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Grey Eye Glances

(formerly known as Sojourn)


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Ethereal alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, Grey Eye Glances Live (2003). Most recent studio album, A Little Voodoo (2002)

See also:

Grey Eye Glances site

Comparisons:

October Project, The Moon Seven Times, Natalie Merchant on Ophelia. (afries@zip.com.au)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Please note: For their first two albums, Songs Of Leaving and Further On..., the band performed under the name Sojourn.

The reason I got interested in Grey Eye Glances was that I was looking for something to fill the hole that October Project left :-( Grey Eye Glances is "October Project Lite", to me :-) (fleur)

I really like Grey Eye Glances. Theirs is very melodic, smooth, gently floating sound. The word "romantic" springs to my mind somehow. And then there is Jennifer Nobel's voice.... She has one of these voices that I like listening to not for any amazing technical tricks, unusual range or strength but just because I enjoy the sound of it. They might be slightly too poppy, smooth and inoffensive for these of you who like their music more on the edge. Others would find them moving and vastly enjoyable. As a reference point, I'd suggest The Moon Seven Times, especially on Sunburnt. If you liked this one, I'm sure Grey Eye Glances would be for you. (afries@zip.com.au)

I like Grey Eye Glances a fair sight more than october project. their sound is a very bright, uplifting and positive. their music is soft pop with lots of lush instruments, in the october project vein. vocalist jennifer nobel has a lovely voice that at times reminds me of sally fingerett. some of the songs are sappy, but in the way that some of happy's recent songs ("collective heart" for example) are sappy: sweet saccharine, but tasty. (woj@smoe.org)

Their current success couldn't happen to a nicer and more talented band! I compare them to The Moon Seven Times, except that I think Sojourn [Grey Eye Glances] is even better! Can't rave enough about this band. Folx, this be good stuff. (rlovejoy@comcast.net)

In my opinion THE best band in the world. (sspan)

I saw Grey Eye Glances and found them to be decidedly mediocre. Did pretty much nothing for me. I listened to the Eventide album and thought it was pleasant. I have found their albums to be pretty flat. Then again, I've also found that their live show was a pretty fair representation of their album. Fans seemed to like it, but I was pretty bored. (Obviously, your mileage may vary.) (1/01, neal)

Grey Eye Glances is best described as a folk-rock, alternative pop group with occasional dashes of Celtic or country now and then, like you might add seasoning to a gourmet meal. Lead singer Jennifer Nobel's voice is lovely and pure. She has a great range, and can hold high notes like few others. Her voice, though unique, reminds me a little of Annie Haslam (Renaissance) and Mary Fahl (October Project.) All three of these singers have lush, crystal voices. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

Wow. Just good old fashioned rock my socks off WOW! In case it's not ridiculously evident, Grey Eye Glance has rapidly become one of my favorite bands, and I'd like to thank the people who talked them up on ecto earlier and piquing my interest in them. (foghornj@earthlink.net)

Comments about live performance:

I've seen them live several times—always a great show. (sspan)

I saw Grey Eye Glances, and unfortunately, I wasn't all that impressed. Actually, I had decidedly split feelings about them. I thought the songs were nice enough, but really disliked the arrangements. Occasionally, the vocalist had a nice The Moon Seven Times vibe going, in phrasing and tone, but I disliked pretty much everything that came out of the electric guitar and synths. The problem was made eminently clear when they played Yes' "Your Move". I thought this song played into all of the bands weaknesses, and none of their strengths. I liked Grey Eye Glances's melodies, and the Yes song was pretty sparse in the catchy melody division. And realizing that the band were Yes fans explained what they were trying to do in their arrangements. I never cared for it when Yes did it, and I think they were dramatically more interesting than Grey Eye Glances. (neal)

I saw Grey Eye Glances at Borders a couple of weeks ago. They are quite good live. Definitely check them out if they come to play a Borders near you! (cmont@rci.rutgers.edu)

