Howard Lyons has established himself as a respected artist, producer and engineer in Indian country and his latest recording "Spirit Walk" has undoubtedly added to that reputation.
"Spirit Walk" has a folk-influenced feel on most of the disc's 10 tracks that blend Lyons' astounding voice with smooth guitar and heart-stirring lyrics. Lyons sings in both English and Mohawk and makes the transition between the languages flawlessly. You are carried along into Mohawk verses by the music and his voice whether you speak the language or not.
It would be easy to label "Spirit Walk" as folk music, an often uncomfortable pigeon-hole, or to dismiss it as unmarketable because Lyons is an American Indian. This recording is something more than the obvious. It is the clean and rooted in love of family, tradition and values.
The influence and pride in the Haudenosaunee culture is prevalent in all songs on "Sprit Walk." Lyons is able to communicate traditional messages - respect for woman, elders and Mother Earth - without beating the listener over the head and just allowing you to enjoy the music. Lyons begins the chant set to a contemporary folk beat Yane Yah Ho "A Celebration of Life" with a spoken word passage and shifts right into the song. Yane Yah Ho, just like the rest of the "Spirit Walk" catches your attention with Lyons' voice but keeps you locked in with the quality of his music.
Lyons is also one of the genuinely decent people in the recording industry. In addition to a busy touring schedule, writing and producing, Lyons conducts school visits in an effort to bridge cultural gaps between American Indians and non-Indian children. His message to the children - reflected in the song "For Our Seventh Generation" - is to consider the consequences of their actions and the impact it will have on their family.
The next project for Lyons will be the release of the single "Departure" with his new band, The Good Medicine Band from the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. According to Lyons' wife and manager Nancy, "Departure" will be a slight change in style from the "Spirit Walk." The single is currently being reproduced under Lyons' own SkyDome label and is expected later this year and will be followed soon after by his third disc by veteran producer Tom Bee for Sound of America.
"Hopes and Dreams," the first production by Bee of Lyons' music, was nominated for a Native American Music Association award for the best folk/country recording of 2000.
Copies of "Spirit Walk" are available by calling (603) 869-3326 or online at www.skydomerecords.com.