Photo by Gary Box
She began playing keyboards as a small child, her grandmother noticing she was playing “These Boots are Made for Walking'” the Nancy Sinatra hit, on her toy Magnus Chord Organ. Later sought out by shopping malls and department stores as a young girl, she started writing her own songs and designing her own ‘album covers.’ This led and inspired her for her future careers, which also include graphic design.
Not only a fan of progressive music such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Genesis, and others, the hometown boys Kansas played a big part in her influential years, as well.
Before setting out for her initial record contract, she collaborated with Gilli Smyth of “Gong” on a self-released ‘tape’ titled “Dreamscapes.” “Dreamscapes” was released by the U.S.- arm of Voiceprint, and soon after, she began label shopping for a longer-lasting deal.
A composer and keyboardist, LaRue became the first female artist signed to the Sound of America Records label (SOAR) Natural Visions sublabel. Her debut release was titled “Beloved Tribal Women,” produced by Will Alexander (keyboard tech to Geoff Downes, Herbie Hancock, and many other great keyboard players). The CD also received accolades for being a first in combining art with music. The CD booklet featured 14 paintings by the most awarded female Native American artist in the world, Joan Hill. The idea was, “A picture paints a thousand words,” so naturally, the music was instrumental, letting the art inspire the listener. Since, she has released “Children’s Songs in the Cherokee Language,” “That Ol’ Sofkee Spoon,” “Ama,” “Transformation 2012,” “World Class” released as Lisa LaRue Project 2K9, “Fast and Blue”, “Sussuration” with 2KX, “Beautiful Life” and “Sonic Landscapes” with Federico Fantacone.
“World Class” became known as one of the first projects recorded long distance via internet-transfer. The title was inspired by the fact that the participants in the project were located all around the world, including Belgium and the UK. The project, known as Lisa LaRue Project 2K9 became the basis for a permanent band, Lisa LaRue 2KX which included extensive work with co-producer, vocalist and guest bassist John Payne (Asia featuring John Payne, GPS, Dukes of the Orient), and guest appearances by Saga vocalist Michael Sadler.
Lisa has also appeared on recordings by others, including Oliver Wakeman Band guitarist, David Mark Pearce (“Strange Ang3ls” album), Head Transfer Process (Stargazer), Esquire with Nikki Squire (“Stay Low”), Don Schiff, Ryo Okumoto, Oliver Wakeman, Steve Gresswell, Quester and Beyond the Labyrinth.
LaRue was nominated for a Hollywood Music Award in 2008, and was also awarded the Oklahoma Music Awards “Native American Artist of the Year.” Her band 2KX was nominated as Instrumental Band of the Year in 2011 by the Los Angeles Music Awards.
She is married to singer/songwriter/producer and engineer John Baker, who is the lead vocalist and guitarist for Life After Mars, and lead vocalist for LA-based progressive rock band Forever Twelve, formerly with The Little Girls, Christian Love (The Beach Boys), Harvey Sid Fisher and Mars Hollow.
