fetched as it may seem, dig deep into the resources of your creativity and conjure up the image of a hip school of progressive rock music. Now venture beyond the doors of this lofty institution and surprise yourself with the best teachers on the planet. Jon Anderson is there teaching his class on proper phrasing and creative melody writing. Peter Gabriel & Steve Howe share the instruction on musical dramatics & tasteful blending in compositions. Steve Hackett lectures in the room next door, today he has special guest Joe Satriani enlightening the more advanced students on not sacrificing technique for accessibility. Roger Waters throws the text books out and bestows the gift of absence in music on his impressionable audience. Training the young musicians that sometimes it is the notes that you DON'T play that bring the music to life. Finally, what may seem like an odd course to the outsider, for the graduating student is David Bowie's class on bringing all of the education home in order to craft music that the masses would enjoy.
Now picture the valedictorian, his name is Anton Roolaart. Graduating at the top of his class, he is brought up to the pulpit to give his crowning speech. However, the school administration stripped him of his honors as an example to all the other hopefuls. They simply sent Anton on his way with only one explanation "now that you have learned all that we can teach you, you must go and find your own way"...
...and that's exactly what Roolaart did. He learned from the best, watching every move, every structure and every piece of advice that could be consumed by our prog greats. Then he took those lessons and spent all the time needed to make the music his very own. With patience, blood, sweat and tears the hours turned to days and the days turned to years. What we have now is the music we didn't know we were waiting for. Music with such a creative spark and freshness that you will wonder how you got along without it.
Simply put, Dreamer has made it's way past my "review" pile and comfortably sits on a cycle of frequently listened to discs. I lost the CD once as it made a seemingly harmless trip from my studio to my car. It was only absent for a day, but it was a day of panic. I cant be without this album, I'd buy it again and again if I ever did lose it. Very, VERY few CDs hold the same honor.
Anton's arrangements are both tasteful and technical. Not an easy thing to accomplish. I found myself discovering new things in the music each time I listened. Like digging a new hole in the backyard only to discover treasure. The opening track takes you on a journey you cant help but fall victim to. With the gardenesque piece that transitions the beginning, it's as if I was swept away to be brought inside the foyer where Anton performs the piano interlude. Moments like these are rampant through the whole CD. It's also interesting to note that Roolaart will change the meter not just for progressive reasons, but with INTENTION. Every note is paid attention to, not one passage is wasted. The songs individually are works of art, put together the entire CD is worthy of meaningful appreciation. Roolaart's mind didn't stop with the music, even the CD insert is intriguing in it's layout.
Here's my only complaint... lyrics... Obviously the words are very personal to Roolaart. Although his voice is at times lacking, he has complete control over it. He knows his limitations and his strengths, maintaining an appealing charm to every vocal phrasing. He has put thought and invention into all aspects of this CD, but what happened to some of the lyrics? Did he run out of time, did it not matter, do the lyrics mean that much to him that the thought of changing them was simply never allowed to be considered? Mind you, not all the lyrics are this way. Symbolism and deeper meaning are evident with songs like Near or Far, On the Afterglow & Dreamer. But Anton seemed to drop the ball with Scary Monsters when he wrote "the empty feeling now baby" & "just hang on a little tighter now". Even Mid Summer's Day suffers from elementary lyrics as does Manon with it's trite "Cool cafe's, we walked the night away". However, this CD is still amazing and it's few lyrical problems is the only reason it lost half-a-star on my rating.
I get the overwhelming sense that I'm witnessing something extraordinary with his music. Roolaart crafts his rock with focus and mindful scope of its entirety. Not just simply writing filler to build up to a keyboard highlight (which he is incredible at) or building up parts just to support a ripping guitar solo (which he also excels at). Chock full of memorable songs, Dreamer is certain to hold a place in prog rock history as the standard for musical pursuit in this fine genre.