Tristan Park

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Tristan Park
Tristan Park 1996.jpg
Left to right: Ray Bowles, Brian Coombes, Jim Turmel, Rick Black, Chuck Dyac, Mike McAdam
Background information
Origin United States
Genres Progressive rock
Years active1986–present
Labels Cyclops Records
Associated actsWaking in the Blue
MembersRick Black
Ray Bowles
Brian Coombes
Chuck Dyac
Mike McAdam
Jim Turmel
Past membersMarc Larochelle, Reg Dickinson, Jim Titus

Tristan Park was formed in October 1986 by songwriters Brian Coombes, Chuck Dyac, and Marc Larochelle. Early Tristan Park sets included their theatrical/musical production, "The Screams for an Absent Dawn." It was an ambitious and influential beginning for a group of fledgling songwriters.


The band made its Boston area debut in May 1989. Later that same year, Tristan Park released its first cassette, The Space Between, to positive critical response. In October 1989, the Nashua Telegraph hailed the band as "the Nashua area’s most literate, ambitious, and talented rock band."

Boston Capital city of Massachusetts, United States

Boston is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 685,094 in 2017, making it also the most populous city in New England. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County as well, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area (CSA), this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth-largest in the United States.

Rick Black joined the band in August 1991, when founder Marc Larochelle relocated to California. Shortly after, the band’s long-time friend, Jim Turmel, became Tristan Park’s drummer. New England radio stations WHEB, WHOB, WAAF, and WCGY were all playing Tristan Park by the fall of 1991.

The band released "The Way it Should Be"/"Mourning of Spring" as a cassette single in August 1992. Sales were brisk and reviews positive. The band continued to perform constantly, building a loyal regional following throughout New Hampshire.

New Hampshire State of the United States of America

New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest by area and the 10th least populous of the 50 states. Concord is the state capital, while Manchester is the largest city in the state. It has no general sales tax, nor is personal income taxed at either the state or local level. The New Hampshire primary is the first primary in the U.S. presidential election cycle. Its license plates carry the state motto, "Live Free or Die". The state's nickname, "The Granite State", refers to its extensive granite formations and quarries.

Tristan Park’s debut disc, At the End of the Day, appeared in January 1994. Blending progressive-rock with lyrical AOR, the disc was the progressive rock community’s introduction to Tristan Park. Singer Ray Bowles joined the band in August 1994.

Progressive rock is a broad genre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid to late 1960s. Initially termed "progressive pop", the style was an outgrowth of psychedelic bands who abandoned standard pop traditions in favour of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz, folk, or classical music. Additional elements contributed to its "progressive" label: lyrics were more poetic, technology was harnessed for new sounds, music approached the condition of "art", and the studio, rather than the stage, became the focus of musical activity, which often involved creating music for listening, not dancing.

Ray Bowles is a singer, best known for his work with the progressive rock band, Tristan Park.

On the strength of At the End of the Day, Tristan Park signed to Cyclops Records/GFT Limited of England in January 1995. The band’s first disc for Cyclops, A Place Inside, was released in August 1995. The material on A Place Inside expanded on the progressive themes of At the End of the Day, while still maintaining an emphasis on melody and emotion. The disc received international attention and was added to radio playlists in Europe and North America. Guitarist Mike McAdam joined Tristan Park in August 1995.

Tristan Park celebrated its Ten Year Anniversary in 1996 with an appearance at the International Festival of Progressive Music (ProgDay) in Chapel Hill, NC in August and its first European tour in October. The band joined Cyclops labelmates Grey Lady Down for successful dates in England and the Netherlands before returning to play the USA in November. The year closed with an impressive showing for Tristan Park in the Wondrous Stories (UK) year end Reader’s Poll, with the band finishing fourth in the Best New Band Category and sixth in Best CRS Gig, ahead of perennial CRS favorites Grey Lady Down, John Wetton, and Rick Wakeman.

John Wetton English bassist and vocalist

John Kenneth Wetton was an English singer, bassist, and songwriter. He was born in Willington, Derbyshire, and grew up in Bournemouth, Dorset. He rose to fame with bands Mogul Thrash, Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music and Uriah Heep.

