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MP3 set on edge - A Story to Cling To

Emotive, sophisticated, artistic, alt-rock with lush arrangements and influences ranging from classical, blues, jazz, pop, folk, and classic rock.

8 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, ROCK: Classic Rock

Set on Edge is the musical project of songwriter/producer/vocalist/guitarist Shannon Lewis. Founded on the campus of Ohio University with co-writer Steve Rieske (and original members Randy Kinsey and Dave McCall), Shannon now continues Set on Edge with his recently solidified new line-up in Brunswick/St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Noted for strong vocals and passionate live performances, in Set on Edge''s music hope is seen through the eyes of sadness, and faith through the clouds of doubt and questioning - in the end joy still breaks through.

A Story to Cling to showcases the talents of Pat Strawser (formerly of Rock-n-Roll Summer, Volare, Atomic Cafe, & Spoon River), Brittnye Norris Alden (formerly of Nye, & Pedestrian), Patrick Davis (of Duke Davis, formerly of Jasper Gate), Emily Beam (also appears with Jessica Fore & Derick McTavish), Steve Grubbs (formerly of the Breakheart Beat), Andy Womack (formerly of Trilobite Cafe), Andrew Thurston (formerly of Atomic Cafe), Drew Lawson (formerly of Red Letter Blonde), and Daniel Claason (formerly of Mobway and Vigilantes of Love).

Other than "A Story to Cling To", Set on Edge has released "Autumn Song" and "Sod Pottage" (both are currently out of print), and is currently working on a 4th tentatively titled "Sleeper/Healer". Shannon is also recording a cd with his wife, Cyle, with his other band, Saint Lewis.

From Splendid E-zine;
"Set on Edge isn''t a Christian band per se... the songs on A Story to Cling To...fit better into the nebulous category of ''spiritual''. There''s no aggressive proselytizing, no in-your-face testaments to the power of the Lord. Nevertheless, it''s quite obvious that the lyrics are coming from a religious place. Lewis has a strong, expressive voice ...his technique generally blends well with the discreet yet ornate arrangements of guitars, strings and organs behind him. However, the EP''s standout track doesn''t even have vocals; "To the Woman Whose Husband Will Never Come Home" is a lingeringly melancholy piano piece. The variety of instruments in the music, as well as its vulnerable optimism, will give you the odd impression that you''re watching a full-band concert on PBS and participating in an acoustic-guitar jam around the campfire at the same time. ...This music expresses Christianity the way it seems like it''s supposed to be: not as the religion of Sunday-afternoon ten-percent tippers and judgmental politicians, but as the quiet joy of belief in God." - Sarah Zachrich

From Ink 19:
"Expansive folk pop performed with the unassuming air of a loose jam session among friends, Set On Edge come across like a male-fronted cross between Tracy Chapman and New Bohemians, with a slight glance in the direction of R.E.M. Front guy, vocalist, prime songwriter and producer Shannon Lewis sings with beautifully constrained passion, and the band''s strength is the strong interplay between musicians, the respect and understanding they show for the music they make. ...at the center of the band''s panoramic sound, lies some truly outstanding melodies." - Stein Haukland

From Phantom Tollbooth;
"If A Story to Cling To is any measure of their potential, Set On Edge are growing up to become gentle giants. ... I must warn those of my psychologist colleagues who specialize in patients who suffer from anxiety-related conditions. If this EP ever reaches your neck of the woods, and your patients happen to get their hands on it, you may eventually lose them as steady customers. ... It contains more cushion than a Freudian couch, and more healing power than seven shrinkin'' Sigmunds. ... Though finding the core band members may prove as an elusive undertaking...one thing is clear, songwriter/producer/vocalist/guitarist Shannon Lewis is the Magi in the magic. He has the gifts of at least three wise men...His voice is pristine, passionate, powerful and peaceful. It is harnessed by a trained ear, but emancipated by a heart that pines to draw forever nearer to the fountain of God''s grace. ... Each added member''s touch reflects protean capabilities. These are obviously extraordinarily talented, hand-picked musicians.