Grey Eye Glances' outdoor concert in Herndon, Virginia last night was absolutely great fun, and a musical treat. It's one thing to hear a group that's as accomplished at Grey Eye Glances, but it doubles the pleasure to watch a band that having a wonderful time performing, too. When a group enjoys being on stage, then that pleasure magically enhances the music.
     You can tell that this is a band that enjoys each others' company and is synched well, and that spills over into the music. A couple of times various band members missed their cues to start playing, and the other band members took the mistakes with humor and a shrug. (The blame for the missed cues rests entirely with the sun—Grey Eye Glances was playing on an outdoor stage, looking directly into the setting July sun.
     Grey Eye Glances performed songs from their various albums, including Eventide, and Painted Pictures. Lead singer, Jennifer Nobel's voice was as lovely and pure live as it is on their CDs. She touched a lot of hearts in Herndon when she sang "Angel."
     I especially liked that Grey Eye Glances performed their songs differently than on the CDs—the band is innovative. They also played, joked and jammed around a bit on stage. Their final song of the concert was one of my favorites, "Halfway Back"—they performed three different renditions of it. On the Eventide CD "Halfway Back" starts with an upbeat tempo; when they played it on stage, they started slowly, making it sound like liquid poetry.
     Guitarist Brett Kull took to the banjo for one song—a pleasant treat. They also played two songs, "Moonlight" and "Big Red Boat," from a forthcoming CD—something to definitely look forward to. (7/99, billonline@adlerbooks.com)

It was a wonderful show. My only complaint would have been it was not long enough.
     The band intro part of "Halfway Back" was amazing too, as each person took the band into various cover tune snippets, including Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein", R.E.M.'s "The End of the World", the disco staple "Stayin Alive" (really), and the clincher—Jennifer covering Robert Plant for Led Zep's "Rock and Roll". Just a verse, then snapping back into "Halfway". Very tightly done, and gads of fun. (12/99, foghornj@earthlink.net)

I just saw Grey Eye Glances and want to recommend that you not miss them, if you get a chance to see them. What a wonderful show. Jen Noble was in fine voice, and the guitar player (Brett Kull) is amazing, pulling all kinds of unexpected sound from a variety of stringed instruments (guitar, lap steel, mandolin). The songs are infectious and as hook-filled as anything you'll hear anywhere. Not to be missed. (2/00, keefer@msmary.edu)

Recommended first album:

Eventide, Painted Pictures

Recordings:


Songs of Leaving

Release info:

1993—BMI (under band name of Sojourn); re-issued 1996—Sojourn Hills Music (with a bonus track: the cover of Yes' "Your Move")

Availability:

Available from their website

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Dwayne Keith—piano, voice
Jennifer Nobel—voice, guitar
Eric O'Dell—bass, voice

Guest artists:

Michael Pilla—guitars
Richie DiCarlo—drums

Produced by:

Grey Eye Glances

Comments:

The arrangements are more sparse than on Eventide, but the style of writing is unmistakably the same. (afries@zip.com.au)

I must say that after buying their 2 original CDs based on ecto recommendations and on www sound clips, I was a little disappointed. A few weeks ago I listened again—now Songs of Leaving is quickly becoming my favorite new cd of the year. It is truly excellent. I would definitely say October Project is a good basis for comparison, but the arrangements a less lush and that has the effect of making it more meaningful in some way—also, I really like the lyrics, at least to the extent that I listen to lyrics. So I would have to recommend this CD. It's not as immediately arresting as say "Bury My Lovely" was, but after a few listens, it's quite excellent. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)


Further On...

Release info:

1994—BMI (under band name of Sojourn), Sojourn Hill Inc

Availability:

Available from their website

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Dwayne Keith—piano, voice
Jennifer Nobel—voice, guitar
Eric O'Dell—bass, voice

Guest artists:

Steve Mogaw—guitars
John Avarese—synths, piano, accordion
Ritchie DiCarlo—drums
Caryn Lin—violin
Hank Gorman—synths

Produced by:

Joe Alexander

Comments:

i rather liked it, even though it may have been just a hair too slickly sweet for my usual tastes. there's some really nice musical bits on a couple of the songs. i particularly like "take my heart" and "whispers". (woj@smoe.org)

Further on has earlier versions of several songs that appeared again on Eventide: "Halfway back", "Snow" and "Something to live for". It's interesting to trace their development, and I for one am glad they re-recorded them, as the Eventide versions seemed much better to me. Or maybe it's just that I'm more familiar with them? (afries@zip.com.au)

