Evership, The Uncrowned King: Act 1, 2021
- The Pilgrimage: I. Desert of Facts, II. The Temple of Truth, III. The Quiet Room (10:38)
- The Voice of the Waves (3:08)
- Crownshine/Allthetime (10:51)
- The Tower (9:48)
- The Voice of the Evening Wind (4:24)
- Yettocome/itmightbe (16:42)
- Wait (5:13)
Nashville-based prog outfit Evership is the brainchild of Shane Atkinson, a musician with a background in Contemporary Christian Music dating back to the 1980s. It’s too bad CCM today doesn’t sound more like Evership’s music, because this group combines some of the best elements of the various eras of progressive rock. Atkinson has also been active in music for films, commercials, and theater, but he left the music industry years ago for the more stable world of software development after the birth of his first child. In 2005 he quit that and began his own music production company, with the goal of funding future albums. That future is here, with three Evership albums since the first was released in 2016.
The latest Evership album, The Uncrowned King: Act 1, is based off the 1910 book of the same name by Harold Bell Wright, a bestselling American author in the early twentieth century. This album only tells part of the story, so be on the lookout for Act 2.
The music displays myriad influences, including 1970s prog, 80s synth rock, and the production values of today. The drums, which Shane plays himself, have a bit of the 80s sound, and some of the guitars, played by James Atkinson and John Rose, have an 80s Yes sound. The keyboards (played by Shane) often have a Rick Wakeman-esque flair, giving the album a strong Yes influence. The frequent use of piano reminds me of some of the better moments of CCM over the last thirty years, but I’ve spent my whole life going to churches that play CCM (of varying quality), so this may not mean much to most of our readers.
Beau West’s vocals elevate the story to the next level with a beautiful tone and range that befits the story. He really shines on “Yettocome/itmightbe,” which is a reflective song that focuses on the vocals with calm piano, synths, bass, and appropriate drumming.
The concept is rather compelling, with the whole musical and lyrical tapestry reminding me a bit of the Neal Morse Band. With three tracks over 10 minutes (one of them almost 17 minutes), you could say this is all rather epic. The length of the tracks gives the music and story room to breathe and develop. The musicianship itself is stellar. Ben Young’s bass provides a nice low end to what is a somewhat ethereal-sounding album. It’s definitely a rock album, but it’s more on the symphonic prog side of things. The guitar solos soar, and the drumming fits the mood at every moment. Simply put, the music helps tell the story.
There’s a touch of musical theater with tracks like “Wait,” again reminds me of the Neal Morse Band or even Ayreon. Vocal harmonies are used sparingly throughout to add extra depth to the music. These help provide that lovely prog aesthetic that’s becoming rather prominent with some bands in the genre. I hope Evership make even more use of it on Act 2.
All in all, The Uncrowned King: Act 1 is a wonderful album. It’s so nice to hear music like this being made by an American band. I wouldn’t be surprised if Evership will have a wider listening audience in Europe than here in America, but I certainly would enjoy hearing their music live.