Thursday, November 26, 2015

Stephen Whynott

Artist: Stephen Whynott
LP: From Philly to Tablas
Song: "What Have You Seen" 
[ listen ]

There's a lot I'm thankful for this year, including living in a state that's governed by someone who understands the meaning of 'land of the free and the home of the brave,' and not in one of the states being run by a cowardly idiot. I'm also thankful to be able to pull beautiful music out of my record collection that I don't even recognize. Here's something I found in my bins this morning; it's a lovely listen for first thing on a sunny-but-chilly holiday morning. 

There isn't much to be found about Stephen Whynott on the internet (which might be why he's considered one of the unsung heroes of the late '70s music scene), but I did discover that he now resides in Washington state up near Bellingham and that he once even lived right here in Seattle! The following biographical outline is copied from his Facebook page, and below that there are some notes and a photo from the back of his 1977 "From Philly to Tablas" LP. Happy Thanksgiving!

Stephen's career in the musical world has been filled with diverse extremes. He's been named one of the unsung heroes of 1978 by Modern Recording Magazine (along with Bruce Cockburn and Dave Brubeck), and been told how he and his band, "Calico," recorded one of the best unrecognized LPs of the early 1970s. Stephen began his solo career when Gunther Wiel at Intermedia Sound in Boston heard Steve playing some of his original songs and offered the use of the recording studio for as long as needed. The result was "From Philly To Tablas." The recording of that album and those songs sent Stephen on a quest to realize where his true calling would be. City life was rapidly losing its appeal, even though his gigs had introduced him to such notables as Fleetwood Mac, B.B. King, Aerosmith, etc. 

He decided to go across the country to Seattle, where he was signed to a record contract with "Music Is Medicine," the sister company of First American Records, which led to the creation, recording and distribution of his follow-up LP, "Geography." After leaving Boston for Seattle, Stephen's music gradually developed into beautiful instrumental stories about how much his life had changed from the whirlwind craziness of rock & roll, playing with his band "Calico" as the opening act for Tim Hardin, Al Cooper, The J. Giles Band, The Hampton Grease Band (along with other members of Frank Zappa's band "Mothers Of Invention"), Van Morrison, and many others. His recording career had included sessions with oboist Michael Kaman, members of Moby Grape, Tim Moore, Cleve Pozar, mellotron/pianist Dan Frye, bassist/recording engineer/producer Zed Mclarnon (worked with "The Paul Winter Concert"), recording engineer/producer Adrian Barber (recorded "Cream"), and Michael Leary (recorded Harry Nillson, Jonathan Edwards, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Loudon Wainwright, The Steve Miller Band, and Jefferson Airplane). 

But now he was truly a solo act; living in a new land, with new faces and new ideas. Nature became his companion of choice, and his music began to reflect the depth of that decision. The beautiful instrumental CDs "Apology to the Animals" and "Lost Land" are the culmination of all that Stephen has experienced during his travels through this unrelentingly exquisite and painfully humorous journey called life.  

[ Stephen Whynott ]

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