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Fernwood | Almeria

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Album Links
Official Fernwood Band Website Gayle Ellett's site Todd Montgomery's site Fernwood's myspace page

More Artists From
United States - California - LA

Other Genres You Will Love
World: World Traditions Folk: Progressive Folk Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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by Fernwood

Contemporary yet traditional, frail and haunting, Fernwood has a strong cinematic, pan-cultural feel made by combining elements of pastoral psychedelic-folk with flavors of India, Ireland, Eastern Europe, Asia, and America, yet never in an obvious way.
Genre: World: World Traditions
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sandpiper
5:26 $0.99
2. Open Seas
4:13 $0.99
3. Crow
3:17 $0.99
4. Hungarian Holiday
4:04 $0.99
5. Athenia
3:51 $0.99
6. Makena
3:36 $0.99
7. Ruidoso
3:16 $0.99
8. Crane
4:26 $0.99
9. East Window
4:07 $0.99
10. Pelican
3:40 $0.99
11. County Line
3:16 $0.99
12. Nightingale
4:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Fernwood has been chosen by ECHOES Radio as "#4 CD OF THE YEAR"!

Fernwood has also has released a 2nd CD, called "Sangita" (available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/Fernwood2)

Fernwood's "Almeria" has been ECHOES Radio Show's "Top 25 CD Of The Month" for NINE MONTHS in a row in 2008
Fernwood was recorded by John Diliberto for his LIVING ROOM CONCERT SERIES, and their tune "Open Seas" is now included on the "ECHOES 20th Anniversary Living Room Concert Series CD" along with Al De Meola, Antoine Dufour, and others.

Frail and haunting, beautiful and dreamy, the music of composer team Todd Montgomery and Gayle Ellet has a unique, yet familiar feel. Both of them have been composing and performing music professionally, for over thirty years each. Working under the name "Fernwood", their cinematic music blends the beautiful sounds of Greek & Irish bouzouki, sitar, acoustic guitar, Chinese ruan, Turkish cumbus, Moroccan oud, mandolin, harmonium, gimbri, rababah, up-right bass and rhodes piano.

GUITAR PLAYER Magazine discribed the music as "Wonderfully melodic, expertly layered, masterfully interwoven, luscious yet rootsy.”

f-ROOTS (Folk Roots) Magazine (Ireland) said "Each piece has a cinematic feel and the album makes a cohesive, diverse and very rewarding listen."

Todd Montgomery and Gayle Ellett are exploring new areas of acoustic music. Contemporary yet Traditional, their music has a strong cinematic, and pan-cultural feel. By combining elements of pastoral acoustic psychedelic music, with the sounds of Traditional American, Irish, Eastern European, Asian, and Middle Eastern music, they have created a hybrid style that is uniquely their own.

They are currently working on a third CD, in a similar style as "Almeria" and "Sangita" , due out in Summer 2010. And they are also working with numerous film directors (on a bunch of diffrrent types of projects) from: Holland, India, Brazil, UAE, Finland, South Africa, Thailand, Australia, Croatia, Serbia, Turkey, New Zealand, Italy, France, Belize, Indonesia, Cuba, and Mexico.

Recorded in their Malibu studio, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, their music is a reflection of their lives in Southern California as well as the previous work they've done in the areas of Film and TV composition, Traditional World music, Rock and Jazz.

"Fernwood is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalists Todd Montgomery and Gayle Ellett. The two have scored numerous film soundtracks both together and individually, and it shows. The songs are wonderfully melodic and emotionally direct, the diverse instruments are expertly layered, and dynamics are an essential aspect of the orchestrations. Acoustic stringed instruments constructed of wood predominate, and timbre and sonority suggest place and idiom as strongly as the actual compositional structures. Middle Eastern, Asian, African, and European motifs are masterfully interwoven with Americana to form a luscious yet rootsy imaginary idiom that is intriguing, uplifting, and at once familiar and exotic."

"This month’s Spotlight is a beautiful acoustic based track featuring a combination of instruments that we rarely hear. While the writing, arranging and performances are of the highest order, it is the blend of the various instruments in the mix that really makes this recording something special to our ears.
Gayle and Todd have skillfully managed to combine numerous stringed instruments, many with competing frequency ranges, into an open, airy mix that leaves space for each individual sound source, while maintaining a full cohesive feel, free of artifact and digital “nasties.” Well done! Relax and enjoy! Highly Recomended!"

"Fernwood is a musical entity of two musicians who feel each other's essence for such cooperation well. This acoustic cooperation is rather descriptive, in a very moody way, with pickings and notes in different rhythmical speeds, spinning around, with some lovely tunes. The listing in my 'acidfolk' section does not completely do justice to this release.
Especially young people often tend to look for something with a hype factor, with "weird" or strange or modern associations, while the mature composer also recognizes better things that last longer, or that reflect harmonic balances. For record companies, harmonic results are also harder to sell or categorize, when the music does not follow any of the mainstream tendencies. Fernwood's music reflects harmonic pulses and melodies, arranged by the inspirations of a duo playing together with interactions and melted ideas of compositions, and a whole diversity of instruments."