Each arrangement is well executed and extraordinarily orchestrated. The magic in _A Story to Cling To_ is made complete by the deft drums of Andy Womack. He doesn''t miss a beat and he''s got bursting bundles of energy to boot. Andrew Thurston''s 7 string bass on "Story" and "The Weaker David" show signs of Herculean strength. Drew Lawson of Red Letter Blonde fills in with fecundity on his fretless bass on "Summertime," a live, bonus track. Steve Rieske''s backing vocals on "Story" smoothly and seamlessly ally with Lewis'' lead vocals. Together they are bound to win battle for the heart and soul of every listener. Every trace of Patrick Davis'' lead electric and acoustic guitar arrangements puts a graceful face on this musically told story, and beckon the listener to cling tightly to each strum and run.

Emily Beam''s cellos combine with Daniel Claason''s violas to add a comforting, if hauntingly melancholic dimension to the EP''s low-key story line. ... Lyrically speaking, "The Weaker David" is the strongest link -- thanks, in part, to its soul source of inspiration, Dr. Larry Crabb''s book, _The Silence of Adam_. The rest of the songs flow like prayerful poems, each telling stories of their own. Each song reveals an abiding intimacy between a devoted, if spiritually depleted, disciple and God, the divine source and open-armed recipient of his devotion. It has been said that every picture tells a story. Though this picture is still in the works, it foreshadows an auspicious, burgeoning tale of triumph." - Bruce Theissen

From the Flagpole;
"Set on Edge: Shannon Lewis Has A Story To Cling To

Shannon Lewis is not what one could call a typical Athens music scenester. As opposed to the usual scruffy cynics, boozers and snobs so often seen on local stages, Lewis is bright, optimistic, articulate and boldly honest about his musical and spiritual ideas. The 29-year-old Ohio University telecom grad first dove into music as a youngster and became a professional musician 10 years ago when he began collaborating with fellow songwriter Steve Rieske. The two formed the alt-pop group Set On Edge in Athens, Ohio and played on the edges of the college-rock and Contemporary Christian scenes for four years before Lewis relocated to the other Athens.

"I fell in love with this place wholeheartedly," he beams. "When I graduated college, I packed everything into my Honda Civic and moved here in 1996."

That move did not put an end to the burgeoning Set On Edge, however, as Lewis held on to the band''s name and vision.

"Steve still writes and contributes, so in a sense, he''s still part of the band," explains Lewis. "Otherwise, it''s pretty much my project."

"It took me about two years before I had a full band to play out with," he continues. "Because of the musicians of that first group, it was sort of a jazzy blues-rock thing, but I was ultimately aiming for something else... something that''s passionate and new and moving, but not contrived."

A Set On Edge show these days could be anything from an acoustic trio with guitar, piano and cello to a full-on octet with organ, drums, electric bass, pedal steel and additional strings.

This week, Lewis and the current version of Set On Edge are set to release the new EP A Story to Cling To. The collection is the first disc from the band since 1998''s Sod Pottage (that title refers an Olde English term pulled from a passage in Genesis) and the debut full-length, 1995''s Autumn Song. The songs on the new disc reflect Lewis'' spiritual ideas and notions.

"All of those songs have been written and arranged since ''96," says Lewis, who''s clearly satisfied with the final result. "It''s just taken a long time to piece them together, but I think these five songs are fluid and cohesive as an EP... and there are three bonus tracks, too!."

The band''s current lineup includes Lewis on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and occasional bass guitar, and a veritable all-star cast of Athens players including Patrick Strawser on piano and keys, Patrick Davis on acoustic and electric guitars, and Emily Beam on cello and violin. Clint Knight is slated to play drums for a while.

While Lewis considers Set On Edge to be a serious musical/songwriting project more than an elaborate medium for his ideas on faith and spirituality, he still bumps into the same obstacles that every serious band in and around the Contemporary Christian music scene confronts.

"I''m really still trying to find my balance in regards to that," says Lewis contemplatively. "I am truly defined by being Christian, but my music has always been its own thing. When somebody comes up to me and asks, ''Are you a Christian band?'' I say, ''What does that mean?'' I''ve found that much of what is called ''Christian music'' is either poor art that serves as propaganda and I imagine is an embarrassment to God at some level or it''s an attempt to market a watered-down, cleaned-up version of something popular in the secular market to the church. Either way, I think people inside the church need to be challenged on multiple levels just as much as people outside the church."
- Ballard Lesemann

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