“The Crown Is Not the Kingdom”
“Nor is One King because He Wears a Crown”
EVERSHIP here presents the last of the two-part rock ‘opera’, “The Uncrowned King- Act 2”, based on an allegorical short novella written by early-twentieth century author Harold Bell Wright. Act 1 was released in mid-2021; Act 2 concludes this pilgrim’s journey.
Here’s a link to this novella: https://books.google.com/books?id=djERAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+uncrowned+king+harold+bell+wright&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=1&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjpnsXfguP6AhX4LzQIHSEkDY0Q6AF6BAgFEAI
It’s a lovely and grand and dramatic two-part conceptual work, that reveals the deep workings of Shane Atkinson‘s considerable compositional and musicianly skills. And alongside these, the masterly and eloquent vocal work of his musical companion- who possesses one of the finest voices in progressive rock, it seems to me- Beau West.
These two form the heart of EVERSHIP, which in Act 2 also draws in most of the same EVERSHIP nucleus as Act 1. As often seems to happen with EVERSHIP, other musicians and vocalists round out the project, including Michael Sadler (SAGA) wielding his strong vocals on one track, “The Voice of the New Day”.
Beau West: Lead Vocals
Shane Atkinson: Keyboards, Drums, Vocals, Percussion, Dulcimer, Sound Design
James Atkinson: Lead Guitar
John Rose: Rhythm, Slide, Classical, Acoustic and Lead* Guitars
Ben Young: Bass Guitar
Michael Sadler: as “The Voice of the New Day”
Mike Priebe: as “The Voice of the Night” and Background Vocals
Lisa Atkinson: Add’l Background Vocals
Strings: Anna Yoder, Emily Walsh
Brass: Davis Ginn, Jack Warren, Nathan Mohnke
Irish Low Whistle: Skip Cleavinge
The Recovering Pastor
Harold Bell Wright, son of an alcoholic father and long-suffering mother, quite without a plan, felt called into ministry, and in the process also began to follow another passion of writing. It is this passion that Shane has developed into the present release by interpreting the novella of the same name, lyrically and musically. The “recovering pastor” realized his writing passion made more money- and perhaps more sense- than his ministry.
Here too, I thought, Shane used the ideas within this novella to ignite his- and our- passion as well, by challenging us with ideas set within what I found to be a rich musical tapestry, within the art- and symphonic progressive rock EVERSHIP has done so well over the years- filled with drama, intensity, wistfulness, grandness, and pathos.
Of course, one who seeks to know, to understand, to absorb truth and beauty and reality, must often endure suffering, hardships, and obstacles, along with the awe and loveliness that can be realized in the quest. And there are voices one hears, some speaking with wisdom and others with malice. In Act 2 we hear several voices, “The Voice of the Night” as well as “The Voice of the New Day”, along with the malicious behavior of the would-be King, and the sometimes fickle crowds.
The pilgrim listens and views and observes in these tunes, and in the process we listeners hear nature sounds that lead to Beau’s clear, clean voice, mighty guitar and keyboards, acoustic guitar, dreamy flute sounds, and choral passages. We hear brass touches and a growing sense of grandeur which builds on the theme of “a brand new day”. And that’s just the first song.
A Panoply of Sounds and Textures
I demonstrated some of that panoply already, and the entire album is marked with this kind of variation and appeal. Melody is strong. I was especially taken by the gripping ballad “Nobody” which I felt like was central to the ideas in this album set within a lustrous and affecting musical arrangement.
Dreamy keyboards, multi-instrumentalist Shane’s drumming, a lovely melodic guitar solo, that restrained, chiming Hammond organ…and Beau’s rich, moody vocals, “I’ll become a nobody if that’s what you want of me.” There are some synth leads, and evocative slide guitar lines.
“Coronation” has some almost playful sections and a stentorian guitar lick that grows into heavy guitar/bass/and pummeling drums. “Uncrowned” features a lush a capella choral opening leading into full band grandeur and a dramatic guitar lead.
The finale track reminds us this is a pilgrimage, an epic journey of self-discovery. There are moody keyboards including grand piano playing chiming chords, leading to symphonic strings in a powerful passage, which then subsides to vocal reverie with mystic and gentle keyboards and choral vocalizations…
..which slowly fades with melancholy synth lines.
My Conclusions and Rating
I thought this was lush, grand, well-conceived, affecting, and captivating. I rate it as 9 out of 10 possible progressive pilgrimages- an excellent addition to any progressive rock music collection.
EVERSHIP links: bandcamp–https://friendsoftherevolution.bandcamp.com/album/the-uncrowned-king-act-2; facebook– https://www.facebook.com/evershipband; website– https://www.evership.com/