When listening to the music of Vinyl Soup I'm immediately transported back in time to the Summer Of Love and flashback images of dancing mud covered hippies at Woodstock; walking into head shops and ogling at those amazing psychedelic posters from artists like Stanley Mouse, Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson promoting upcoming concerts at Bill Graham's Fillmore in San Francisco; donning bell bottom pants with a tie-dyed or paisley shirt; and of course listening to some of the most groundbreaking music to ever pump out of an eight-track tape player.
“The Beacon Within” is the third release from this psychedelic rock band from Nashville, Tennessee. The group features Andrew Hooker (guitar, vocals), Justin McCoy Smith (keyboards, vocals), Justin Tyler Smith (bass, background vocals), and Troy Jones (drums, background vocals). Also featured are guest musicians John Heinrich (alto and tenor saxophones), Chris Hamm (trumpet), and George Leverett (Hurdy Gurdy).
For the uninitiated, like myself, the band combines elements of those 60s' and 70s' jam bands who helped put The Fillmore on the map during the Psychedelic 60s'. The songs blend psychedelic rock, folk, blues, Jamaican reggae, World, and even a bit of spacy Mellotron drenched prog/rock moments that echo early “Trespass” era Genesis.
Although they affectionately refer to themselves as a psychedelic jam band the songs are uncluttered yet well structured and not just a few repetitive chords that go on for an eternity with alternating dueling leads between guitar and keyboards. None of the tunes overstay their welcome – an affliction that affects a great many jam bands.
And special mention of the nice mix of digital and analog keys like the Fender Rhodes electric piano from Justin McCoy Smith as well some atmospheric steel lap guitar work from Andrew Hooker.
As a point of reference I'd suggest that if you enjoy vintage bands like Bloodrock, White Witch, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Doors, Poco, Vanilla Fudge, Santana, New Riders Of The Purple Sage, Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come, Soft Machine and early Pink Floyd – as well as a band I reviewed here at Prognaut back in November of 2009 … The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band.
Great party album.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on April 19th, 2013