Z PLAN: Circus CD 1998 rare. Very good singer, great Soft Rock, Rock, A.O.R., Melodic Rock. Boston, Styx. Check all (12) samples
Check all (12) samples: https://clyp.it/jh5uwbpg?token=d321bf2b12afbb6182aec86363b5457b
Original Release Date: 17 Oct 2000
Label: Victory Alley
Copyright: (C) 1998 Victory Alley
Genres: Classic Rock, Pop/Pop Rock, Pop/Soft Rock, Rock, A.O.R
Pete Hodson: vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, producer [also with Arc Angel on the “Harlequins of Light” album]
Bill Welch: vocals, acoustic guitar
Larry Nero: vocals
Dean Christiano: drums
Ed Merola: bass
Jeff Cannata: producer
1. So Long to Yesterday 3:53
2. Guilty 4:10
3. Circus 3:08
4. Calling Out 3:55
5. Maybe 2:49
6. Believe 3:50
7. Time Will Heal You 2:38
8. Paradise 4:26
9. Don’t Wanna Wait 4:08
10. Part of a Dream 3:38
11. Let Love Lead the Way 4:00
12. Lessons 6:52
Total Running Time: 47:27
Cult AOR hero Jeff Cannata produced their album. What we have here is “a grower”! Most of these songs do not have immediate appeal, but given time one might be able to find some hidden aspects in them. The music of Z plan reminds me a bit of The Bridge, the project of Lillian Axe vocalist Ron Taylor, acoustic guitar-driven pop rock. Other influences my old ears picked up include Kings X and Simon & Gartfunkel – check out “Maybe”! The harmony vocalizing of these guys has to be heard to be believed!
For me, the highlights were the more uptempo tracks like the catchy “Let Love Will Lead The Way” (A bit like Nelson) and “So Long To Yesterday”. Out of the more mellow – or should I say “dreamy”- material I especially liked “Guilty” and “Lessons” (nice surprise uptempo finale there!).
I’d recommend this to anyone who s into the Bridge album, the lighter moments of Nelsons “Because They Can” or Simon and Garfunkel with a modern approach.
“Another MASTERPIECE of vocal Harmony destined for Greatness…”
“…this is one of the best soft rock albums that I’ve ever heard.”
“I was blown away…Major labels, are you listening?”
“I love rock. I love melody. I love great soaring harmonies. I love this CD!”
Z-PLAN the combined talents of some of the finest musicians, giving the band serious drive and ambition. The fuel is their positive attitude, and the vehicle that will take them to the top is the average listener. While the songs range from ballads to straight on rock, the band delivers a style all their own. With a world gone crazy everyone needs something to soothe their souls
Another MASTERPIECE of vocal Harmony destined for Greatness…
author: Bob Peppler
This amazingly talented group of musicians, writers, and singers spearheaded by Pete Hodson have again unleashed their superb vocal chemistry and created a powerful CD that will certainly captivate your senses and thrill your soul… The opening number “A Change From Within” sets the mood of the Album and showcases the strong vocal harmony that has become Z-PLANs award-winning TRADEMARK. My favorite song and, in my opinion, the best cut on the CD is “Carrie Ann”. This number glistens with powerful harmony and shadows of CSN&Y are quite apparent throughout the song, but what stands out in my mind, is the unique blending of guitar, voice, and percussion. Dean Christiano, Z-Plans drummer, really shines on this song and provides perfect timing for the mixing of voice and guitar. Timing is the perfect element in the production of a good song and Dean Christianos drumming is the reason why the vocals and guitar playing blend together so well on this number. He is one of the best drummers in the business…. There are also some pleasant surprises on this album. Bill Welch has a nice little acoustic solo guitar piece called “Bills Diddy” that showcases his extraordinary guitar playing. Pete Hodson told me this number was recorded in the studio on the second take and I quote Pete when he says, “Bill is that good!” Listen to it and judge for yourselves folks….. The second surprise is the last song on the CD. “Loose Lips” is a lively little swing number that spotlights the Bands versatality. These guys can play anything! The mark of a good Band is the ability to diversify their music styles and be creative. This musical effort by Z-PLAN demonstrates how good their sound really is and I believe they are well on their way to becoming a major influence in the Music industry. If you’re tired of that same old scream into the microphone, hip-hop, RAP infested music that has flooded the Radio Stations and Music Stores in the recent years, then I suggest you free yourself from the chains of bad music and surround yourself with the refreshing sound of Z-PLAN! Bob Peppler
