Last year Ascent played Cross Rhythms. Now the band (plus one) are back with a new name and a new sound. EVE AND THE GARDEN spoke to Tony Cummings.
To move from heavy rock to meditative, roots-tinged music is a giant leap. But it's one taken by the musicians in the highly regarded Ascent who now, with the addition of a violinist, have re-emerged as Eve And The Garden. Drummer and percussionist with the "new" band Paul Cudby spoke about the circumstances of the transformation. "In October 1993 Ascent were forced to take a break from gigging. I'd badly damaged my hand and Alison (the band's vocalist and Paul's wife) had medical problems too. It was a time to really seek the Lord about future direction. We'd known Alyson Evans, now our violinist, for some time. Alison had known her from Brownies in fact! It just became obvious that we should take a new direction."
All band members belong to Jesters At The Court Of The King (or JACK), an" informal collective of Christians involved in performing arts who meet up with us in Oxhey for prayer and fellowship. They have been highly Supportive in emergence of Eve And The Garden and music which Paul describes as "a more evocative and communicative sound; something we had all been moving towards for some time."
Eve And The Garden's full line up is Alison Eve (lead vocals and acoustic guitar), Paul Cudby (drums), Paul A Davies (guitar synthesizer, lead guitar and bodhran), Alyson Evans (violin) and Phil Rainey (bass). The cornerstone behind the band is Alison Eve (her maiden name). As the group's ear-catching vocalist and songwriter, what, I asked, are Eve And The Garden trying to do with their music? "I think above all else is to communicate as well as we can. I'd been noticing for some time with Ascent that though I love rock music it was when I was doing solo sets with an acoustic that people were really being touched by my singing. For what I was writing, rock simply wasn't the best vehicle."
Eve And The Garden were recently in the ffg recording studios cutting their first cassette single. I asked Alison about the two songs recorded with engineer Dave Pickering Pick, the man behind Eden Burning. "The song 'Summon The Dawn' is basically about hope, about trusting in God in impossible circumstances. It grew out of a time of great trial for me. A relationship I had broke down, a ministry I was involved in petered out, my father died." Paul interjects. "It was also influenced by the poem by St Patrick 'Cry Of The Deer'."
The other song recently recorded with Dave Pick, "Every Bush Is Burning" was inspired by a holiday Paul and Alison had in Wales. Explains Paul, "We were driving along and I was relating the problems I had as a scientist and with what was written down in Scripture. Suddenly something happened. It was if the world was reduced to a piece of clingfilm. It felt like God was saying, 'When all is said and done, I am the God of all creation, the whole of creation shouts about the glory of God.'"The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.