What do you get when you cram five master musicians of divergent styles together in one band? In the case of Avalon Rising, the answer is: MAGIC.
To say they're the world's foremost practitioners of Celtic/Medieval progressive rock could be meaningless, given the scanty membership of the genre - until you factor in just how damn good they are. Hearing them perform, one is hard-put to say just what kind of music they're playing - just that it rocks, it screams, it soars, it whispers. Elements of Classical, Celtic folk, French Medieval, psychedelic jam band and funk interweave, conflict, and finally coalesce into a stunning, surprising whole. One hears echoes of Loreena McKennit, Dead Can Dance, the Grateful Dead, Fairport Convention, and the Pentangle.
They're a motley assemblage. There's the beautiful Flower Princess on harp (not the harmonica, the big wooden thing with all the strings) who also plays flute and recorder and sings in a sweet, classically trained soprano. Then there's the blonde goddess in black velvet, sensuously bowing a purple, cat-headed 5-string electric violin. Does life get any better
than this? But wait - in front of a stack of tie-dyed amplifiers, in a bowler hat and John Cippolina t-shirt, pulling a stream of howling, lyrical, psychedelic riffs from a sparkly purple Stratocaster, is a genial bearded hobbit-man who sings in a honeyed tenor. Behind them all sullenly lurk the bassist and drummer, two candidates for Queer Eye who seem to think
they're backing up James Brown or The Clash.
Avalon Rising's new album, their second, is called STORMING HEAVEN. Clocking in at a CD-maxing 74 minutes, it includes just about everything you're likely to hear in their current live show, with no less than 6 full-out Celtic rock tune-sets wherein a never-ending assortment ofjigs, reels, and other traditional dance tunes are stuck together end to end and raced through like a Hummer on a Grand Prix course, knocking bricks off buildings and smashing statuary along the way. Songs include the lilting Irish Do You Love An Apple, the mystically psychedelic originals Jack Daw and Turning In Time, Papa John Phillips' lost masterpiece Dancing Bear and a handful of traditional British Isles songs.
"...Meet your new arbiters of cool: Avalon Rising, the Bay Area's finest Celtic-prog band...Avalon Rising plays bright, bouncy Celtic pop - lotsa tunes about shires and maidens and chimney sweeps - with a dark undercurrent of technically precise trickiness, as though the Jethro Tull dudes had been sneaking into rehearsals...The chops and the songwriting on the band's latest, Storming Heaven. are stellar indeed..." - Rob Harvila, Music Editor, East Bay Express
"...Bands like Avalon Rising are few and far between...Storming Heaven is a jewel, plain and simple...Wonderful vocals by Margaret Davis and Kristoph Klover... This is a seriously talented band - and after 10 years and hundreds if not thousands of shows, they are a tightly knit group of friends. The interaction is seamless on every track, leading to a perfect album. And with 15 cuts, you're getting your money's worth! ...Avalon Rising plays a lot of festivals and was chosen as the band for the official Lord of the Rings fan club Oscar party in Hollywood - if you needed any more proof of how good they are, there you go...one of the year's best! Highly recommended." - Michael Sullivan, Editor-Publisher, Here and There Ezine
"They are loud, they work hard and they are GOOD! They rocked Pantheacon with a 2-hour concert - supreme musicianship from all, but especially Margaret Davis. She plays flute, recorder, harp like a demoness, and she sings! How can a single person have so many talents! - Richard Man, musician, fan
"Avalon Rising inject traditional balladry with a churning rhythm section and a few sprightly touches of good old prog rock to create a sound that's a mixture of Tubular Bells, Dead Can Dance and that song Pippin sings in the film version of Return of the King. ... Storming Heaven is hot off the presses and full of Celtic-jammy vim and vigor." - Sara Bir, North Bay Bohemian
MARGARET DAVIS - vocal, harp, flute, recorders
Margaret wishes she'd been born in the twelfth century, where she would have sung, played the harp, flutes, and recorders...Coincidentally, that's what she does in Avalon Rising. Brocade is extra, as are gossamer wings.
KRISTOPH KLOVER - vocals, electric guitar, 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars, octave mandolin
Kristoph's real name is Bill. Don't ever use it - you've been warned.
CAT TAYLOR - electric violin, vocals, bodhran
Cat likes bags, but they' ve got to be black. Her stage gear takes up at least of dozen of them. When she's not busy packing or unpacking...well, frankly, that's about all there's time for. Call us next week.
MARK UNGAR - vocals, electric bass, mandocello, doumbek
Orphaned at birth by a pair of itinerant Neanderthals, Mark hibernated through the ensuing ice age until he was revived in 1973, just in time for the Second Disco Era. His love of the bass can be traced to a subconscious feeling that, with its size and heft, it'd make a dandy mammoth whacker.
SCOTT IRWIN - drums
Scott blah blah blah drums blah blah blah beer blah blah blah blah would you please speak up? Blah blah blah blah since he was thirteen. Not valid in some states, tax and license extra.