Touchstone are a rock band from the UK. The original band was formed by keyboardist Rob Cottingham and guitarist Adam Hodgson in 2003. Other more recent band members include bassist Paul 'Moo' Moorghen, singer Kim Seviour and drummer Henry Rogers. Touchstone's music is distributed by Proper Music Distribution.
Touchstone's first studio recording was an EP called Mad Hatters, in 2006. Its four songs included 'Misguided Fool' and 'The Mad Hatters' Song'. The EP was well-received, and spurred Rob and Adam to continue writing more material for the band. It is the only release to feature vocalist Liz Claydon and drummer Simon Cook.
Their first full-length album was Discordant Dreams and was the first to feature Kim Seviour and Alasdair Melville on vocals and drums respectively. The album was praised as an improvement from Mad Hatters, and with tracks such as 'Blacktide', 'Shadow' and 'The Beggar's Song', it showcases the 'Touchstone sound'. The album was recorded by Ben Humphreys and mixed by John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost*, Kino) at his studios in Reading, Berkshire, and performs a guitar solo on the song "Dignity".
Discordant Dreams was toured in September 2008 around the UK with It Bites on The Tall Ships Tour, with Touchstone featuring as support. The tour consisted of 12 UK dates and was a major success for both bands, the final night taking place in Brighton.
The album led the band to win the Classic Rock Society Best New Band 2007 award, presented by John Wetton of Asia.
Touchstone's next studio work was Wintercoast. Released in June 2009, it features an opening narrative from the Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons, describing someone's life in a city and his desire to leave for a place "seen reflected in a dream", called 'Wintercoast'. The album was also considered 'a step up from their previous album'. In particular, it has more emphasis on keyboard melodies, giving a more Marillion-style feel (as can be heard at the opening of the track, 'Line in the Sand'). There is also greater emphasis on drums and guitars, which results in passages which would fit well into the Heavy Metal genre.
The band performed at the 2009 United States Rites of Spring festival (ROSfest) which takes place annually in Glenside near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the first time they had played outside of the United Kingdom, and their performance was well-received, resulting in many positive reviews, including one by the website, USA Progressive Music.
In April 2010, Alasdair Melville decided to leave the band to pursue other musical endeavors and was replaced in Touchstone by Henry Rogers (DeeExpus) on a temporary basis. However, on 24 July it was announced that Henry would become a permanent member of Touchstone.
In July 2010, Touchstone released their first live album called Live in the USA which features songs from two festivals played in America; namely ROSfest 2009 and Calprog 2009. They played at the prestigious High Voltage Festival in Victoria Park, London and opened the Prog stage on Saturday 24 July, playing the first songs at the festival.
Throughout the remainder of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, the band took some time out to write material for their upcoming third studio album. A short tour called 'The Progressive Nation Tour' happened in March 2011. On 1 August 2011, Touchstone announced that they had signed to SPV GmbH's Steamhammer label. Their album The City Sleeps was released in October 2011 on this label, and entered the UK rock album charts at No. 36.
Founding member, Rob Cottingham, announced his second solo album project called "Captain Blue" on 13 July 2012, and announced drummer, Gary O'Toole (Steve Hackett Band) and bassist, Dr Goat Foot, on 20 July 2012. He also announced Adam Hodgson (Touchstone) on guitars, and Heather Findlay (ex-Mostly Autumn) on female vocals. Plus, as special guests, Steve Hackett (guitar solo on last track) and Shane Rimmer (voice over on first track).
The band released their fourth album, "Oceans of Time", in 2013.
The Touchstone Sound
Touchstone has been described as "A band who combine the prog sensibilities of Yes with the hard rocking aptitudes of Van Halen", based on the diversity of the band members' influences.
- Discordant Dreams (2007)
- Wintercoast (2009)
- The City Sleeps (2011)
- Oceans of Time (2013)
- Mad Hatters (2006)
- Live in the USA (2010)
The album Discordant Dreams was rated 7 out of 10 in the July 2008 (10th Birthday Special Edition) issue of Classic Rock by Geoff Barton. It has received praise from well-known figures such as Jeff Wayne (War Of The Worlds), Rick Wakeman of Yes and most recently from Jeremy Irons.
"Shadow", a track from the album Discordant Dreams, was featured on the "Prog Spawn" cover disk of the August 2008 issue of Classic Rock.
Wintercoast has received much praise and press coverage, including another review by Geoff Barton, and the track "Strange Days" played on the radio stations Total Rock, ARfm & Phoenix Radio.