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‘Speed the Plough’ - Before and After Silence (2021)

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‘Speed the Plough’
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Speed The Plough
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October 28, 2021
I remember an occasion when thumbing through some boxes of second-hand vinyl albums coming across two albums by ‘Speed the Plough’ one titled Mason’s Box and the other ‘Wonder Wheel. The name ‘Speed the Plough’ struck a chord, something I had remembered from a Celtic folk concert as being the title of a much played traditional tune from the past. In fact, the band’s name ‘STP’ it is a well-travelled tune, popular with fiddlers for over 200 years. So for me, looking idly through Cds or Vinyl, the name ‘Speed the Plough'’ set into play the seeds of recognition based on a loose memory and so t I grabbed both albums, thus resulting in one of my best ever chance music purchases.
For the uninitiated ,' Speed, the Plough are a New Jersey-based psychedelically inclined folk styled pop band that was formed back in 1984 by John & Toni Baumgartner and Marc Francia. The band since then have released nine albums up to and including 2017.
Generally, over successive years, new music from the band has been pretty sporadic. Therefore it was certainly good news to learn that during the lockdown, Toni and John Baumgartner had once again started to piece together new compositions and sharing musical ideas with their fellow musicians around the states and far and wide abroad. The final result was a 2021 album release titled ‘Before & after Silence’
An intriguing fourteen track album that is full of melody with interesting vocal and instrumental arrangements. There is however some slight variance in quality, especially the vocals, with some of the tracks reaching the pinnacle of excellence and others slightly lacking in such brilliance. The joy of this band though lies with the contra instrumental incursions that decorate the basic musical arrangements with outstanding beauty creating unbelievable layers of interest. Brilliant guitar that flows and sways seemingly with psychedelic intent adding much panache to the proceedings.
According to the ‘Press Release,’ Guitars on 10 of the 14 tracks were contributed by the indispensable Michael Baumgartner. Also, Guests on this project include Mayssa Jallad of Safar, Matt Piucci of The Rain Parade, Tara Key of Antietam, Brenda Sauter and Stanley Demeski of The Feelies, Jon and Deena of The Cucumbers, Rebecca Turner, Scott Anthony, Ed Seifert, Matt Davis, and STP alums John Demeski, Dan Francia, Ian Francia, Marc Francia, Christopher O'Donovan, and Richard Barnes.
1 Rush Hour
2 Just Because You Can
3 Beautiful Place
4 Unknown Quantity
5 Open Door
6 Once
7 What Happens Next
8 Broken Glass
9 Soul To Keep
10.The Other Side
11. Here In My Arms
12. Thunder Snow
13. Days Of Confusion
14. Rush Hour (Remix)
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