Chad Bryant Edmundson – Wonder and Strangeness

Chad Bryant Edmundson
Wonder and Strangeness
1993 Sonic Hope Records
San Juan Cap, California, USA

Chad Bryant Edmundson – Vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboard, harmonica, hand drums on “Alcatraz”
John R. Williamson – Bass, second vocals on “Saving Grace,” lead electric on “Colombo’s Wife”
David Finley – Piano and electric guitar on “Underhanded”

Side 1:

  1. Driven
  2. Saving Grace
  3. Walking on Water
  4. Alcatraz was Winking
  5. Felicity

Side 2:

  1. Underhanded
  2. Morning
  3. Story of Ruth
  4. Scooby
  5. Colombo’s Wife
  6. [phone message]

Sonic Hope Records certainly was very prolific – but I have never seen an actual vinyl records by them. Still, it seems that John R. Williamson plays on almost all of their recordings in some way. This demo is like other releases by the label – acoustic folk music with a few different instruments and styles thrown in to keep it interesting. It seems there is bass guitar on many songs, but not all of them have drums or percussion. Well, it actually seems like there are always two instruments on most songs: bass and acoustic, or electric and acoustic, or even percussion and acoustic.

Casa Alianza – Sanctuary: Songs for the Voiceless

Casa Alianza
Sanctuary: Songs for the Voiceless
1996 (no label)
Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom

Eve & The Garden:

Alison Eve – Vocals, classical guitar
Paul A. Davies – Electric guitar, classical guitar, synth lead guitar, background vocals
Phillip Rainey – Bass
Alyson Rainey – Violin
Paul Cudby – Drums, percussion

The Rumors are True:

Helen Turner – Lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Rachel Coates – Acoustic guitar, low whistle, vocals
Jason Bell – Chapman stick
Richard Coates – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. Eve & The Garden – Sanctuary

Side 2:

  1. The Rumors are True – Close to Me

This demo is basically a split tape recorded to benefit Casa Alianza, an organization that works to protect street children in Guatemala. The contact information is in England, so I am guessing these are two UK based bands raising money for relief work in Central America. Eve & The Garden is an ethereal folk band – the synths and violin probably adding to that feeling. Their song does surprisingly pick up the pace during the chorus – wasn’t expecting that. The Rumors are True is a Celtic folk band that reminds me of Iona in some ways, but more on the folk side. Having a chapman stick and low whistle on their song probably helps that comparison, but those two instruments are always a plus in my book.

Jason Underground – Songs of Praise and Protest

Jason Underground
Songs of Praise and Protest
1994 (no label)
Santa Cruz, California, USA

Jason Underground – Vocals, guitars, harmonica

Joel Doswell – Beer box on “COPSEATFLOWERS” and “Pondering Asceticism”

Side 1:

  1. Talkin’ Freedom
  2. As Yet Untitled
  3. Love Rag
  4. 20 Looking Back
  5. Pondering Asceticism

Side 2:

  1. COPSEATFLOWERS (The Ballad of Rodney King)
  2. Rebuttal for Jerry
  3. Hard Times in San Luis Obispo
  4. 700 Ignorant Kids
  5. Strong Words

This is probably the demo from Jason Underground that most would be familiar with, seeing that some of these songs were present on many compilations back in the day (Especially “As Yet Untitled” if I remember correctly). I don’t think I have every learned what Jason’s real name is, but I am guessing there is someone out there who knows. If the title of the demo wasn’t clear enough, this is protest-style folk rock. Several Christians that try this style get tripped up by trying hard to sound like they are saying something deep, when they actually really aren’t. That generally comes from the fact they are trying more to attack things only on the other side of whatever issue they are on, rather than just let something profound about the issue come out and let the thought land where it may. The whole “I’m sticking with my pre-determined side of the issue no matter what” attitude just makes protest music come across as propaganda music. Jason seems to not fall into this trap, since he tends to criticize multiple sides of each issue he tackles in most cases. But that also means that he possibly will ruffle your feathers no matter where you fall on any particular issue. Most of the music here is acoustic guitar and vocals, with harmonica thrown in here and there, if you aren’t familiar with the genre.

