I was contacted by multi-instrumentalist Matt Sweitzer (guitars, bass, keyboards) telling me about his band Canvas and to get a copy of their last release (2007) out to me, for a review. Now months later after digesting the varied style on the band’s second album, Digital Pigeon. Their first one called Avenues is now only available for downloading. Hopefully enough interest (and $$) will get it back into print.
Matt’s partner in Canvas, is another multi-instrumentalist named Chris Cobel (keyboards, trumpets). They are joined by quite a bunch of musicians on Digital Pigeon like John Swope (drums), Brian Pierce (acoustic guitar), Brad Cotner (trumpets), John David Thornton (guitar solos), Tom Mattern (flute, vocals), Greg Lounsberry (guitar, vocals), Orlando Blanco (guitar solos), Heather McPherson (violin), Vince Simon (drums), and Zach Olah (vocals).
From the opening powerhouse “Dark Side Of The Sun” (6:18) the band takes the listener on a nice eclectic ride. This is one of my favorites off the album, others are “The Spectacle” (7:44) of which the vocals, supplied by Tom Mattern, reminds me of modern prog musician Aaron English. Another one off the album is “You” (5:38), which is a couple notches lower than the others mentioned.
Now there’s two cover tunes on the album, first is a prog/pop of a song by Canadian rock group Saga called “Catwalk” (4:27). The vocals are a little different than the original but the instrumentation is spot on. I’d say that Bruce Smith was taking some liberty and doing his impression of how the vocals should sound. The other cover is from Jaco Pastorius called “Teen Town” (2:51). Back to my favorite parts of this album, I would add the last song, “Move The Earth” (5:54), where vocally singer, Tom Mattern, sounds like he’s on the same wavelength as the late great Kevin Gilbert.
In conclusion, if you enjoy variety in your progressive music, then look no further than Canvas’ Digital Pigeon. Hopefully will see sooner rather than later, Canvas will either present us with a new album or a remastered version of Avenues. Who knows? All I know is I have a satisfied feeling each time I listen. So if you don’t already own Digital Pigeon, you’re missing out. My verdict is get this album ASAP!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on March 5th, 2011