"The concept behind this album should be enough to tempt any lover of acoustic music to click straight across to CDBaby and grab a copy of this album for a mere $12. The idea is beautiful in its simplicity: All the music is played by hand, on instruments made out of wood.
The exhaustive mix of World instruments is what separates this album from any acoustic instrumental record I’ve ever heard. The instruments are used in different combinations across the 12 songs. As a result there is a such a wide range of sounds, textures and energies that each stands as a wholly individual listening experience. As a listener I was kept enthralled, as each track opened new possibilities. An enchanting, beautiful and captivating aural pleasure."
Conclusion: 9 out of 10
Dutch Progressive Rock Page

"What the two pioneers of cinematic sound Todd Montgomery and Gayle Ellet offer in their recent release, Almeria is a truly stunning and unique array of soundscapes in a "pan-cultural" approach to composition. Self described as "pastoral and psychedelic," their style blends a traditional American acoustic sound with starkly contrasting elements of global influence, including Irish, Eastern European, Indian, and Middle Eastern. It's cowboy, it's jazz, it's Oriental. It's "no-pressure" art that does not extrovertly "sell," it casually assimilates and charms. Absolutely enchanting, a brilliant mix of interesting textures and layers of exotic acoustic timbers. A tantalizing taste of otherworldly aural delight."

ECHOES DJ and music reviewer John Diliberto said "Fernwood is a group that's hard to pin down. They mix Americana elements with Appalachian strings along with bouzouki's from the Middle East and Ireland and sitars from India. Headed up by Todd Montgomery and Gayle Ellett, who also plays guitar in the ultra-progressive rock band, Djam Karet, Fernwood creates a global chamber music with Americana accents and cinematically inclined melodies."

Check it out for yourself!

P.O.Box 4276
Malibu, CA. 90290 USA

TODD MONTGOMERY began experimenting with string instruments in the fourth grade. Since then he has enjoyed learning to play such instruments as Irish bouzouki, sitar, mandolin and guitar. He spent his teen years in psychedelic rock bands until he discovered the folk music of America and Ireland. In search of deeper improvisation in an established tradition, he studied the sitar for 3 years with a real sitar master, Harihar Rao, who is Ravi Shankar's oldest student. He performed on Irish bouzouki and mandolin for the movie, Chasing the Dragon, The Veronica Guerin Story. When he's not playing music or playing with his wife and son, Todd can often be found surfing the waves off Malibu.

GAYLE ELLETT has been composing and producing music for over 35 years, and has performed on over 90 CDs. He has written music for numerous Film projects and TV shows, commercials, animations, and music libraries. One of his main music groups, Djam Karet, currently has 16 CDs released so far, and has received great reviews and awards in hundreds of magazines world-wide, including ROLLING STONE magazine's "#2 Independent Album Of The Year" and BILLBOARD magazine's "Critic's Choice Award". Currently, you can hear his traditional Japanese Koto music playing on MTV-International. When he's not busy working in the studio, Ellett can often be found flying his hang glider 5,000 meters high over the mountains of Southern California and Northern Mexico.



to write a review

timothy p knauth

the haunting harmonics of the sitar blending with mandolins, dobros and guitars of all shapes and sizes make for a feast of soothing, extra-dimensional sound that took me on a journey to my inner peace. Thanks to these fine artists for refreshing my soul.

R.J. Yedema

Solemn, progressive and crystal-clear produced world-music
Behind Fernwood hides an incredible threesome. Gayle Ellett is particularly known as guitarist from Djam Karet, but on Almeria he manifests him self as a representative of world-music, primary using acoustic instruments like Greek bouzouki, oud, harmonium and guitar. He makes a couple with folk-connoisseur Todd Montgomery, whose Irish bouzouki- and mandolin-playing can be heard on the soundtrack from The Veronica Guerin Story. Producer Wayne Yentis looks like a dissonant in this gathering, because he made his name with the design of electric instruments for amongst others Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Supertamp, Joe Zawinul and Patrick Moraz, while he worked on synthesizers from his friend Tom Oberheim and build the Clavitar with his own company. Yet this clash between electric and acoustic backgrounds works remarkably well. Almeria pervades often the same sphere as records from The Penguin Café Orchestra: broad orchestrations full of strumming and diverse melody-lines which occur simultaneous and are played on many instruments, with rhythmic bass-patterns which create a certain link with rock. The latter is also accomplished by the effective deploy of organ and Fender Rhodes and the use of slide and E-bow. The songs are sometimes cheerful and bright, sometimes modest and sober. There are plenty of folkloristic elements present, because of which the listener feels as if he’s on a musical world-trip or hearing a sound-track from a culture-documentary, although he’s not getting the feeling of being dished up all kind of separate elements. Besides Penguin Café, the fans of the solo-work of Anthony Phillips will also find plenty of recognition, while the closing track Nightingale has the same desolate atmosphere as Nick Drake’s Pink Moon. Solemn, progressive and crystal-clear produced world-music.