Eden Burning – Much More Than Near

Eden Burning
Much More Than Near
1991 FFG
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom

Paul Northup – Lead vocals, 12-string acoustic guitar, bouzouki
Neill Forrest – Mandolin, electric guitar, bouzouki, backing vocals
Charlotte Ayrton – Rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, flute, harmonica
Nive (Kevin Hall) – Bass
Mike Simpson – Drums, percussion

  1. Much More Than Near
  2. Midnight Sun
  3. The Calling
  4. Everlasting Arms

This short EP was released by Eden Burning before they were signed to R.E.X. Music and Storyville Records. This EP seems to steer closer to the Celtic folk rock sounds of their Vinegar and Brown Paper album (that most people in the U.S. would be most familiar with) than the more alt-rock sounds of Thin Walls from 1990. Of course, Thin Walls and this ep were re-packaged as one cassette in 1992, and also released digitally more recently. Another great collection to check out if you haven’t yet.

Dan Donovan – Root

Dan Donovan
199? Independent

  1. Pretty Thing You
  2. Broose Again
  3. No Bad Dog
  4. Arms of Clare
  5. Things Jus’ Is
  6. Fragile Flame
  7. Wild Eyed
  8. Moments Like These

This is kind of a mystery release from Dan Donavan. I don’t know when it was released, and I haven’t seen the cover to it, so I have no idea who played on it. It seems that it is a compilation of songs from other albums. Some songs, like “Pretty Thing You,” seem to be close to the original versions. Other songs like “Broose Again” seem to be very different versions. Overall, it is a mostly acoustic / folk album. Most of the songs seem to have come from Dust Shaker (“Pretty Thing You,” “Broose Again,” “Arms of Clare,” and “Fragile Flame”), with one coming from The Leven Dell (“Things Jus’ Is”), one from Tribe of Dan’s The Bootus Red (“No Bad Dog”), and one from a compilation called Seahorse (“Moments Like These”). Only one song – “Wild Eyed” – seems to be unique to this tape. But, I have to note, that since I can’t find the date this was released, these could all be early demos for what was later recorded.

Missing Information: cover scan, what year was this release, did anyone other than Dan play on this?

Eden Burning – Thin Walls

Eden Burning
Thin Walls
1990 FFG
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom

Paul Northup – Vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Neill Forrest – Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, accordion, mandolin, bouzouki, backing vocals
Charlotte Ayrton – Harmonica, flute
Nive (Kevin Hall) – Bass guitar
Mike Simpson – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. Help My Unbelief
  2. Thin Walls
  3. No Man’s Land
  4. There Was A Time
  5. Where Did We Hide Him

Side 2:

  1. The Place I Live
  2. Do Not Be Afraid
  3. Things I Didn’t Say
  4. Pictures Tell Lies
  5. Jericho Skies
  6. The Waiting

This is the debut album by Eden Burning. Eden Burning later went on to sign to R.E.X. Music and Storyville Records to release several highly regarded Celtic Folk Rock albums in the wider Christian music world. This debut album seems to be a bit more alternative / roots rock than later albums, but the Celtic rock sounds are still there in full effect. This tape was also re-released as combined cassette with their 1991 EP Much More Than Near. You can also find digital versions of the combined release for sale at most digital music outlets. I highly recommend getting a copy for yourself you haven’t yet.

John R. Williamson – Canvas of Blue

John R. Williamson
Canvas of Blue
1993 Sonic Hope Records
Claremont, California, USA

John R. Williamson – Vocals, guitars, other instruments?

Chad Edmunson – Vocals on “Where Did the Doctor Go?”
David Finley – Vocals on “Where Did the Doctor Go?”
Eric Paulsen – Strumming and croaking on “A Humdrum Conundrum,” boost guitar on “Chess With Death”
Michael Knepher – Strumming and croaking on “A Humdrum Conundrum”
Korby Paulsen – Drums on “Temecula”

Side 1:

  1. Danish Straightjacket
  2. Bigger Than Blue
  3. Our Guilt-Ridden Alchemist
  4. Chess With Death
  5. Where Did the Doctor Go?
  6. Temecula
  7. A Humdrum Conundrum

Side 2:

  1. Juggler Treading Water
  2. Captivity
  3. Move It Along
  4. Arise
  5. Sarah and Abraham
  6. Landing in a Family
  7. Testimony in the Mother Tongue

This is one of several recordings by Williamson on Sonic Hope Records, the same label home as Robert Deeble of Days Like These fame. As one would guess, this is acoustic folk music, but with a more noticeable rock ‘n roll sensibility in that there is more percussion and upright bass than you usually find on these types of albums. Also some more electric guitar here and there. There is kind of a rollicking Hee-Haw-ish groove underneath some of the songs, but with Williamson doing something more like acoustic Indie rock over the top. Which makes for a more interesting listen across the whole album than it would be if he was just doing the acoustic singer/songwriter thing for a dozen or so songs. The cover is actually a near full page color laser-printer printed page, folded to the size and shape of a j-card.