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Nights on Venus...
is Craig Carrington Thomas - keyboards, guitar, bass guitar, composer, producer & engineer
and Erin Foley - guitar, saxophones, flute
Nights on Venus began and grew out of a side solo project I had started working on in May of 2010 and coalesced into NoV during that summer at a week-long personal retreat at the Mandala Center in northeastern New Mexico. I decided early on that NoV would be an all-instrumental project. Every once in a while I re-evaluate this, ten years in now - (has it really been 10 years?) and there may possibly, eventually, be vocals. I am also a vocalist, a baritone, and have sung lead in a few bands over the years.
Nights on Venus made its first appearance online in October, 2010, and eight months later, the debut album - simply entitled Nights on Venus - was released in early June, 2011. Atmospheric, hypnotic, smooth, ethereal, and "brain-wavin" are words that have been used to describe that album and the subsequent album, In 4 the Evening, that followed in 2012. The origin of the NoV sound can be traced back to around 1995, when I was working on a cross between surf music and all the ethereal electronic keyboard compositions I had been writing since the late 1970s.
Fast forward to 2021... The 'band', as such, is composed of me and my wife, Erin Foley, who appears on several songs, most notably on Our Alternate Lives on alto sax from the two-song single, The Wheels Are Coming Off (2018) and also on (A Higher) Perspective from the Perspective album (2014). The most recent album is the 6th full-length from NoV, entitled Late Night Meditations In Suburbia, released at the end of May, 2020. Erin and I are currently based in Littleton, Colorado with our two orange tabbies, Maxx and Cosmo, who are fed a steady musical/listening diet of Steely Dan, Thelonious Monk, Talking Heads, and opera on an almost daily basis. They seem to like it, just as we do.
Well, how did I get here?...
Here's the longer (chronologically) and somewhat condensed version of my personal bio - where I come from, my roots so to speak:
I was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and after a couple of years in Connecticut, the family moved to and settled in Dallas, Texas in 1960. I grew up in a musical family - my dad was a church organist and choir director, my mom, a vocalist, soprano - and I was classically trained on piano and pipe organ (yes, really!)... although I do remember that the first instrument I learned to play was the drums. My grandmother had given me a very basic drum set at Christmas one year, I might have been 6 at the time, and I played that for a while... until the drum set disappeared under "mysterious circumstances". After that, I was playing the piano.
I began writing original compositions around the age of 10; pipe organ was at the age of 13 and I would go in and practice on the four-manual Möller pipe organ in the sanctuary of St. Michael's and All Angels Episcopal Church on Saturday afternoons that year, and if no one was around I'd play The Doors' "Light My Fire", Iron Butterfly's "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida", Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale"... The acoustics were incredible - sounded awesome. I began playing in bands in high school and continued playing in bands through college, grad school, through numerous places I lived, all the way up until 2010.
I am also a visual artist in painting and photography and hold degrees from Texas Tech University and a Master’s of Fine Arts from University of North Texas in Denton. I taught drawing and figure drawing at the university level in grad school. In 1992, I moved to the mountains of Colorado and established Excellent Sky Gallery in Kittredge, just outside Denver, eventually moving the gallery to the smaller, higher mountain town of Empire, while continuing to play in bands and writing original music. In addition to keyboards, I began playing guitar and bass in the late 1980s and learned recording and engineering techniques in the early 90s. Over the course of my musical career, I've played in all styles from New Wave to Blues, to Classic Rock to Reggae and Jazz. Always keep listening, learning... always keep growing. Your best work is always in front of you.
Musical influences include, but are not limited to: The Doors & Ray Manzarek, Velvet Underground, Todd Rundgren, Love Tractor, Roxy Music, The Cars, The Church, Brian Eno, Dave Brubeck, Thelonious Monk, Sigur Ros, the Aqua Velvets and surf music in general, and the composer John Barry.