Providence was a six-piece music group originally from Boise, Idaho, but later based out of Portland, Oregon, USA, circa 1971--1974. The band was made up of six members: Bob Barriatua, electric bass, vocals; Bart Bishop, lead vocals, piano, harpsichord, organ, autoharp; Jim Cockey, violin, glockenspiel, vocals; Andy Guzie, guitars, vocals; and brothers Tim Tompkins, cello, vocals, recorders, percussion, and Tom Tompkins, viola, vocals, occasional violin.
The style of the group was decidedly soft rock with dominant classical influences, particularly in contrapuntal instrumental interludes by their string trio and in broad vocal harmonies that followed strict rules of voice-leading.
Their greatest accomplishment came when The Moody Blues, seeking to expand the roster of their fledgling label Threshold, signed Providence to a recording contract. They managed one release, Ever Sense the Dawn (1972), before parting ways.
Live, Providence was an impressive unit that drew heavily on the combined power of Bob Barriatua's bass and Tim Tompkins' cello, the two instruments combining to create a rock edge that could be quite intense. Layered on top of that were Tom Tompkins' viola and Jim Cockey's violin. Andy Guzie's guitar work was often treated as a lyrical embellishment more than the blistering leads of his rock contemporaries of the period. Lead singer and main writer Bartholomew Bishop's keyboards centered on piano, organ and harpsichord, rather than the Moog, ARP and other synthesizers then in common use among groups exploring a mixture of rock and classical influences. Because of their string trio, the group did not use the popular Mellotron (which the Moodies popularized in songs like "Nights in White Satin"), giving Providence a sound that was quite organic and more complex than that created by the Mellotron.
Following the band's breakup, individual members have gone on to a wide range of professional activities.
Cockey and the Tompkins brothers lent their talents to the duet album Blue Jays (1975) by the Moodies' Justin Hayward and John Lodge. They also became part of the Bluejays touring band for the 1975 uk tour and in 1977 they appeared on Justin Hayward's solo album Songwriter.
Barriatua has completed an M.D. degree and has established a practice in Portland.
Cockey completed a degree in composition at University of Oregon under Hal Owen and has since established himself as a composer and music teacher working out of McCall, Idaho.
Andy (now known as Andrew) Guzie completed a classical guitar degree from University of Oregon and continues to work as a performing guitarist in Portland.
Tim and his wife Frances Tompkins have been composing and performing music together for 25 years and he appeared on the 1995 recording "Freelight" which also featured former Moody Blues keyboardist/vocalist Michael Pinder.
Tom Tompkins has worked as principal violist with the Boise, Idaho symphony, broadened his musical skills to include flute and mandolin, amongst other instruments, and recorded with a range of artists.
Robert Barriatua works in medicine.
Bart Bishop has perhaps sustained the most visibility in the field of recorded music. He continued working in the recording industry as a vocalist throughout the 1970s, featured on albums by Ted Nugent (Nugent), Allan Clarke former lead singer of the Hollies, Billy Thorpe (Children of the Sun), Carmine Appice/Rick Derringer (Doctors of the Universe), Peter Noone (Herman of Herman's Hermits), The Orchids, The Runaways, Staying Alive soundtrack album (platinum selling status), and Rand Bishop and the Underdogs.
Rand Bishop is Bart's brother and was the original producer of the Providence demo that drew attention from the Moodies resulting in the signing to Threshold. Rand now works on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee and has penned top sellers for Tim McGraw, Toby Keith and others.
Bartholomew's work as a busy "session" vocalist and instrumentalist in Hollywood drew the attention of Takoma Records Denny Bruce in 1981 and Bart wrote produced and performed the Takoma records release "The Roulettes" a pop rock project of his own. In recent years Bart had gone back to using his original stage name of "Bartholomew" and was in production of a new album that focused on his folk-classical musical roots. The new project tentatively entitled "Three Cornered Hat" was being produced by brother Theo Bishop at Native Language Studios in the Los Angeles area, with a tentative release in 2008. It will feature the string arrangements and performances of another brother, Jayson Bishop on cello and string bass, as well as Theo's world famous keyboard work. The brothers are currently entertaining distribution opportunities around the world particularly to accommodate a European tour tentatively scheduled for summer 2009 along with Bart's son Graham's act "Senors of Marseille".
In another familial collaboration Theo and yet another brother Greg produced and released the CD " Fly Brother Fly" in 1998. This CD has been recently (2013) made available through iTunes, amazon mp3, and CD Baby. Greg is a flutist and vocalist with roots in classical, pop, rock, world music and jazz. "Fly Brother Fly" has been described as "An exotic, cinematic blend of stellar flute-driven music that transports, soothes, heals, and uplifts through many styles including contemporary jazz, new age, and lush vocal pop." Greg says much of his inspiration for becoming a musician came from watching Providence rehearse at their home in Boise. More information on Greg's music can be found at his Facebook Page, Greg Bishop Music.
Theo has been quite busy as a composer and performer, scoring TV shows and movies and lending his skills to many rock, blues and jazz groups throughout Southern California. He has produced three CD's as a Jazz pianist. "One Man's Dream", "Newport Nights" and most recently "Time to Think" (2013). He has also produced several other artists out of his Southern California Studio. Theo has written & produced some of Smooth Jazz's top songs and performed with some of its brightest stars. He has recorded and or played live with Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Oliver, Dave Hooper of the Rippingtons, Tony Guerrero, Rob Mullins, Juan Carlos Quintero, Brian Hughes, Jimmie Haslip and Will Kennedy from the Yellow Jackets. Theo's CD's are all available through iTunes and Amazon. His website is theobishop.com.
The members of Providence reunited in 2007 to autograph rare copies of their original "Ever Sense the Dawn" Threshold records release for fans and friends in Europe.
Bart Bishop died 10-19-2009 Oct 2009. He was Born in Portland, Or. on the 15th of May 1953. RIP Bart Bishop! The world is a better place because of your music.
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