Origins – Lisa LaRue (TBA 2018)
Origins Digital Booklet and Liner Notes ( Download )
Sussuration – 2KX (2014)
Sonic Landscapes with Federico Fantacone (2014)
Beautiful Life Fingerwoven (2011)
Fast and Blue – Lisa LaRue 2KX (2011)
World Class – Lisa LaRue Project 2K9 (Fingerwoven and MALS, Ltd.) (2009)
Transformation 2012 )Fingerwoven) (2008)
Ama (Voices of the Shuka) (Fingerwoven) (2008)
That Ol’ Sofkee Spoon with John “Yafke” Timothy (Fingerwoven and Oyate Music) (2003)
Children’s Songs in the Cherokee Language (Cherokee Nation CRC) (2001)
Beloved Tribal Women (Sound of America / Natural Visions) (1994)
Dreamscapes (Voiceprint US)
No Spare Planet – Esquire (Nikki Squire) (2016)
Stargazer – Head Transfer Process (2012)
Strange Ang3ls – David Mark Pearce (2011)
Djam Karet was founded in 1984, and continue making new music even to this day, 33 years later! So far … they have released 18 full-length albums, including the newest release Sonic Celluloid (as well as an additional 24 minor releases and EPs and compilations, see the discography). The California-based instrumental group has often been called America’s greatest undiscovered band. Compared by the press with King Crimson, Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Ozric Tentacles and Porcupine Tree, they are credited with breathing new life into progressive rock, leading the way to the genre’s future growth. Impressively, such high praise comes from widely divergent sources; Djam Karet has been written up in mainstream music publications such as BILLBOARD and ROLLING STONE, and in prestigious musician-oriented publications such as ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN, KEYBOARD, CD REVIEW, and GUITAR PLAYER, and also in numerous magazines, fanzines and webzines published for the indie/non-commercial rock communities. They have also scored numerous TV shows on ESPN, ABC-TV, and other networks, as well as many small film projects and commercials. RELIX Magazine recently noted that Djam Karet, “has always been the ultimate jam band…just a little ahead of its time.” EXPOSE’ asserted that Djam Karet was “…arguably the most important band of the last decade, and certainly the most unique” and placed the band “at the forefront of their instrumental genre”. Put simply by NEW AGE VOICE: “Djam Karet is no ordinary band. They gobble up myriad influences…including New Age, fusion, hard rock, electronic music, world, blues, even surf music…and metamorphose them into fascinating musical hybrids. They have never made the same album twice.” With the release of their newest release, Sonic Celluloid, Djam Karet makes their strongest statement yet and shows the world their uncompromising drive and vision.
Djam Karet was founded in 1984 by guitarists Gayle Ellett and Mike Henderson, bassist Henry J. Osborne, and drummer Chuck Oken, Jr. They chose as the band’s name an Indonesian word (pronounced ‘jam care-RAY) that translates loosely as “elastic time”. Early Djam Karet was a proto-“jam band” whose live, totally improvised performances on the southern California/LA area college circuit featured a free-form mixture of guitar-dominated instrumental rock and textural Eastern drone music, as on their 1985 release No Commercial Potential. Djam Karet’s mode of working and repertoire gradually expanded beyond improvisation to include compositional elements, field recordings, and studio work. In 1987 the band released The Ritual Continues, which was chosen “Number 2 Album Of The Year” by ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN magazine. Two years later, they released Reflections From The Firepool, which received ROLLING STONE’s accolade of ” Number 2 Independent Album Of The Year”.
In 1991, the band released two separate CDs at the same time: Burning The Hard City and Suspension & Displacement which “showcased the band’s two extreme split personalities…The former was a bone-crushing excursion into heavy power rock with anarchistic guitar solos, and the latter was a brilliant diary of dark, eerie ambient soundscapes.” (EXPOSE’). Three years later in 1994, Djam Karet released the CD Collaborator, with guests musicians: Jeff Greinke, Kit Watkins, Marc Anderson, Steve Roach, Carl Weingarten, and many others.
As the 20th Century drew to a close, Djam Karet signed with Cuneiform Records and entered a period of unprecedented creative productivity that only accelerated as the 21st century dawned. It began working on new releases for Cuneiform, initiated a program to repackage and reissue its back catalog on Cuneiform, and began playing live on the festival circuit. Live shows were performed at Day Zero for 1999’s ProgDay (San Francisco); at NEARfest 2001, progressive rock’s premier US showcase; ProgWest 2001 (Claremont) and at 2002’s ProgDay (North Carolina). Throughout the years they have also contributed music to 10 compilation releases, both here and in Europe. Many of those tunes are available nowhere else.
When Cuneiform released its first Djam Karet CD in 1997 titled The Devouring, INNERVIEWS noted that Djam Karet is “back with a vengeance, one hell of an album”. SPACE.com applauded their expanded sound featuring more keyboards: “As if the band’s earlier music hadn’t already scorched the ceilings of heaven, this new sonic incarnation burned like a stellar nova.” In 1998, Djam Karet performed on the West and East Coasts, recordings a live album for Cuneiform titled Live At Orion, released in 1999, that was applauded as “one of the best live recordings that I’ve heard” and was chosen as “Top 10 Album of 1999” by EXPOSE’ Magazine. The band began to do more work in the studio, resulting in the 2001 release of New Dark Age (Cuneiform) and also the Limited Edition CD release Ascension. Numerous critics called New Dark Age Djam Karet’s best to date. In the words of PROGRESSION: “This may be the best Djam Karet recording yet, which is a mouthful, considering that the band’s now-voluminous output is amply studded with gems. Their brilliant synthesis of abstract mind-trip and concrete butt-kick is at an all-time high here. Sonically, …it is simply masterful. This is one of the major releases of the year.”
