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Vertical Horizon
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Vertical Horizon

The acoustic rock band Vertical Horizon was formed in 1990 by Georgetown University undergrads Matthew Scannell and Keith Kane; after graduation in 1991 the duo relocated to Boston and, in 1992, self-released their debut album There and Back Again. There and Back Again was recorded in Matt's old high school over a period of a few days, and Matt and Keith together played all the instruments appearing on the album, though they both mostly played acoustic guitar. Both also contributed to writing all the songs, and both sang.

Matt and Keith toured for several years after this, mostly appearing with similar bands such as Jackopierce. By 1995, they were ready to record again. The resulting album, Running on Ice, again had Matt and Keith playing acoustic guitar and singing, but with the addition of other guest musicians to play other instruments. Guests included members of Jackopierce, as well as Carter Beauford of the Dave Matthews Band on drums.

More touring followed, and soon Matt and Keith were joined by Ed Toth on drums. In 1997, a live album, Live Stages, was released. This featured Matt, Keith, and Ed, as well as Ryan Fisher on bass. Live Stages signaled a departure from the original acoustic guitar-based music, and featured heavy emphasis on electric guitar. Also, by this time, the band was explicit in their intent to find a major record label; band members have said that it was no accident that the first track of Live Stages opens with the sounds of a large cheering audience. Their wishes came true, and the band was signed to RCA Records.

Ryan had never intended to join the band permanently, so the three other members held auditions for a permanent bass player. Their first audition was Sean Hurley, and everyone liked him immediately. There were many more auditions, but they eventually came back to Sean, and he officially joined Vertical Horizon.

The band's first effort with RCA was 1999's Everything You Want (RCA re-released the three older albums as well, with new packaging). The first single, "We Are", made no impact. The second single, "Everything You Want", skyrocketed to the top of the charts, and became one of the most played songs on the radio in 2000. A third single, "You're a God", also did extremely well. The fourth single, "Best I Ever Had", was played moderately, but not nearly as much as the others. The band, which had been touring constantly since the album was released, continued touring until well into 2001. They then took a break, then came back to the studio to record their follow-up, which they hoped would be released soon enough to take advantage of the huge popularity of Everything You Want.

However, some management changes at RCA prevented this. It was announced that the new album, Go, would be released in September of 2002, but as the date drew closer, it appeared that this would not happen. It seemed everyone at RCA who had worked with the band on Everything You Want was no longer there, and the new employees weren't quite sure what to do with a band that did not quite fit the emerging trends of popular music.

Eventually the band went on a short tour in early 2003, and it was announced that Go would finally be released a year late, in September 2003. A larger tour started in August, leading up to the release of the album. A first single, "I'm Still Here", did moderately well, but faded relatively quickly and with little fanfare. Some fans think that a lack of promotion on the part of RCA was partly to blame.

Vertical Horizon Discography

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