Easy Listening/Vocal

The North Carolina-based keyboardist creates finely crafted music that always seems to straddle a handful of genres with ease, and resists easy identification with the "new age" tag. He was a founding member of the short-lived yet highly original progressive '70s band Happy the Man. After briefly joining the British prog rock band Camel in 1979, Watkins began issuing solo albums, including the particularly noteworthy Labyrinth (1980), Frames of Mind (1982, with Brad Allen), and In Time (1985, with former Happy the Man drummer Coco Roussel). In subsequent years Watkins continued producing consistently inviting music from his home studio, drawing on his first-rate keyboard skills and his keen ear for sonic detail. He began exploring a darker, more ambient side with the release of his two Thought Tones albums in the early '90s, and continued to issue albums on his Linden Music label -- A Different View (1991), Kinetic Vapors (1993), Holographic Tapestries (1995), and Beauty Drifting (1996) -- as the decade progressed. Although Watkins ended Linden Music in 1997, he has continued to record and issue CDs prolifically on an independent basis during subsequent years, with his most recent discography including The Unseen (2000), Music for the End (2001), Unraveled and This Time and Space (2003), Flying Petals (2004), World Fiction (2005), and SkyZone (2006). ~ Linda Kohanov & Dave Lynch, Rovi