West – Out Of The Ashes [1989]

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Rating 77/100

Band Members Chuckie Vitale – Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Dana West – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Gary Cioffi – Drums, Vernon West – Lead Vocals, Bass

Tracks 01. Miracles (4:10), 02. Carry Me Back (4:26), 03. Heaven’s Rain (3:12), 04. Everything Is Nothing (3:35), 05. Dear Heart (3:30), 06. Bringing Down The Fire (2:57)

Profile They have been built around two brothers, Vernon and Dana West, bass and lead guitar, respectively. Both brothers sing lead with distinctly different voices that still have that sibling resonance when they harmonize. Dana is a guitar monster that regularly mesmerizes every guitarist within miles when he begins to play. Vernon plays bass like a freight train with 747 jet engines, and still manages to sing like the Lennon to Dana’s McCartney. Shakespeare says, “comparisons are odeous”, but Vernon & Dana have been compared to Lennon & McCartney too often to not give it one mention.

Their drummer, another Revere native, Gary Cioffi, gives the sound the percussive power it needs, and knows when to lay out, too. At last count, Gary’s 100th drum set was still barely strong enough to withstand the passionate pounding he delivers. Sass has played from LA to New York, and from Boston to Switzerland, and they have almost broken through to the Big Time so many times, they are candidates for the Guiness Book. What is the Big Time anyway? If it means to have written songs that become part of people’s lives in such a way that they use them as their first dance for their wedding, or to play at their grandfather’s funeral, or to save their life from suicidal depression, or just for plain satisfaction in traffic on the way home from work, then yes, Sass has made it.

There is no way for words to adequately describe Sass music. It is an experience. It is an entity unto itself. It Happens when The Three take the stage and begin To Play. The Audience becomes the completion of The Circle, and then the Energy begins to spiral upwards and outwards at an almost infinitely exponential rate. It is expansive and overwhelming. It evokes emotions of intense joy and a weird sadness…it becomes something altogether funny, but full of a hot passion. It is laughter and tears in unison. It is dangerous but it is nurturing, all at once. Talk to someone who has been to a Sass show. Maybe they’ll be able to explain it, but this is best done immediately following the show, when the imprint is still resonating. But what you will hear will be the same thing: it must be experienced. Some of their many songs have been recorded.

It is very difficult to capture the living essence of Sass in a studio recording, but the attempt continues. Much like trying to catch a firefly in a jar, or a rainbow in a camera, something is always lost. But for someone who has seen the rainbow, or seen the firefly, the picture is a memory bookmark, and it is possible to evoke the sense of power that the original experience held. That is how it is with Sass. Sass has been led to play music for anyone who would like to hear it.


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West - Out Of The Ashes [1989], 7.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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One Response to “West – Out Of The Ashes [1989]”

  1. Pamela Gilleo says:

    I really miss these guys…any way to get my hands on the cd?

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