The View Looks Good

From Rock Rocking Rocker:

 Below is a review from Dylan Sexton of the music blog Rock Rocking Rocker (link here) --

     Progressive rock has a new champion.  Genesis, Yes, Peter Gabriel, and Asia?  Add the name Four Stories Tall to that list.  They've just released a debut recording of uncommon clarity, precision, and soulfulness, called "The Road West," and mark my words, this band is ready for a wider audience.

      Four Stories Tall bill themselves as Texas Prog and it's as apt of a description as can be made.  The musicians who comprise Four Stories Tall,--- three veterans of seminal Lubbock, Texas progressive rock band, Asparagus Nightmares and a guitarist who'd walked away from his instrument for twenty years, have, over the past five years, turned weekend jam sessions and a shared love of progressive rock and jazz fusion into a disciplined, professional, functioning, and musically productive band.  And as a result of this process, the world has a stunning progressive rock masterpiece that transcends the genre.

       Allow me to explain my bold use of the phrase "transcends the genre."

       In May of 1978, I headed for the local record store with a pocketful of birthday cash.  When I came back from the store, I was carrying a copy of the album "Fragile" by Yes.  I didn't know much about Yes.  In fact, nothing at all.  I bought the album because I liked the cover art.  This sort of decision making has failed me numerous times over the years, but fortunately for me in May of 1978, I was rewarded richly for my decision.

       "Fragile" is widely regarded as a progressive rock masterpiece, and though I was completely oblivious to the progressive rock genre at that stage of my musical education, I had no problem appreciating the unique song structures, harmonies, and time signatures that characterized the album.  With "Fragile," Yes transcended the progressive rock genre.  It was not just a great progressive rock album, it was a great rock album.

       And that brings me back to "The Road West."

       From the slow-crawl heaviness and desperation of the albums' opener "Famine," the band shifts gears into a funky groove for the following tune "Brazos de Dios," featuring bedrock rhythm work from bassist Mark Matos and drummer John Wilson.

       Guitarist Mark Turner colors every song with his deceptively understated playing.  Turner is a master of mood, giving character to the trouble-bound narrator of "This is Where the River Brought Me" and a shimmering image of telephone poles in the sun for the tune "Telephone Road."

       Singer/keyboardist Mark Murray shines on vocals on every song, but especially on "Mutt," an empathetic narration from the point of view of a dog that grew famous in the late eighteen-hundreds as a mascot for the Postal Service Railroad operations.  This empathetic quality of Murray's is also well demonstrated on the album's nine-minute closer "The Cotton Farmer's Wife," a country and folk flavored tale spiced with the pedal steel of Texas Country veteran Lloyd Maines and the fiddle of Dustin Ballard.

       Meticulously lived, created, and produced, "The Road West" is a good sign for those of us with high standards for a progressive rock in particular and rock and roll in general.  And it's a testament to the skill and dedication of four friends from Texas who in search of quality music, decided to make it themselves.

       "The Road West" is a masterpiece that deserves to be heard.  It's available on Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby.  And Like 'em on Facebook!

 

Amazon, check..iTunes, check.

Four Stories Tall – The Road West now available on iTunes and Amazon.

For all you folk eagerly awaiting the release of “The Road West” on iTunes, your wait is now over. As of today you can purchase the album and all single songs from “The Road West” in pristine Mastered for iTunes lossless format. These files were generated by our esteemed mastering engineer, Maor Appelbaum who painstakingly assembled the delicate 96kHz/24 bit masters of our project one byte at a time under a microscope with a pair of really tiny tweezers. He then painted the binary code of each 24 bit word onto 1,542,973,862 individual grains of rice and shipped them to Apple, where a crew of eye-patch-wearing minions reassembled the code into Apples high resolution lossless m4a file format. It took longer than expected, but the results are worth the wait.

Now, go to the iTunes music store and buy a copy. Then go back and write a raving five star review. Hate iTunes? Then buy it at Amazon. We are an equal opportunity deployer. Then go to fourstoriestallband.com or CD Baby.com and buy a physical CD so you can look at John Wilson’s amazing cover artwork and have a really cool looking train wheel coaster. Better yet, put it in your disc player and listen to it in it’s full epic glory! And while you are listening, write another raving five star review on CD Baby. Hey it’s a 47 minute long album, you’ll also have time to go to Amazon.com and write yet another raving five star review. We’re not kidding! Reviews are gold to us right now and can do a lot to help perpetuate sales for us.

By the way, friends get off your duffs and buy a copy. It will cost you less than lunch or a good pint of craft brew and it will last forever. Then put all YOUR friends in a spinning toe hold until they like us on facebook and buy their own copies of “The Road West”. That’s an order!

Free Downloads with Purchase!