I bought Sojourn's further on based on discussion in ecto and was pretty disappointed in it. The music was kind of bland, ordinary, acoustic rock. It wasn't actually bad but I didn't ever get too motivated to listen to it. (dbucak@netaxs.com)

Initially my reaction to this disc wasn't positive; however, after a few more listens I warmed up to it quite a bit more. There are a few songs that really don't do much for me, as someone said previously, they're rather bland and ordinary. But there are some tracks that I like quite well, especially the songs called "Snow" and "Something To Live For". The latter part of the disc seems to be stronger than the first few songs. I can certainly see why October Project and Renaissance fans are drawn to Sojourn [Grey Eye Glances]. Very similar styles. As always, mileage may vary. (kcd@cray.com)


Eventide

Release info:

1997—Mercury Records—314 534 198-2

Availability:

Available

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Dwayne Keith—piano, voice
Jennifer Nobel—voice, guitar
Eric O'Dell—bass, voice

Guest artists:

John Avarese—piano, hammond, accordion
Bill Belcher, Brett Kull, Glenn Rosenstein—guitars
Paul Ramsey—drums
also performing—large string section...

Produced by:

Glenn Rosenstein

Comments:

Best CD to come out this year. (sspan)

I just got eventide less than a week ago and have been playing it at least once a day! eeeeeep! I love this group! Although I hope you all will forgive me if I think of them as "October Project Lite" (fleur)

I love October Project, and I liked Sojourn's Further On, and I like this one as well. Though I like the songs that were re-recorded from Further On better in the first version, and overall I think Eventide is a bit too polished for my liking. And I have to admit that while I can see where the comparisons to October Project come from, I find October Project (especially the first album) much more powerful than Grey Eye Glances. October Project Lite indeed. Anyway, this is a very pleasant album. (Marion)

This is way too pop/smooth for my tastes. (Neile)

I ordered this based on ecto recommendations, and when I first got it I thought it was okay. Mildly pleasant but not very interesting. I pulled it out again tonight, and I like the lead singer's voice. The music sounds more distinct to me now, and though it's not particularly original or innovative, it's pretty good pop. I think this is the *happiest* album I own. And it's hard to find good, fun, happy music that isn't just cotton candy fluff. Comparisons: Definite reminders of Sunburnt-era The Moon Seven Times and shades of 10,000 Maniacs. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Eventide is excellent. Ethereal pop, somewhat of a cross between October Project and The Moon Seven Times. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)


Painted Pictures

Release info:

1998—Mercury Records

Availability:

Available

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Dwayne Keith—piano, voice
Jennifer Nobel—voice, guitar
Eric O'Dell—bass, voice

Guest artists:

Brett Kull—guitars
Paul Ramsey—drums

Produced by:

Ian Cross and Barrie Maguire

Comments:

An E-News review speaks for me when it says this album is "..eerily affecting, somberly beautiful pop" and talks about the richness of Jennifer Nobel's voice. It also talks about how well-crafted and delicately layered the album's songs are. It says the album is "a gentle surprise, and one that sticks...." That pretty much sums it up for me. Reading that review I noticed that this disc does indeed remind me of Natalie Merchant—especially as she is on Ophelia—and that's a high praise in my book. (afries@zip.com.au)

I was surprised to see an online store listed this disc as "New Age" when I was ordering it from them. When I listened to it, though, I found the categorization, as much as I hate to categorize anything at all, could be considered accurate. The disc is much more laid back than their previous stuff, it doesn't have as much of the upbeat dancey music like "Passing of the Evening" or "Halfway Back". I think some of their energy might be getting sapped by the broader-based touring and the eight CD (I think it's eight) contract they have with their label to be completed in the next six years.... This is not to say that I don't enjoy the disc, I do enjoy ballads and Jennifer Nobel's voice is still one of the most glorious voices I've heard in a long while. "Sleepy" earns points as a neat lyric for anyone who's been trapped listening to a really boring person...(kscleaves@juno.com)

