NORWAY – Rising Up From The Ashes Revisited & Band Update

Norway was (is?) a band from New Jersey. Many years back I received the band’s 2nd album – Arrival (on Frontiers). It was a good disc of AOR/Hard rock featuring excellent cuts like “Givin’ It All”, “One Night Alone”, and “Find My Way Home”.

The band featured Jim Santos (guitar, synth prog), Glenn Pierson (vocals, keyboards), Joe Slattery (bass) & Marty Brasington (drums). In 2006 the band changed singers with Pierson being replaced by Dave Baldwin (ex Voices), and issued Rising Up From The Ashes (MTM). Not sure how this album did at the time, but I was unaware of it til I stumbled on it a few months ago. The songs and performances here are still just as good than the previous 2 albums, though the production and approach comes up a bit more AOR than Arrival. Plenty of appealing radio friendly tracks like “Save Me”, this could’ve been a hit in a slightly different era, But there’s plenty of good pop/rock songs here – “Anything At All”, “The Power of Gold”, as well as ballads like “Haunted”, and “The Only One I Need”

Much of this stuff bordering on Bon Jovi and Journey. type tunes and sound not so much keyboards, but in the backing vocals. Guitarist Jim Santos notes that the album did not turn out as planned- “MTM basically released our demos;-the drums and guitars were supposed to be re-done in a proper studio — didn’t happen.”

Santos is planning to put together a ‘Best of Norway‘ for possible release later this year, and having heard one of his much improved remixes, it sounds like it will be a welcome release for those who dug those Norway albums – “There are 5 songs from Night Dreams and 5 from Arrival, and 2 from Rising Up-that Glenn will redo the lead vocals that were sung by Dave Baldwin, plus we’re thinking of 2-3 brand new tunes and a pile of ‘extra’s’ -demo’s, lost unreleased tracks, and possibly a few special collector editions. Might be two discs. We’ll see what happens.”

Although Santos insists the band never really broke up, the members have gone on to other things, but intend to get back together for the upcoming Best of“Drummer Marty Brasington had moved to Columbus Ohio shortly after Rising , which made it “difficult”. There were other individual personal matters that each of us had to handle. I moved to California for 5 years which didn’t make it any easier, lol. For my part I stay active playing everyday, recording, songwriting. I wrote lyrics for one song on the forthcoming new Frozen Rain album, and played guitar on a couple of things for Adry A (Mattsonn) and we wrote one song together. I know Marty plays with a classic rock band in Ohio. He has a small recording setup, and will be working on drums for a couple of new songs for the Best Of. Glenn also just writes and plays piano at home. Now he moved to South Carolina only 3 1/2 hours away from me, so we’re planning some catchup sessions. Bassist Joe Slattery, I think still lives in NJ, not sure what he is doing these days.”

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