2004 was a bittersweet year for Bryan Vallon (Guitar/Vox), Robby Dean (Drums/Vox) and Nathan Webb (Bass) of Call Me Ishmael. They parted ways with their keyboardist, locked themselves in a recording studio for nine months, played just enough shows to put a roof over their heads, and managed to bag two awards at the Sacramento Area Music Awards (SAMMIES); one for Best Rock and one for Best In Show.
Known for their unique style of psychedelic rock music, Call Me Ishmael have gained many fans since they formed in 2001. Onstage, the guys are as exciting to watch as they are to hear. Their explosive live shows never fail to draw a crowd. Vallon's guitar skills are impressive to say the least. His vocals, which range from raspy whispers to piercing screams are reminiscent of Billy Corgan with a splash of Jeff Buckley. Dean's energetic drumming has earned him the reputation of being one of the best drummers in Sacramento. His melodic vocals provide the perfect backdrop for Vallon's versatile vocals. Webb's unforgettable Beatles-esq bass lines add to the unmistakable Call Me Ishmael sound.
The band takes pride in everything they do, from their music to their artwork. If you have lived in Sacramento within the past four years, chances are you've seen one of Call Me Ishmael's trademark flyers around town - they are sometimes paintings, sometimes drawings, sometimes collages, but always intricate and eye-grabbing. The band is modest, too. Ask them who writes the music and they will reply, "Call Me Ishmael." Ask them who designed the album artwork and they will reply, "Call Me Ishmael". There is a real sense of unity, with no single member taking the credit.
The band's third album, Lyra & The New Moon (CMI Recordings), is a 54-minute feast of beauty, love, sadness and angst that can only be described as a rock opera. The cover is a collage of statues against a violet sky filled with butterflies. The image is striking and symbolic of the band's music, which is full of visual imagery.
Call Me Ishmael have the ability to produce music that is diverse yet distinctly their own. "Ballad of You" is a strong opener with its infectiously catchy chorus and memorable bass lines. "Picturesque" is beautiful and spin-chilling with Pink Floyd-ish harmonies. Radio-worthy "Alex" is a fast-paced punk rock song that will have any music fan nodding their head. "Citizen Of Hope" is dark and medieval with its looming piano and drums. On "Graves In A Maze", Vallon sounds like John Lennon circa Imagine , yet the samples give the song a modern feel.
March 18 marks the beginning of Call Me Ishmael's thirty-five date national tour. What with this and the release of their eagerly-awaited album, it looks like 2005 is going to be Call Me Ishmael's year.