Around the same time as New Dark Age’s release, and complementary to its work with Cuneiform, Djam Karet launched a series of self-released CD-Rs, reissues, and limited edition CDs for its fans. Within two years, the band had self-released numerous CD projects, including recordings made at New York City’s The Knitting Factory, an on-air performance recorded at KCRW-FM, and other archival performances. Out of this creative renaissance arose A Night For Baku. As a distillation of their musical visions across 20 years, A Night For Baku is indeed a diamond in Djam Karet’s oeuvre, a true Djam Karet “classic”, and featured the addition of new band member Aaron Kenyon on bass. The title derives from Japanese folklore: the Baku are mythical inhabitants of the dream world, valiant warriors who devour nightmares as the spoils of battle. The CD features Djam Karet using more keyboards and electronics and collaborating on one track with Electronic musician Steve Roach, who worked previously with the band on Collaborator.
It is this new line up as a quintet that created Recollection Harvest, one of their best and most melodic albums. Actually two albums on one CD, Recollection Harvest is divided into two chapters. The first-half is filled with their most melodic and jazzy music released so far, with a strong focus on composition and tight arrangements, Mellotrons, and soulful guitar melodies. The second-half, titled Indian Summer, features a collection of compositions colored with beautiful acoustic guitars and analog synths and showcases their more atmospheric side.
In 2009 the band was flown to the Bordeaux area of France to headline the annual Crescendo Festival. Held in a huge grassy field right on the beach, this three-day progressive rock concert took place with great weather and fantastic music by all involved. With free camping and a bohemian atmosphere, this was one of the group’s most enjoyable gigs. To achieve a fuller and more massive live sound, the group acquired new member Mike Murray on guitar, allowing Gayle Ellett to focus more exclusively on keyboards. When they returned to the States they decided to record The Heavy Soul Sessions in 2010, to better document their current live sound. In order to achieve a more lively and dynamic sound, all of the music was performed live-in-studio without any overdubs and no compressors or limiters were used during the recording process. This gives the CD a sound that is very dynamic, punchy and powerful, where the drums and bass are crystal clear and aggressive, and the guitars and keyboards are warm and inviting, and clearly demonstrates the broad and varied world that is Djam Karet.
In 2011, they formed a record label called Firepool Records s in order to showcase some of the side projects of the band members (Hillmen, Henderson/Oken) and to also bring a spotlight to other their USA all instrumental progressive bands (Herd of Instinct, Spoke Of Shadows). They have released 6 CDs to date!
In 2013, they released The Trip which was their first studio album of all-new music in eight years! It features one single 47-minute long track, a psychedelic journey through your mind’s eye, the soundtrack of a trip to places both familiar and otherworldly. This album was widely heralded and was chosen as “#6 Album Of The Year” by the listeners of Gagliarchives FM-Radio Show.
In 2014 the group began celebrating their 30th anniversary together!! To mark this epic moment in time, the group has released their 17th album, titled Regenerator 3017. Filled with all-new music, memorable melodies, wailing guitar solos, fusiony grooves, Minimoogs and mellotrons, and more, it showcases a band at their fiery best!
In 2017 they released their most melodic album, Sonic Celluloid. Relating to the idea of “sound as cinema”, this collection of 10 tracks demonstrates the group’s ability to create “mini-movies in your mind”. With more acoustic instruments, and more Minimoogs and mellotrons then on any previous album, Sonic Celluloid is their best produced and best sounding album to date.
Throughout the year 2017, we will see the band re-releasing re-mastered versions of older albums, as they begin work on yet another album! Stay tuned for updates.