I've owned Painted Pictures for a couple of months, and while I can honestly say I like it, it really hasn't made a very strong impact on me. I enjoyed Grey Eye Glances' first album quite a bit, but Painted Pictures is not grabbing me the same way. Their songs are pleasant, melodic, lovely to listen to, but lacking the spark that powered October Project, who I find them to be similar to. There are only a couple of songs that stand out to me, so all in all, I would say it's a good album, but a little unremarkable. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Although less touching than their Eventide album, this album has a number of catchy songs and is said to resemble their live sound more. It sounds cleaner, more 'produced' than their other albums, but has less of those moments where you really get pulled in. Still, a must-have for any geghead. (l.vanstuivenberg@chello.nl)

From the fun pop sound of 'Kind of Love' to the deep and powerful 'Perfect Plan', this album is full of great songs. (sspan)


One Day Soon

Release info:

1998—Mercury—JED1011

Availability:

Out of print

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Grey Eye Glances fans

Produced by:

GEG and Erik Horvitz

Comments:

One Day Soon was released in support of Painted Pictures. It might be described as an "extended single"; it combines two remixes of the title track, a holiday tune, and six tracks recorded before a live studio audience for Philly-area AAA WXPN's nationally-syndicated "World Cafe" program. The live tracks are a mix of material from Eventide and Painted Pictures. This was their last recording before being dropped by Mercury.

Grey Eye Glances 1992-98

Release info:

1999—Sojourn Hills Records

Availability:

Limited edition; available through their website only

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jennifer Nobel—vocals
Dwayne Keith—vocals, keyboards
Eric O'Dell—vocals, bass
Brett Kull—guitars
Paul Ramsey—drums

Comments:

This is one of three limited edition Grey Eye Glances CDs. (The other two are Grey Eye Glances 1998-99 and Grey Eye Glances Live.) Grey Eye Glances 1992-98 has some early Grey Eye Glances songs, as the album's title implies. Most of the songs on this CD you'll also find on some of Grey Eye Glances's later CDs, but there I found a lot of enjoyment in listening to a CD that has different arrangements for songs that appear on the other CDs. Jennifer Nobel's voice is as pure, pleasant, and lush on this CD as it is on all of Grey Eye Glances's albums. (One of the things I've always liked about Grey Eye Glances is that you can actually understand all the words in their songs without having to squint at the CD liner notes.) One word of warning about this CD: It costs $75. Why? Grey Eye Glances 1992-98 was released by the band in 1999 as part of their effort to buy back the licenses to their songs from their old record company. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

A couple of real nice albums of mostly previously unreleased material from the last 8 years. Finally I got to hear 'The Pirate Song', and I can see why people who've heard them do it at their live shows like it so much.
     Always a great day when I get new GEG to listen to :). (sspan)


Grey Eye Glances 1998-99

Release info:

1999—Sojourn Hills Records

Availability:

Limited edition; available through their website only

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jennifer Nobel—vocals
Dwayne Keith—vocals, keyboards
Eric O'Dell—vocals, bass
Brett Kull—guitars
Paul Ramsey—drums

Comments:

Grey Eye Glances 1998-99 is one of the three, expensive ($50), limited-edition CDs, released in a fund-raising effort by the band to buy their songs back from their former record company. Only 300 CDs were produced. When it was released in 1999, most of the songs on Grey Eye Glances 1998-99 were unavailable on any other CD. While you can now get the same magnificent songs on other CDs, there is charm in owning a CD that shows the band's evolution. Grey Eye Glances 1998-99 contains a mix of soft, passionate songs, such as "Even," "Ordinary Day," and "In the Garden," but it also has some of Grey Eye Glances's more bouncy titles, including "Mysterious." One of my favorite Grey Eye Glances songs, "Big Red Boat," is on this CD, as well: "Big Red Boat" is a funny, quirky song, sung by Jennifer Nobel (a voice I can listen to all day and night long.) It is about building a big red boat to sail away with her love, leaving the dull, drab work-world behind. Sounds like a great idea to me! (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

A couple of real nice albums of mostly previously unreleased material from the last 8 years. Finally I got to hear 'The Pirate Song', and I can see why people who've heard them do it at their live shows like it so much.
     Always a great day when I get new GEG to listen to :). (sspan)


Grey Eye Glances Live Double CD

Release info:

