It takes this progressive folk-rock-bluegrass quintet from South Carolina a few songs, but once track three, "Long Slow Journey," starts spinning Farpoint gets in the groove with its amalgamation of standard rock instruments (including 12-string guitars) and mandolin, flute and "various odds and ends." Featuring the deep and soothing voice of Clark Boone, "Long Slow Journey" gradually builds, bouncing along to a charming acoustic rhythm. After a pair of elegant instrumentals ("Chinook" and "Tartans") comes "Circles," on which singer and keyboard/flute player Dana Oxendine's voice sounds more confident and prettier than it does on album opener "Live For Yourself." On the 14-minute, three-part "To the River," Boone and Oxendine harmonize beautifully, musically invoking old-school progressive themes.
Formed in 1997 and specializing in Yes covers (the band's first live performance was at YesCamp '98), Farpoint's self-produced first CD could have been better had the band included one of those covers. Who wouldn't want to hear a woman – especially one with a pleasantly strong voice like Oxendine's – not take on the vocal role of Jon Anderson?
Farpoint's sound is rather pastoral and organic, which may not appeal to everyone. But it is a welcome respite from the heavier material that's probably clogging your speakers.