THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Critically acclaimed prog-rock vets Crack the Sky have been called “the best U.S. prog band you’ve never heard” by Rolling Stone and earned a spot on the magazine’s 50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums list. Now — 45 years after the release of their groundbreaking debut — they’ve delivered their most topical and timely release: Their 18th studio album Tribes.
The 13 tracks of Tribes may very well be Crack The Sky’s finest hour on wax to date. Just witness the breadth of its contents, whether it be the drawn swords of the title track, the warning shots of unrest in Another Civil War, the grand irony that permeates Another Beautiful Day, the nine-minute protective cocoon that runs amok before returning to tranquility in Quick, the skittish out-of-place textures of Stranger in a Strange Land, or the horn-driven funky turn of The Lost Boys. Tribes encapsulates the tenor of our times with style and panache by blending the band’s signature crunch with an intrinsic sense of melody in a way that has made the band diehard fan favorites for decades.
Singer John Palumbo acknowledges we all live in trying times. “The world has changed,” he concludes. “People have some really intense emotions, but if music can knock some sense into some of them, that would be terrific. It’s an aftereffect I’d be very happy about. Is that a goal? Well, I guess, somewhere down in my brain, it must be, because I keep trying to do it.” Palumbo pauses before rephrasing the question. “What am I trying to achieve with Tribes? I want people to think. That’s it. I just want ’em to think. I also want them to be entertained, which is why we do this — but the entertainment part really comes from live performance. But, overall, I want people to think.”
Adds guitarist Rick Witkowski with a laugh: “What I’d like people to walk away with from the record is for them to go, ‘Gee, I’d love to hear that again!’ I do like the fact that we don’t take sides. We’re presenting the current state of affairs. We are not saying we’re this, or we’re that. I would love people to come together to agree to disagree — but still love one another. It’s easy to love the ones who love you back. But it’s not easy when someone disagrees with you and doesn’t think like you. It’s hard to love them.”
Tribes was mainly recorded at Studio L in Weirton, West Virginia. It was produced, engineered, and mixed by Witkowski and mastered by longtime band associate R. Lee Townsend at Real Time Studios in Maryland. Along with Palumbo and Witkowski, Crack The Sky includes Joey D’Amico (drums & vocals), Bobby Hird (guitars & vocals), Glenn Workman (keyboards & vocals) and Dave DeMarco (bass & vocals). Though they are approaching the half-century mark, Crack The Sky have no intention of gliding by on the past accomplishments of a deep-rooted career, but rather have their sights set on conquering the road that lies ahead.”