VERTICAL HORIZON Keith Kane - vocals/guitar Sean Hurley - bass Matt Scannell - lead vocals/guitar Ed Toth - drums "I am everything you want. I am everything you need.....but I mean nothing to you and I don't know why." After three successful independent releases, Vertical Horizon makes their major label debut with Everything You Want, a heady mix of melodic songwriting, strong musicianship, and passionate performances. "They're simple songs played with sincerity," says lead vocalist/guitarist Matt Scannell. "That's where the excitement comes from, not through adding more notes and overplaying." Vocalist/guitarist Keith Kane adds, "We try to put the focus on lyrics, melodies and chord progressions. We're not into huge productions, just real emotions, real situations." Since forming in 1991, Vertical Horizon have worked on the road and in the studio to cultivate a grassroots fanbase and their work has paid off significantly. Before signing with RCA, the band sold an incredible 70,000 copies of their first three records, a task accomplished without any label assistance. At the root of this persistence and perseverance stand the band's two leaders, Matt Scannell and Keith Kane. Scannell and Kane met as undergrads at Georgetown where Kane had a local Tuesday night gig. Scannell, a 'Matthew Sweet/Peter Gabriel fan who copped Eddie Van Halen licks on guitar' began sitting in and the two became a popular acoustic attraction as well as friends. "I loved electric guitar and playing in bands," says Scannell, "but it was just easier to walk into a club with only an acoustic guitar and land a gig." During those acoustic gigs, the seed of Vertical Horizon began to grow. Kane and Scannell won audiences over with aggressive vocal harmonies and strong songwriting. After graduation in '92, the two went to Cape Cod to work odd jobs and make their first record. Vertical Horizon's impassioned sounds and vibrant gigs were a refreshing change from the angst ridden early modern rock scene. As a result, their debut album, There and Back Again, enjoyed phenomenal success. What had started out as an initial run of 1,000, as 'something they'd have left over to give their grandkids,' became, with the help of non-stop touring, a debut disc that sold over 20,000 copies. -over- For their follow-up effort in 1995, Kane and Scannell brought on additional accompaniment. Carter Beauford from the Dave Matthews Band sat in on drums, members of Jackopierce lent a hand, and the band hired Doug Derryberry and John Alagia to co-produce. The album, Running On Ice, continued Vertical Horizon's commitment to honest, acoustic-based music, even as they expanded their sound. After adding drummer Ed Toth and bassist Sean Hurley in 1996, Vertical Horizon, as we know it today, was born. With the new line up in tow, the band stepped up its touring schedule, particularly on college campuses. "By spending so much time on the road, we've really built up a loyal grassroots following," admits Hurley. "And not only has it kept us in touch with our fans, it's also really helped us develop as a band, even if it means being away from home. " In 1997, they released Live Stages, an aptly titled set recorded over two wild nights at Ziggy's in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "The live record was a turning point for us," says Scannell. "There was a lot of development, a lot of growth in a very short period of time and I think it really shows on that album." But despite its past successes, nothing will quite prepare the listener for the triumph that is Everything You Want. Produced by Ben Grosse (Republica, Filter, Barenaked Ladies) and Mark Endert (Fiona Apple, Madonna, Shawn Colvin) songs like the opening, anthemic "We Are," the scratchy electric "Finding Me," and the visceral "You Say," are crammed with nuance and energy that take the band beyond its acoustic roots. Elsewhere, the melancholy strum of "Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)," the acoustic intro to the dramatic closer "Shackled," and the dark, imploring "Give You Back" retain the kind of vibe that helped Vertical Horizon earn its audience in the first place. Everything You Want leans into its songs with more electricity, louder guitars and more galvanic performances. "I realized that I wanted to hear a lot of noise," says Kane, who stood at the core of the band's acoustic foundation. "After six or seven years of touring, toughing out relationships, struggling, you begin to feel a little more realistic about life. That realism, that anger, sounded really good on electric guitar." "Right now, we're about a lot of things," says Toth. "This album is a huge step forward and our scope is widening every day. If we allow ourselves to keep moving forward, we'll be able to cover a lot of ground and have fun doing it."