It took 35 years from the self-titled debut to the second album Cloudborn for the band Art in America. The new record consists of the three founding members, the Flynn brothers. Chris Flynn on guitar, keyboards and vocal, Shishonee Flynn with concert pedal, harp, koto and tambura and Dan Flynn on drums and percussion. In addition there are 5 gust musicians, three on keyboards and two on bass.
Ralph Irish has written this about Cloudborn,
The rhythm section shines on The New Swami on Cloudborn. Dan Flynn lets loose with a heavy backbeat and some tasty, syncopated tom-tom work, and the bass sound will challenge the woofers of your speakers. Harp, sitar and Chris Flynn’s clever lyrics provide a great counterpoint. I Am I which picks up right where their 1983 debut left off. A chorusy guitar and harp intro leads into a straight-ahead rocker not unlike If I Could Fly from their debut, even referencing it in the lyrics toward the end. Lyrically, it explores the theme of the search for identity.
Drool is bluesy and shows off some of Chris Flynn’s slide guitar chops. Again, this song is a departure from past Art In America material, and this should be seen only as a strength. With 30 years to write new songs, there was obviously lots of music to choose from.
Someday has an acoustic guitar intro leads into a beautiful lead vocal by Chris Flynn, his rich voice undiminished by time. The lyrics were written by Flynn’s wife Nina Kahle, a talented recording artist in her own right. The words read like a prayer from someone trying to get their life together. The desperation in the verses (different day, same problem) makes way for a chorus with a strong feeling of hope (I will arrive someday). The instrumental section following the first chorus is worth the price of the entire CD. A beautiful, understated piano solo transitions to a softer passage with harp and guitar echoing each other. Suspended cymbals, sound effects and wind chimes fill the background to great effect, leading to a second chorus which drives the song home. The song ends unexpectedly after a second verse.
Cloudborn has thought-provoking lyrics, and solid musicianship and production, and is worth to check out for the prog heads.
Their debut album was produced by Eddy Offord (Yes, ELP), and included T Lavitz (Dixie Dregs) on keyboards with pre-production help from Steve Morse. The band has a unique sound and features a full Lyon & Healy pedal string harp played by Shishonee Flynn. It garnered considerable airplay and MTV video play when the album was released back in 1983, toured heavily in support of the album, headlining and opening for bands such as: U2, Steve Hackett, Split Enz, Roxy Music, Bill Bruford, Captain Beefheart, King Crimson and Gary Numan. The title song Art in America can still be heard on XM Radio Station.