1999 (first available in 2000)—Sojourn Hills Records

Availability:

Limited edition; available through their website only

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jennifer Nobel—vocals, 12-string guitar
Dwayne Keith—vocals, keyboards
Eric O'Dell—vocals, bass
Brett Kull—guitars
Paul Ramsey—drums

Comments:

Grey Eye Glances Live is the third limited edition Grey Eye Glances CD (like the other two, it is also expensive: $100, but it is a double CD.) I'm generally not a big fan of live CDs, mostly because I feel that the applause and cheering detracts from the songs; also, the musical quality is often not as good as with a studio recording. But in some ways, Grey Eye Glances Live is their best CD. Grey Eye Glances Live shows the band's sense of humor, ranging musical talent, and expressiveness. The spontaneous applause and cheering that appear at the beginning, end and sometimes middle of the songs gives you confirmation that Grey Eye Glances's fans are as passionate about the band as the band is about its own songs. Some of the songs on the CD are introduced by the band members, which makes you feel like you're getting to know Grey Eye Glances. Although nothing can replace a live performance, this CD is a good substitute. And a good way of reminding you how wonderful that Grey Eye Glances concert was (if you were lucky enough to see one.) As always, Jennifer Nobel's voice is romantic, crystal clear and inspiring. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

This "bailout" live CD is a long show (about 2:10 overall), and apparently in Philadelphia, as the crowd knows them well, singing along to the opener. It's a very well recorded live CD, and edited fairly judiciously, leaving a fair amount of banter in. (foghornj@earthlink.net)


If I Was...

Release info:

2000—Sojourn Hills Records—UPC 6-60355-78242-8

Availability:

Out of print

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Grey Eye Glances fans

Comments:

If I Was... is another EP, featuring studio versions of six tracks previously only heard at Grey Eye Glances' live shows.

A Little Voodoo

Release info:

2002—Sojourn Hills—SHR55922

Availability:

See Grey Eye Glances' website

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Grey Eye Glances fans only

Group members:

Guest artists:

Produced by:

Paul Bryan, Jerry Marotta, Peter Moshay, T-Bone Wolk, and Grey Eye Glances

Comments:

A Little Voodoo was their first full studio album in five years, and a bit of a departure from Grey Eye Glances's previous sound. Unusually, A Little Voodoo was funded by a share offering to fans. "He and She" marks drummer Paul Ramsey's songwriting debut with the band. (Most previous tracks are written by the original trio of Keith, Nobel, and O'Dell.)
     To a long-time fan, A Little Voodoo was a bit disappointing, and struck me as overproduced. The clean live fave "Big Red Boat" now has a heavy disco-like rhythm track (and unfortunately, their live performances use the new arrangement). (comment source lost)

A very pleasant surprise, Grey Eye Glance have hit their stride with this album. A lot of catchy tunes on the new album that stick in my head for days. (cdavis@tir.com)

After the two (in my opinion) good albums I've bought of Grey Eye Glances, I'm fully disappointed in the new a little voodoo album. None of the songs have an impact on me as many of the songs from the eventide or Painted Pictures albums did.
     It seems to me that Grey Eye Glances is trying to walk the path of the 'big money' pop and therefore is trying to make the songs more 'accessible' to a new public... That motivation is of course fully understandable for people who are trying to live from music. But I think it is a bit of a pity when the music loses its contrast in the mainstream. (IoP@PanDorA.Be)


Grey Eye Glances Live

Release info:

2003—Sojourn Hills Records—UPC 8-29757-49022-9, 2003

Availability:

See Grey Eye Glances' website

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Grey Eye Glances fans

Comments:

This is a 14-track live recording from two venues: The Sellersville Theater and The Scottish Rite Auditorium, both near Grey Eye Glances's south Jersey home. The recordings were made while touring in support of A Little Voodoo, but include several tracks from older albums including a stripped-down acoustic version of "Halfway Back".

Further info:

Grey Eye Glances mailing list "Ethereal Dances" (managed by majordomo@vramp.net)


Thanks to Andrew Fries (afries@zip.com.au) and Bill Adler for work on this entry, and to Garrett Wollman for additional information on rarities.

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