Winter Park / Live Music: Moses Guest reminiscent of a funkier time |

Winter Park / Live Music: Moses Guest reminiscent of a funkier time

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

Music aficionados in the Fraser Valley are up for a treat Monday as Texas-based band Moses Guest returns to the Winter Park Pub to put on another great free performance. Grand County is just one of its many stops along a well-laid tour this summer for the Southern-inflected, melody-based, rock-jam band.

“Grand County, and specifically Winter Park, has long been one of our favorite places to play,” said Graham Guest, whose fifth-generation grandfather Moses was the inspiration behind the band’s name in 1995. The band produced a song about him called “St. Mo.” and “in some important ways, we have hoped to represent the South, in a positive way,” Graham said. “He might appreciate that as well.”

The band has performed with its current line-up for almost a decade. Members who have joined charismatic, worldly intuitive frontman Guest on his musical quest since 1998 are Rick Thompson on piano, organ, mandolin and back vocals, James Edwards on drums and back vocals, and Jeremy Horton on bass. Separately, each has a fascinating musical ear, range and talent that stands out on its own. Together, they are building a strong following, blending well with each of the other musicians throughout their growing repertoire which includes fan favorites like “Soap” and “California.”

A professional lawyer by day who is intrigued by nature and inspired by all art and music from the heart, Guest’s passion and master’s degree in philosophy show through his playful yet thought provoking lyrics.

The most “philosophically informed” tune so far, he said, is “Bird” off their sixth album, which came out last summer. He said it’s about language and illusion, and was specifically inspired by W.V.O. Quine.

During an interview for their “Edit” DVD project, Graham said the band really wants to just “check it all out,” referring to their wide range of musical styles. Who knows, he said, they could pull out 10-minute pieces with 16 different parts to them or even an instrumental album next.

As one of the songs says, the man has got change in his head, and Thompson agrees they look to constantly evolve.

“With Moses Guest, we go all over the place,” said Thompson, whose “sense of style and harmony is reminiscent of a funkier time when Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder graced the charts.”

Top hats go off to Edwards whose years of formal training and experience show through the jazz drummer’s spot-on timing and rhythm. His style and influences have been said to mirror those of the great Art Blakely and Tony Williams and the improvisational grooves of Moses Guest showcase that overflowing background.

Horton, a second-generation rock bassist, said he’s in “constant search for the groove.” His early days in the metal genre were put by the wayside when he realized he wasn’t that angry with the world anymore. Moses Guest’s danceable,

gentle-rolling sound inspired him to dance and from then on, the rest is history.

Compared to the Dave Matthews and Allman Brothers bands, Widespread Panic and Alice in Chains, Moses Guest’s purpose is simply to have fun and share. They hope people come away with “renewed personal energy, a sense of inquiry and adventure.”