Progressive Rock act Evership is the conceptualization of
composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer/engineer Shane
Atkinson. Shane played in Nashville bands and as a backup musician
for CCM artists in the late 80's and 90's. As a composer he wrote
on Music Row and always having a studio running somewhere in the
Nashville area, was a prolific composer with musical work spanning
from commercials and film to orchestral and theater. He made two
records with the 90's Alternative Rock band Curious Fools, but
with the birth of his first child, he decided to leave the music
business for the budding software industry.
Shane says he never really stopped writing. "The music just
kept coming, almost haunting me. I'd constantly wake up in the
night to record song ideas. Over those years I amassed at least a
hundred hours of material. But my success in software made it
nearly impossible to get out. Something like Evership was bound to
happen, it had to happen."
Finally, in 2005, in response to a dream, he sold his big
house in the suburbs, downsized, built a recording studio, and
opened a commercial and film music production company to finance
the album effort. It would take about ten years to make the first
record; not just for the actual recording, but for raising a
family, building a studio, holding down the production company and
remaining business interests, and sifting through the mountain of
Many of the Evership songs were written long before the
project started. Some were five to ten years old even then, and
there is purportedly enough material for four or more albums.
"I've got other material, but I wanted to do this first.
Musically-speaking, Prog is where my heart is." He said while
growing up, listening to bands like Led Zeppelin, Rush, Yes,
Queen, Kansas and Jimmy Hotz, he had no idea it was progressive
music. He just liked it. Amongst his other influences were
classical composers, particularly Bach, Rachmaninov and Ravel. He
has a sizable Opera collection and is a Puccini fan. Fusion music
also played a role in the early years; Chick Corea, Al Di Miola,
Mahavishnu Orchestra, anything that challenged him musically.
"Even what I'm writing now is not intentionally Prog. It's just what comes out. These songs are life-stories, I can't tell them in three-and-a-half minutes. I was a music and literature major in school. So my lyrics tend to be classically driven as well, lending to a longer format."
After deciding on material for the debut album, demos were started in 2009, but life circumstances halted production until 2013 when Shane shut the music production company down to focus on the record.
Beau West, the lead vocalist, had moved to Nashville to do music, but nothing materialized for the effort. With no prospects on the horizon Beau shelved music for three years. He says, "My wife asked me if I wanted to do music anymore. My answer was "'I don't want to write, I don't want any creative control, I just want to sing.'" Little did he know that around the corner of that third year he would get exactly that.
Originally, the singer Shane had keyed the music to was longtime friend and 90's band mate Jason Beddoe, who ended up needing to bow out of the project due to life circumstances. Shane says, "This was operatic, expressive music. These kinds of singers just don't exist anymore. I thought it was over. Beau was literally an answer to prayer."
Shane met Beau West, the lead vocalist, through session singer Mike Priebe (who sings BGVs on the records, along with Nicelle, Mike's wife, on strings). Shane and Beau had a conversation about music that lasted hours. The two had the same musical interests and the same vision for what they wanted to accomplish. After an initial meeting to review the material, Beau was invited to the studio to sing on the most challenging vocal track, Ultima Thule. Shane says, "Beau has that rare range and tone that sounds great anywhere on the scale. He could handle anything I threw at him, and had such a great attitude as well, which was critical because so much production had already been done." Beau says, "This music is everything I'd heard whirling around in my head since...