For more info and the band’s label and online shop
Progressive rock band, Ten Jinn, was formed in the beginning of 1991 by John Paul Strauss and Jimmy Borel. Their first CD, Wildman (produced by brothers Ken and Ivor Francis) was recorded during the next couple of years and, after a good deal of delay punctuated by the band doing a good deal of live performance, the record was finally released in 1996. The years between 1993 and 1996 saw a lot of musicians come and go from the band, but by the time they were invited to perform at the “kick-off” party at Baja Prog in Mexicali, Mexico in 1998, the line up consisted of John Paul Strauss on lead vocals and keyboards, Mark Wickliffe on drums and backing vocals, Bob Niemeyer on keyboards and backing vocals, Mike Matier on guitar and guitar-synthesizer, Matt Overholtzer on bass and Chapman Stick, and Stan Whitaker in the second guitar spot as a guest performer.
Partially as a result of the performance at Baja Prog 1998, Stan Whitaker discovered that not only had the fan base for his 1970s progressive rock band, Happy The Man, not diminished, but had in fact grown and flourished in the underground prog-rock scene. This prompted Stan to get HTM boys back together for a new release. Meanwhile, Ten Jinn, off the heady experience of rave reviews for their Baja Prog debut performance, redoubled their efforts and recorded the band’s second CD, As on a Darkling Plain, which was picked up for distribution in America by InsideOut Records and, in Europe, by Sweden Rock Records.
The year 1999 saw a further rise in the band’s popularity with performances once again at Baja Prog, this time on the big stage at Teatro Del Estato. The second CD, which had been out just a few months prior, was receiving great reviews, and with a strong live show, as well, the band was invited to be one of the headliners at Prog Day, later that year in North Carolina. The years 1999 and 2000 saw Ten Jinn gigging constantly up and down the West Coast from San Diego to Los Angeles to San Francisco. However, Stan Whitaker was soon to leave the band permanently, and move back to Maryland, where he continued to work bandmates from Happy The Man on a new CD, as well as with his new band, Oblivion Sun.
In 2001 the boys were back in the studio again, recording tracks for their third release, Alone, at Ken Francis’ studio, Babaji’s Cave, when Strauss decided to move to Sweden, where the second CD seemed to be doing rather better than it had been in the States, as well as for personal reasons. It was at this time, Strauss teamed up with Ken Skoglund, who took over Stan Whitaker’s guitar duties, and with the CD partially in-the-bag by the LA crew, the recording, mix, and mastering was completed at Skoglund’s Studio, “Sound Control Sweden,” located in Skutskär, Sweden, just North of Stockholm. Alone was released on Sweden Rock Records in 2003 and once again, John was out gigging with another line-up, this time with a group of Swedish musicians, which included Skoglund as the main guitarist.
Strauss returned to the States a few years later in 2004 and, once again took a break from live-performance, to get an M.M. (Master’s of Music) degree in theory and composition. The culmination of this was a symphonic poem Sisyphus (composed for piano and string orchestra). Shortly after receiving his Master’s degree, Strauss did a several-year homesteading stint after which he returned to music and reworked Sisyphus, which the band recorded for Ten Jinn’s fourth release. Appearing on this record are band members John Strauss, Mark Wickliffe, Mike Matier, and Ken Skoglund, along with several guest musicians. Available only as a download as of January 2017, Sisyphus marked the band’s first release in 13 years; however, now under the auspices of Melodic Revolution Records CDs will also be available in May 2018.
John Paul Strauss: Lead and backing vocals, Keyboards
Mark Wickliffe: Drums, Bass & backing vocals
Ken Skoglund: Guitars & backing vocals
Mike Matier: Guitars
Sisyphus ( May 2018)
As On A Darkling Plane (1999)
MYSTERY is a cutting-edge progressive rock band from Montreal Quebec. After 9 albums released, the Canadian group has become one of the most popular and respected Progressive Rock Band in the world
With concerts all over the world and having its Lead singer chosen to become the lead singer of Legendary Progressive Rock Band YES. MYSTERY has created a unique and enchanting world with their sophisticated symphonic rock sound.
Recording albums over the years with guest musicians like Daryl Stuermer ( Genesis, Phil Collins) Nick D’Virgillio ( Tears for Fear, Spock’s Beard) Richard Lanthier (April Wine) and more, the MYSTERY Live Band always delivers a stunning live show with music that reaches the heart of fans worldwide
We are thrilled to announce three more artists whose music we are adding to the radio station.
