In 2018 the album Harmony For Elephants was released with little fanfare. This album deserves a great deal more attention. Featured on the album are original songs donated to the project in an effort to raise money and awareness for the charity group Elephants For Africa. The group’s mission is to protect endangered African elephants. Most of the album’s fifteen songs have some level of connection to Steve Hackett and/or Genesis.
Track 1: Eventide – Nad Sylvan
Nad Sylvan has been making music, in relative obscurity, for quite some time. It is only in recent years as the vocalist of Steve Hackett’s touring band that he has come to prominence in the progressive rock scene. The new spotlight has given Sylvan a new opportunity to explore his solo career. Eventide is a good example of Sylvan’s highly dramatic brand of melodic progressive rock.
Track 2: In A Perfect World – Steve Hackett, Anthony Phillips & Roger King
A beautiful instrumental that sees former Genesis guitarists Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips join forces. Longtime Hackett collaborator Roger King completes the trio on keyboards. Understated and tranquil, the song is over far too soon leaving one yearning for more. In a perfect world this highly talented trio would come together to record an album together.
Track 3: See The Dream – Tony Patterson
Tony Patterson once led the Genesis tribute band ReGenesis. Over the years he has quietly established himself as an exceptional solo artist. See The Dream is a good example of his Peter Gabriel inspired brand of dreamy art rock. Patterson’s recent solo outings are definitely worthy of exploration.
Track 4: Sunset Trail – Anthony Phillips
A quiet acoustic guitar instrumental from Phillips. Nothing fancy here, just Phillips strumming an acoustic guitar. In this all too brief piece Phillips does a lot with a little. In just under two minutes he manages to evoke a good deal of emotion from the guitar.
Track 5: Play For Time, Time For Play – Rob Townsend
A jazz inspired instrumental from Rob Townsend. Townsend has proven quite valuable in the Steve Hackett live band. He has played a variety of wind instruments, most notably the flute, in the live arena and in the studio for Hackett. This song sees Townsend handling every aspect of the song, a true solo outing. This energetic instrumental combines jazz and world music influences. I would love to see Townsend record a solo album in this vein one day.
Track 6: We Are One – Amanda Lehmann
Over the last several years Amanda Lehmann has quietly stepped into the spotlight as one of the secret weapons in Steve Hackett’s musical arsenal. As an occasional member of his live band she has contributed additional vocals and guitars. In the studio she has provided strong, but delicate backing vocals that perfectly accent Hackett’s vocals. With the song We Are One, Lehmann provides a soothing rock ballad. Lehmann handles all of the instruments and the vocals. She recently released her debut solo album Innocence and Illusion. Lehmann has proven to be a worthy additional to Hackett’s band as well as a rising star in her own right.
Track 7: Crossing The Savannah – Nick Magnus
The mighty Nick Magnus needs no introduction to diehard Steve Hackett fans. He was a part of Hackett’s first touring band and an extremely vital collaborator in the studio for several years. Over the years Magnus has released several solo albums. With his song Crossing The Savannah, Magnus has created an instrumental that sounds like the musical equivalent of a slow moving herd of majestic elephants. Magnus has expertly combined keyboards, piano and orchestration to create an epic musical journey with many shades and colors.
Track 8: Two Rope Swings – Andy Tillison Diskdrive
The albums most traditional progressive rock song. This song breaks the streak of Genesis/Steve Hackett related artists on the album. Tillison is known in progressive rock for his work with the band The Tangent. This is high quality, modern prog that evokes the spirit of classic 1970’s progressive rock.
Track 9: The Elephant’s Tale – Anthony Phillips
Anthony Phillips with another instrumental piece. This time around he changes up the program and leaves his guitar behind. The Elephant’s Tale is a classically inspired solo piano piece. Phillips fine touch and pacing fills the song with elegance and beauty.
Track 10: This Is Our Home – Anna Madsen
Anna Madsen is an up and coming singer/songwriter. Her beautiful voice leads this upbeat, artsy pop song. Jonathan Mover, the highly versatile and well traveled drummer, provides the song’s big drums.
Track 11: Lorato – Steve Hackett
A short classical guitar instrumental from Hackett. A regal piece filled with classical flourishes and Hackett’s exquisite technical prowess.
Track 12: Everyone Should Know – Dale Newman
Dale Newman has a long behind the scenes history with Genesis. Over the years Newman worked as a roadie and as a studio manager for the band. He has also made contributions to albums by Steve Hackett, Anthony Philips, Mike Rutherford and Mike + The Mechanics. For this album he contributes a slow paced, folk/roots rock inspired ballad. Anna Madsen makes another appearance on the album, providing backing vocals.
Track 13: Rivers Of Fire – Brendan Eyre
Brendan Eyre is a keyboard player known for his work with the progressive rock bands Nine Stones Close and Riversea. Rivers Of Fire is a progressive rock/new age inspired instrumental. A peaceful keyboard led track that features beautifully melodic guitar leads.
Track 14: Speak For Me – Andy Neve
Andy Neve has a long history in the music business as a producer, composer, songwriter and musician. Part of that history includes contributions to albums by Nick Magnus. Speak For Me carries the spirit of AOR ballads from the 1970’s and 1980’s. The passionate song shows hints of progressive rock and new age. The musicians involved provide understated, but extremely well performed instrumentation. Continuing the Genesis associations, Nick D’Virgilio is featured on drums.
Track 15: Into The Lens – Andy Neve
The albums most upbeat song, led by percussion and understated piano. This world music inspired song features lovely operatic vocals throughout. Nick Magnus contributes to the song, providing some musical programming.
Harmony For Elephants is an interesting album filled with an enormous amount of talent. This collection of unique songs entertains, but with a bigger picture in mind, helping a worthy cause. Putting together a compilation album with so many artists with a connection to Steve Hackett and Genesis has created quite an intriguing album. The exclusivity and high quality of the songs makes this a worthwhile album to seek out.