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Vertical Horizon Biography

Last updated: 07/08/2012 12:00:00 PM

It all started at a Georgetown undergrad party in 1991...

Keith Kane was playing a weekly gig at a local club and some people at this party talked him into providing some free entertainment on an acoustic guitar and a small amp that were sitting around. Also at the party was Matt Scannell, who Kane recognized as a member of an electric band called Fallout Shelter. After his song, Kane turned to Scannell and asked him to take a turn. Scannell played "All Along The Watchtower" and impressed everyone.

Kane took the chance to ask Scannell to come jam with him at his weekly gig. Scannell had forgotten how much fun it could be to play on an acoustic and quickly agreed to give it a try. With one hour's practice together, Vertical Horizon made their debut later that week as an acoustic duo. Their sound was anchored in folk music and harmonized vocals and their catalog constisted of mostly covers and a few originals.

Kane and Scannell graduated from Georgetown in 1992 and decided that they wanted to spend their lives playing music. Keith had grown up in Connecticut and Matt was from Massachusetts, so it was New England to which they returned for a while. They spent their first summer out of college living on Cape Cod, working at a golf course, and playing 3 nights a week for what sometimes amounted to beer and peanuts. Finally, at the end of that summer in 1992, they took the money they saved up and used it to record their first CD, There and Back Again, at Matt's high school in Deerfield, MA.

After finishing the album, Kane and Scannell returned to the DC area where the had already developed a strong following. There, they met up with Cary Pierce and Jack O'Neill of Jackopierce, who had heard the album and decided to invite Vertical Horizon out on the road for a two week stint. They started in Texas and after two successful weeks, Jackopierce asked them to stay on for a third.

From then on, the guys alternated two weeks home with two weeks on the road, using connections they'd made while touring with Jackopierce to get themselves gigs. Vertical Horizon has since toured coast to coast sharing the stage with the likes of the Allman Brothers Band, Huey Lewis, Shawn Colvin, and Better Than Ezra. They've also done shows with The Samples, Widespread Panic, and Del Amitri.

There and Back Again was composed of Scannell and Kane and their guitars, but by 1994 the duo was expanding their sound. Their sophomore effort, Running On Ice, was released in 1995 and featured a full band on most tracks. The album was produced by Alagia and Derryberry (who chipped in on keyboards in spots). Percussion for the album was provided by Carter Beauford of Dave Matthews Band. Vertical Horizon employed other members on the road and used several bassists and drummers for different periods of time.

Ed Toth was working for Borders Books and Music. He got in touch with the band after Matt's mom came into the store and asked for a Vertical Horizon CD. Ed's boss very nicely helped her out and as repayment, Scannell called the store and offered to put the manager and a friend on the guest list to the show at Mama Kin that evening in Boston. Ed ended up as the manager's friend and was impressed by the group. So when the band's drummer left, Ed took the opportunity to audition. The word is, he blew them away!

Toth became a permanent fixture of Vertical Horizon before the 1996 release of Live Stages, the band's latest album. This recording featured the band's complete sound and is comprised mostly of older songs performed in a live and electric setting.

The group added bass guitarist, Sean Hurley, in 1998. He was the first person the group auditioned for the part, and although personalities clicked immediately, the band needed to view all their options. As they auditioned more and more bass players, they kept comparing them back to Hurley who ended up being the perfect fit after all.

In 1998, Vertical Horizon recorded their debut, "Everything You Want," for RCA Records. The new album continues the band's progression towards an edgier, electric, full-band style of music. Still, their focus has remained on strong song writing, vocal harmonies and impressive guitar work. The album is due out on June 15th, 1999