Rick Wakeman English keyboardist, songwriter, television and radio presenter, and author

Richard Christopher Wakeman is an English keyboardist, songwriter, television and radio presenter, and author. He is best known for being in the progressive rock band Yes across five tenures between 1971 and 2004 and for his solo albums released in the 1970s. He is a current member of Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman.

A live disc recorded during the tour, Leave to Enter, was released in August 1997. The disc includes a guest appearance from GLD vocalist Martin Wilson, who joins Tristan Park on the Pink Floyd classic, "Comfortably Numb." In September, Tristan Park performed at the Somerville Theatre as special guests to British rock legends Marillion.

Pink Floyd English rock band

Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London in 1965. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. Distinguished by their philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, extended compositions, and elaborate live shows, they are one of the most commercially successful and influential groups in popular music history.

Marillion British rock band

Marillion are a British rock band, formed in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, in 1979. They emerged from the post-punk music scene in Britain and existed as a bridge between the styles of punk rock and classic progressive rock, becoming the most commercially successful neo-progressive rock band of the 1980s.

Tristan Park released Looking Homeward in 1998. The band toured Europe in September of that year to promote the disc before going into hiatus at the end of 1998. Coombes, McAdam, and Turmel formed a new group, Waking in the Blue, who released Isn’t It Pretty to Think So in July 2003. The disc, distributed in the United States by Griffin Music, featured guest performances by Tristan Park singer Ray Bowles, progressive rock legend Ian Mcdonald, and Squeeze singer/songwriter Chris Difford.

'Waking in the Blue' is a poem by Robert Lowell that was published in his book Life Studies and is a striking, early example of confessional poetry. Of the handful of poems from Life Studies in which Lowell explored his struggles with mental illness, this poem was one of Lowell's most forthwright admissions that he was mentally ill. Though he doesn't discuss the exact nature of his mental illness in the poem, he does describe his hospitalization in a mental institution. Lowell's admission of having spent time in a mental institution was considered a brave one to make when he published the poem in 1959, when public disclosure about mental illness was a serious social taboo.

Ian McDonald (musician) English musician, a founder of King Crimson

Ian McDonald is an English multi-instrumental musician, best known as a founder member of progressive rock band King Crimson, formed in 1969, and of the hard rock band Foreigner in 1976. He is well known as a rock session musician, predominantly as a saxophonist. He also plays keyboards, flute, vibraphone and guitar.

Squeeze (band) British New Wave band

Squeeze are a British rock band that came to prominence in the United Kingdom during the new wave period of the late 1970s, and continued recording successfully in the 1980s and 1990s. They are known in the UK for their hit songs "Cool for Cats", "Up the Junction", "Slap and Tickle", "Another Nail in My Heart", "Pulling Mussels ", "Tempted", "Labelled with Love", "Black Coffee in Bed" and "Hourglass". Though not as commercially successful in the United States, Squeeze had American hits with "Tempted", "Hourglass" and "853-5937", and were considered a part of the Second British Invasion.

In October 2006, the members of Tristan Park reunited for a 20th anniversary concert at the Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, New Hampshire. The reunited line-up included Rick Black, Ray Bowles, Brian Coombes, Chuck Dyac, Marc Larochelle, Mike McAdam, and Jim Turmel.

Brian Coombes went on to open Rocking Horse Studio along with David Pierog. Coombes works currently as a producer, and recording engineer for the facility, with artists such as Christian Cuff, Will Kindler, Joe Mazzari, Prospect Hill, The Lucid, The Double Yellow, and Godsmack guitarist Tony Rombola.


Current members

Former members


Studio albums and EPs

1994At the End of the DayFirst studio album; This self-funded debut release brought the band to the attention of progressive and melodic rock lovers all over the world.
1995A Place InsideReleased at the height of the band's popularity, A Place Inside was the group's first disc on England's GFT label.
1998Looking HomewardThe final Tristan Park disc was released in September 1998. The band toured Europe in the autumn of 1998 in support of this disc before going into a hiatus that lasted until 2006.

Live albums

1997Leave to EnterThis limited edition live disc was released in early 1997. It was recorded during the band's A Place Inside tour in Autumn 1996.

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