Glass Hammer is an American progressive rock band from Chattanooga, Tennessee. They formed in 1992 when multi-instrumentalists Steve Babb and Fred Schendel began to write and record the Tolkien-themed concept album “Journey of the Dunadan”. While many musicians have appeared on Glass Hammer albums over the years, Babb and Schendel have remained the core creative force of the band. Both play a variety of instruments, but Babb is better known as the bassist while Schendel is the primary keyboardist. And though they also sing, a number of other vocalists (most notably Michelle Young, Walter Moore, Susie Bogdanowicz, Carl Groves and Jon Davison) have also handled lead vocal duties through the years.
Lyrically, Glass Hammer is inspired mostly by their love of literature (most notably Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and John Krakauer) and Babb’s love of Victorian prose and medieval mythology.
Musically, they lean towards 70’s driven symphonic rock, focusing on epic-length songs anchored by Babb’s distinctive bass guitar work and strong keyboard playing from Schendel; specifically Hammond organs in the tradition of ELP. They have a superb melodic flow to the music they make, encapsulating real power and dynamics without ever becoming overpowering. Their most apparent influences are ELP, Genesis, Gentle Giant and, to a less noticeable extent, Camel. Fans and critics are usually quick to attest that Glass Hammer have managed to combine those influences into a unique style all their own.
Critically acclaimed albums have continued to flow from the Glass Hammer studio, with the most successful and noteworthy being “Chronomtree” (2000), “Lex Rex” (2002), “The Inconsolable Secret” (2005) and “IF” (2010). Vocalists and fan-favorites Carl Groves and Susie Bogdanowicz took a temporary hiatus from the band after 2009 and vocalist Jon Davison took over as lead vocalist for three studio albums; “IF”, “Cor Cordium” and “Perilous”. Kamran Alan Shikoh joined the band at the same time taking on the role of guitarist. Both Shikoh and Davison remain in the group currently, though Davison has also assumed the role as front-man for Yes. This led to Carl Groves rejoining the Glass Hammer in 2013 for live performances and recording. Aaron Raulston joined at the same time as drummer for the group. Susie Bogdanowicz rejoined in late 2013 and is slated to appear along with Raulston, Groves and Shikoh in 2015 concerts.
Glass Hammer’s 2014 release “Ode To Echo” features performances by many of the band’s vocalists, including Bogdanowicz, Young, Moore and Davison, though Carl Groves handles the lion’s share of the vocal duties.
Other prog musicians and rock artists have made contributions to Glass Hammer projects, including Jon Anderson of Yes, Arjen Lucassen, Rich Williams and David Ragsdale of Kansas, Rob Reed of Magenta and Randy Jackson of Zebra. Glass Hammer has also appeared with The Adonia String Trio and performed two concerts (2006-2007) with 120 plus member choirs from Belmont University and Lee University.
Currently, Glass Hammer is in the studio recording their sixteenth studio album which is set for release in early 2015. The current live lineup for the band is Babb, Schendel, Groves, Shikoh, Raulston and Bogdaniwcz.
Members: Fred Schendel, Steve Babb, Kamran Alan Shikoh ,Carl Groves, Aaron Raulston, Susie Bogdanowicz