Hurry, this offer ends on my birthday May 27th.  With the purchase of a CD you will get a free compilation of MP3’s.  You may ask. “why would i want MP3’s when i could just rip the CD i purchase?”  The answer my friend is that these MP3’s are not your typical junk you get from the major online music retailers.  These MP3’s were created by Mr. Applebaum (Yes,Faith No More), the guy who mastered our album.  Top Notch!

Here is how you do it: Go to the ‘Store’ Page (click here) and add both the CD and the The Road West – MP3 Compilation to your cart.  You will see a spot in your cart to enter a coupon code, which is aweedram.  Be sure to include your correct email when purchasing ’cause your download link comes with your emailed receipt.

Enjoy!!

peace, – John David

Owney the Mail Dog

One of the inspirations for the stories told on our upcoming CD is the legend of Oney.  Stolen from Wikipedia: He was a stray Border terrier adopted as the first unofficial postal mascot by the Albany, New York, post office about 1888. The Albany mail professionals recommended the dog to their Railway Mail Service colleagues, and he became a nationwide mascot for 9 years (1888–97).[1] He traveled throughout the 48 contiguous United States and voyaged around the world traveling over 140,000 miles in his lifetime as a mascot of the Railway Post Office and the United States Postal Service.

Owney was an abandoned puppy adopted in 1888 by a post office worker named Owen, who worked at the Albany post office. Seeking shelter on a rainy night, the young mutt wandered into the back door of the post office, which had been accidentally left ajar. The pup seemed to love the smell of the mail bags and soon made one his bed.

Owney received tags everywhere he went, and as he moved they jingled like sleigh bells.  His collection of tags grew so large that United States Postmaster General John Wanamaker gave him a coat to display them all. Wanamaker also announced that Owney was then the Official Mascot of the Rail Mail Service. It is said to be impossible to know how many dog tags and medals Owney received. Despite the jacket, the mass became impossible for the small dog to carry. Clerks would remove tags and forward them to Albany or Washington D.C. for safekeeping. One source suggests that 1,017 medals and tokens were bestowed upon the mascot. Some of these tags did not survive; the National Postal Museum currently has 372 Owney tags in its collections.

Concept Album

The concept:

The Road West was originally conceived as a group of songs inspired by the places, events and general attitude of West Texas. West Texas encompasses a rather broad swath of different real estate, but it is arguably considered by general consensus to be any part of the state west of Fort Worth. For us, West Texas is a place of adventure, history, and colorful personal experience. For me, it’s part of my DNA. It’s where I came from. It’s where I hope my ashes are someday scattered. And though I left it many years ago in search of something better, it will always be my home.

-Murray

 

THE SONGS: 

So where did all these white people in Texas come from? They were all driven here by various desires and needs, but none of those forces were ever more compelling than hunger. Famine tells the story of a desperate Irishman who had to flee his home to escape the ravages of starvation brought on by the great famine of the mid 1800’s.

The early Spanish explorers dubbed this river Brazos De Dios (The arms of God) because of it’s long winding turns. It was a vital part of the earliest native inhabitant’s lives. It became a prized possession of almost every culture that came to the region in search of conquest.

This Is Where The River Brought Me is the tale of a drifter, down on his luck searching for his calling in a great unsettled section of the country. Companionship is difficult for him, but it is what he desires most. In the end, his best friend is a stray dog, not unlike himself.

Mutt is the other side of the previous story as told from the dog’s perspective, where all of the cares in the world are just about finding creature comforts. And maybe a slightly deeper meaning for existence.

Train From Toyah (To Nowhere) is a story told without words. Toyah, Texas started as a trading post for the local ranchers in the late 1800’s and grew into a small township. It increased in size and prosperity with the arrival of the Missouri-Pacific train line. Soon after the depression the town began to diminish and over time all but disappeared. What remains are a few sun baked structures, a graveyard and a lot of ghosts.

In the early twentieth century the Permian Basin oilfield was beginning to become a huge source of money for a lot of people. By the mid-nineteen-sixties the towns of Midland and Odessa had almost grown into a single city. Although they were geographically united, the two towns were culturally divided. Where Midland became the headquarters of the West Texas oil industry and its white-collar workforce, Odessa was where the roughnecks lived and partied on the money they made in the oil fields. Running north and south nearly midway between the two towns is county road 1788, also known as Telephone Road.

In the Texas Panhandle, dry land cotton farming was the industry of choice for many families. It was a gamble every time they planted a crop. If they won the stakes were huge, but the odds weren’t in their favor. Win or lose, cotton farming was endless work and The Cotton Farmer’s Wife was often neglected during the week’s work. Thankfully there were a few musicians that travelled through the area bringing their songs to people desperate for a little deviation from the toils of the farm. For many farmer’s wives, Saturday night was the one night they could count on being the center of their husband’s attention.