Artist No 1. Jason-Rubenstein
Progressive rock and ambient keyboardist. Influenced by heavy progressive rock and old synthesizers, Jason creates modern, heavy instrumental music.
The style is loud, heavy, melodic, complicated, and modern.
Jason Rubenstein has been writing and producing music since 1995.
Jason Rubenstein’s music has been heard on National Public Radio, NBC Television, Soma.fm, and in the film “Replicant”. In 2000, he was featured in an EQ magazine article “Adventures in Sound Design”, and his sound design was used in ABC’s television series “Lost”. In May of 2016, Jason released an EP titled “Four Named Narratives”.
Jasons latest album Four Points Of Focus is available for pre-order below
Artist No 2. The Aaron Clift Experiment
The Aaron Clift Experiment is a dynamic progressive rock band based in Austin, Texas. The group’s multi-faceted sound is an innovative blend of classic rock, modern rock, and classical all anchored by the band’s dedication to high-quality songwriting and musicianship.
“Intricate and subtle yet with raw passion at its heart, The Aaron Clift Experiment is one of the most exciting and interesting bands currently writing and playing music today,” said Martin Hutchinson of Progradar after first hearing the group. Hutchinson’s enthusiasm has been echoed by other media outlets worldwide, including Prog Magazine, who nominated the band for Best Unsigned Artist of 2013 and for the Progressive Music Award in 2016. Forward to 2018 as the band releases there third album “If All Goes Wrong”
Artist No 3. Cell15
Cell15 is the brainchild of Robert Scott Richardson. In 2011, Robert had decided he wanted to write the progressive rock style that he loved. Raised on the great prog of the past, his love for “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Yes”, “Genesis” and “Pink Floyd” influenced this musical decision. Twenty years of recovery had given him the subject matter, the advantage of owning his own recording studio gave him the place to work, and Cell15 was born. The idea of a concept album to tell the story of what happened twenty years ago to present served as the guide for where the music would go. “This is the first time I had the lyrics in mind before the music was written. I had to keep the focus on the story being told”, Robert said. The CD titled “Chapter One” had been released in September 2014.
The debut release was well received internationally. Prog Rock radio stations were adding tracks to their playlists and an award was given as “Debut Album of the Year” on Prog Rock.com. In a review from House of Prog.com affiliate Rob Rutz, Rob writes: “From the first recoil of the complex kit’s snare drum, followed by locomotive-strength symphonic keys, listeners are propelled like shot in a sling into Cell15’s powerful breakthrough debut album, “Chapter One.” This is a driving progressive rock concept album that’s befitting of the most-capable, well-powered sound system. Cell15’s Chapter One album goes beyond masterful poly-rhythmic drums, full-bodied keyboards and driving bass, though. It’s one hell of a story that portrays a dark life, capture and prison time, followed by twists of realization, understanding and an epic light show conclusion that begs for cathedral acoustics. Listeners are strapped into this soulfully sung script that was penned over a 20-year timeframe. Arranged and performed by veteran music artist Robert Richardson, Cell15 will remind listeners of Transatlantic, Genesis, and IQ, but its classic rock influences and meaningful vocals would also entice any Kansas or Queen fan.”
2015 was the year of forming the full-time band to promote Cell15. After many auditions, a lineup of accomplished musicians was established, including Shane Jones on guitar, former Elephants of Scotland member Dan MacDonald on bass, Circuline’s Andrew Colyer on keyboards and Bill Brasso on drums. A musical bond was formed to pursue recording more progressive rock music with a killer show sure to excite any audience.
In October of 2017, Cell15 played the inaugural year of the ProgStock Festival in Rahway, NJ, in addition to a show at the NJ Proghouse in June 2017.
In 2018, a modified lineup of Cell15 played the 15th Annual RoSfest (Rites of Spring Festival) in Gettysburg, PA, with Bob Richardson on vocals, drums, and keys, Dan McDonald on bass, Andrew Colyer on keys, Shane Jones on guitar, and Ornan McLean as a guest drummer.
Prog Rock fans may be few but they are the most loyal and appreciative group of people who love the complexities of the composition. Prog is the “Classical” music of today and will still be loved long after “Pop” music is forgotten.
Check out the bands latest release River Utopia