Z Plan play in a semi-acoustic style and though their melodic influences are embedded in the seventies, they are still a product of the nineties. Keeping the latter in mind, for me they are a mix of Venice, Nelson and Arizonas Innuendo, while their seventies feel harks back to the likes of Crosby Stills And Nash, no doubt due to the strong three part vocal harmonies supplied by Hodson, Welch and Nero. The other ‘Z Factor’ on this album is that ‘Mr Arcangel’ himself Jeff Cannata assists Pete Hodson with the production, and his influence helps precedings accordingly. Track opener so Long To Yesterday’ has strong vocal harmonies, and to me this rocks similarly to Randy Jacksons Zebra, off their 1st album. The other notable rocker is ‘Let Love Lead The Way’ which could be Nelson. ‘Guilty’ is probably best representative of the entire album, a softer acoustic workout with layers of keyboard sitting behind it. The title track ‘Circus’ moves into symphonic territory. Are we sure Mr Cannata didn’t have a hand in this? Next track ‘Calling Out’ has some gorgeous guitar melodies while the CSN feel is evident on ‘Maybe’ which is primarily a vocal workout. ‘Paradise’ is one of my favorites, a simple song but executed in a style not unlike Innuendo. ‘Don’t Wanna Wait’ is another great track, and has a effective simple but catchy chorus. The album closer ‘Lessons’ is near on 7 minutes and though it takes a wee while to warm up, the finish is worth waiting for. Overall, Z Plan have released a totally appropriate slice of melodic rock, which sits quite comfortably across a range of musical genres. Those people out there who appreciate music spanning 3 decades in a fresh nineties approach will find Z Plan to their liking.
Well, well, well…every now and then a CD comes along out of nowhere and just absolutely floors you with its harmony, melody, production, and sheer musicianship. This is just such an album! Laid-back “West Coast” AOR with wonderful hooks and harmonies. The influences here are myriad, with interwoven touches of Toto, CSN, Chicago, Boston, Yes, and even 4 Him and Dan Fogelberg…overall a very “late ’70s” feel to the album, but with upscale production.
Track By Track:
— So Long to Yesterday (3:53). This is probably my favorite track on the album. Acoustic verses balanced with a powerful chorus reminiscent of Boston or 80s-era Yes (which isn’t surprising, as it is this type of vocal harmony which endears Jeff Cannatas Watching the World to me).
— Guilty (4:10). A very CSN-ish mid-tempo ballad, very smooth and mellow.
— Circus (3:08). This song reminds of vintage 4 Him, straight from The Basics of Life, with once again tinges of CSN in the choruses. Good keyboard work throughout. One of the more upbeat tracks on the album.
— Calling Out (3:55). We drop back down a notch or two to a mid-tempo ballad. Theres something about the bridge harmonies on this track that I just love, *but* the harmonies disappear at the chorus! AUGH! Buildup, BUILDUP,…..letdown. Don’t get me wrong, its not a bad track by any means; I would have loved to see the chorus go over the top…
— Maybe (2:49). A very acoustic Dan Fogelberg/CSN-type ballad. Vocal harmonies with just the barest of acoustic instrumentation makes for a wonderful interlude. Very well executed!
— Believe (3:50). While this song is fairly nondescript, you find yourself losing yourself in the melodies, and before you know it, the song is over. An upbeat, romantic tune.
— Time Will Heal You (2:38). Some interesting instrumentation starts off this mid-tempo track. I’ll be honest; this one didn’t work that well for me. I kept hearing Hootie and the Blowfish during the initial verse. Luckily, that disappears once you get to the chorus, but the song never quite “does it” for me.
— Paradise (4:26). This one screamed out Simon and Garfunkel to me, very reminiscent of Homeward Bound. Its a nice little groove that works very well…
— Don’t Wanna Wait (4:08). This opens up with a nice heavy guitar riff and keyboard intro that leads into a moderately rocking tune that reminds me (not sure why) of the theme from Friends…better harmonies though.
— Part of a Dream (3:38). This one is a rocker that exudes all sorts of harmonic comparisons, I hear Chicago, Zebra, Loverboy, and even a little bit of Night Ranger, while instrumentally, its more of an ’80s Europop ditty. One of the best tracks on the album, just loaded with harmonies.
— Let Love Lead the Way (4:00). Another rocker, this reminds me of the James Young-led Styx tunes, blended with bit of older REO Speedwagon on the chorus.
— Lessons (6:52). We close out the album with a wonderfully arranged ballad, featuring some nice piano work. This haunting track reminds me eerily of Styxs Boat on the River, with a very CSN chorus.
This group takes the very best musical subtleties from many classic AOR groups and blends them into a style that is uniquely their own. The musicianship is top notch, the production superb, and sure to please any fan of ’70s-’80s AOR. This effort far surpasses many of the efforts being released on major labels these days!