Travel the roads of Flanaess with the Bards of Greyhawk

Bards of Greyhawk

Fantasy literature and rock and roll have often gone hand in hand. From Led Zepplin’s Misty Mountain Hop to Rush’s take on Xanadu, fantasy and science fiction have long played a role in music. Dungeons and Dragons however until recent years, has strangely had little non-parody related material. Enter the Bards of Greyhawk!

The Bards of Greyhawk come-from a rich gaming history. Rich (acoustic guitar, electric bass, foot pedal bass, percussion, penny whistle, and Lead Vocals) and Jeremy (plays, acoustic & lead guitar, percussion, viola, violin, mandolin, banjo, and harmony vocals) have long been gamers.  In this modern age, when our gaming community is far more easily connected, they have chosen a more original way to interact. Specifically, delving into the original modules that many of we lucky grognards got to play. The music while still a little raw, shows clear talent and as their first release progresses, so does the interesting styles fusioned to the lyric content.

BG1: A musical adventure for characters level 1-7

The first release from the Bards takes us down familiar terrain. The album cover is lovingly paying homage to earlier modules such as-the A1-A4 series. The artwork itself gracing the cover is by the amazing Jeff Dee. This further solidifies the creator’s attachment to the past. I have been pondering how best to present their work. Rather than tell readers what module each track refers to instead I will just mention what modules are discussed. Half the fun in listening to Bards is figuring out exactly which module is being referenced.

BG1 includes such modules as S2 White Plume Mountain, B2 Keep on the Borderlands and A1-A4 series. Yellow Sails was by far my favorite song on this album. The haunting acoustical work combined with harmonized vocals almost made me forget I was listening to a D&D related song. Some songs are clearly stronger than others but this is exactly what I would expect from a freshman album.

BG2: A musical adventure for characters level 8-15

Jeff Dee once again lends his talents to the artwork for the cover of this album. This album, however, differs greatly from BG1 in the style of the music. While opening acoustically it rapidly descends into a progressively harder and more intense rhythm. This change from the lighter tones of BG1 illustrates the intensity and danger level inherent in higher level D&D adventures of yesterday. Specifically, this album focuses in on the G series (Against the Giants) and the D series (descent into the depths of the earth etc). Once again I will not give away which song is about what, instead encouraging you the reader to find out for yourself.

Overall, BG2 shows clear progression in style and ability over BG1. Both albums are great, but being a Blind Guardian, Iron Maiden fan, I felt more closely attached to BG2. That being said, BG1 can easily be used in your own games as background music. The style truly evokes what one would expect from a traveling troupe of bards performing in a tavern. You can almost smell the ale!

Want to listen to Bards of Greyhawk?

You can currently pick up Bards of Greyhawk digitally on I-tunes, or CD Baby. If you are lucky enough to live in Colorado, you can catch them live in performance here in Denver in such venues as The Pit Stop Tavern. CD’s can be picked up at Crit Castle & Black & Read. Well worth the price, the listen and the nostalgia!

Until Next Time,

Chris Bishop

 

 

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