- Bryon Harris
The Mayan Factor - hOpe
There’s a certain bond born of writing, performing and touring together that only band-mates truly understand. A band is like a family. So, in 2011, when The Mayan Factor’s lead singer Ray Schuler tragically passed away, the band thought their music would be put to rest with him. However, dedicated fans and newcomers, hailing from 65 different countries across all listening platforms and social media, kept on listening. In fact, their numbers grew. On Last.fm they found 1.3 million scrobbles and on Spotify, 21,025 listeners were tuning in monthly. It was clear that their music was very much alive.
With a strong desire to continue a connection with their fans, to create new music, and pay tribute to their lost band-mate, The Mayan Factor found a new lead singer/acoustic guitar player - Lenny Cerzosie Jr. Lenny had experienced a similar loss in his life and could relate to the band on multiple levels. He stepped up to the plate (with big shoes to fill) and he did so with grace and an undeniable talent to give. He did not look to replace Ray, but rather to add his own unique voice and writing. Today, the Mayan Factor is doing what they do best – bringing music to the masses with an amazing lineup consisting of Lenny Cerzosie Jr. (vocals/acoustic guitar), Brian Scott (guitar/vocals) , Dan Angermaier (drums) , Kevin Baker (bass) and Jason Sage (percussion). Their new song “hOpe” is a great way to get reacquainted with a band that has so much to offer.
"hOpe" opens with a mesmerizing acoustic guitar motif that continues throughout the song. The guitar is crisp and clear. Lenny enters singing, “I remember, I remember the sound, not the words but the sound of her voice trembling, trembling…” Lenny’s vocals are cream of the crop. He is a true front-man who has it all. Any rock band would kill to have a singer like Lenny and having him in The Mayan Factor is a win-win ( a great singer in a great band). Like the guitar, Lenny's tone is clear and rises well above the mix. He has tremendous vocal control as he presents a full range of emotion from tender phrasing to powerful and passionate expression heard in his attention to articulation and dynamics.
Following the introduction, the song opens wide with rhythm guitar, bass, percussion and drums. This is not a band of "show-offs." Instead they all come together in a tribal way that is unique. It is like they are five members with one pulse. Their music is not formulaic or predictable as the chorus is presented differently each time it comes around. The lyrics are also thoughtful with a straight-forward honesty. “All this life. If you still hear me, I feel you breathing in me. What's this life? What's it worth? What's it like after this... ? The overall effect is highly engaging and after one listen, it is at once obvious why so many listeners return to their music.
This progressive band purposefully leaves the song open for interpretation, but on their YouTube video page they state, “ The definition of the word HOPE “is to cherish a desire with anticipation” but the word truly takes on different meanings to each of us as individuals. However different the meaning of the word is to us, it all connects us together with the promise of change and the promise of light after darkness." It is this last line, “the promise of light after darkness” that I hear most in the song as Lenny sings, “All this life is lost into the night, too soon." What comes to mind is a sense of how deeply fragile life is and all that can be lost or gained in a moment.
The new lineup has been well worth the wait. The Mayan Factor was great and The Mayan Factor is still great with great things to come. If 'hOpe' is any indication of what the future sounds like for The Mayan Factor, then it is far more than what fans could have hoped for. The Mayan Factory is moving into the future with a new vision (new hope) and their music springs eternal.
For more information on The Mayan Factor, please visit their website.