The backstory behind this album is enough to purchase without even hearing it. After listening, its clear that the music is even better than the backstory. With their 90's grunge roots rolled in their sleeves, Gypsyland pack a kick-ass progressive flair of grooving riffs ranging from arena-tinged arena anthems to deeply intricate, well written rock and roll compositions. It would be a shame for this to go unnoticed.
Gypsyland was formed in Nanaimo, BC in the early 90’s amidst the boom of the Seattle grunge scene. Brian Kehoe and Luke Davison had been playing in local bands on the circuit, and had always had a mutual respect and admiration for each other’s musical talents. Many coffee shop meetings were had, discussing philosophy, music and the importance of being honest in your art. They decided to get together to play and write some music. The combining of their ideas and talents were an instant match. It wasn’t long before they had a full repertoire of original songs, and began recording and performing.
They put their music at the forefront, and bowed down to no club owner or agent who told them to play a certain set list in order to get hired. This, of course, limited their market, but they believed, and still believe, that you play the music that’s in your heart and not sell out. They lived in their vans, as income was minimal, but the trade-off was that they were living very rich spiritual and creatively honest lives. The songwriting flowed.
Clayton Hill joined the band shortly after Gypsyland had recorded their first EP. Clayton’s drumming style and personality was the missing cog in Gypsyland’s gears. An incredibly talented and solid drummer, Luke had met Clayton a few years earlier when he was performing with high-end show bands produced out of Vancouver. Clayton and Luke became instant close friends, and when the moment arose that Clayton could join the band, it was made so. They played their first show together at the famed Town Pump in Vancouver, to a very warm reception.
They proceeded to play shows throughout BC and Alberta, including shows as the warm up act for Wide Mouth Mason, Our Lady Peace, Moist, and Junkhouse. They were heavily involved in their local Nanaimo music scene, playing numerous local shows and festivals.
Their first EP, “Gypsyland”, won them a radio contest called “Rocktoria”, a yearly album compilation at the time sponsored by Q-100.3 FM, Victoria. Gypsyland was 1 of 4 bands chosen out of about 400 entries, and they recorded 3 songs for the CD “Rocktoria VI” at Seacoast Sound in Victoria, BC. The songs “Aces for Hearts”, “I Won’t Crack” and “Fit to be Tied” enjoyed local FM radio airplay, as well as the Vancouver FM stations and south of the border to Seattle.
Soon after, they were offered a record deal and management from an independent label and studio in Seattle, but they chose to accept an offer from the producer of the Rocktoria albums. They spent the summer of 1995 recording the albums tracks, but due to unforeseen circumstances, the production was halted and the album was never fully completed.
After this setback, Luke developed a fairly serious alcohol abuse problem, one that had been creeping up for quite some time, and they all went their separate ways. Clayton joined Trooper in 2007, one of Canada’s most iconic rock bands, and still tours with them to this day. He has also been releasing his own solo records. Brian is still one of the top bass players on Vancouver Island, and continues to write, record and perform, being the bottom end on numerous indie albums. Luke pursued a Diploma in audio engineering, as well as continuing to play gigs on the local circuit, writing music, and offering his talents on a few album releases, both as guitarist and bassist. It was Luke’s personal issues which kept the band apart for so long; a number of dark years passed for him as he fought with alcoholism. Thankfully, those years are now behind him, and he reunited himself again with Brian and Clayton.
In early 2014, Clayton made the phone call to get the band back into the studio to record the album they never finished, as the songs have always had a sense of timelessness to them, and were begging to be completed. “The time is now” , said Clayton. How right he was.
The musical chemistry between these three individuals runs deep: in their first time back playing together after 20 years, they hadn’t missed a beat, pumping out the tunes with as much energy as they had always played with many years prior.
Engineered by Scott Young of Alchemy Sound in New Westminster, co-produced alongside Scott Young, and mastered by Brian “Big Bass” Gardner in Los Angeles, the self-titled album “Gypsyland” is a journey through songs about spirituality, politics, relationships and introspection. Within them is a longing search for understanding of the world and people around us. Tinges of early hard rock, psychedelia and grunge splatter their sound, often improvisational yet held down solidly by the craftsmanship of Clayton Hill’s relentless solid foundation of rhythms.
Biggest feedback from their fans? It’s honest music played straight from the heart. In their live shows, they read each other’s minds, their spiritual musical connection is electrifying; you feel spiritually lifted and cleansed.
On a long-awaited follow-up to "Celebration Rock" Brian King and drummer-vocalist Dave Prowse still have a way of instilling magic with not much more than a few chords and some earnest romanticism. Bandcamp Album of the Day Jan 27, 2017
It’s sounding like Red Spektor are starting to come out of the 60ies and are now moving into the early 70ies. You know, they’re beginning to sound more like ‘Ten Years After’ than ‘Jimmi’. I think Bill has hit the nail on the head with his now-days band comparisons. All except Lost Soul which has a real old school ‘Zeppelin’ feel to it. Love the use of “Stereophonic” left/right speaker switching in Timeless Requiem; just adds to that era’s feel. Let’s use all the tech! Harry Harrison