Land of Chocolate is:
Jonn Buzby – Vocals & Keys
Brian O’Neill – Guitars
About – Your Finest Hour
Some cakes take longer to bake, while most wines and whiskeys are meant to age longer before consumption.
Whatever the culinary metaphor, it’s been 19 years since Land of Chocolate released their second album “Regaining the Feel”. In that time, band mates have relocated around the world, Jonn Buzby has released three albums under the moniker Damn Fine Coffee and pivoted to years of weekly solo livestreams, but one unfinished project continued to be a sustained itch just waiting to be scratched.
After almost 20 years, “Your Finest Hour”, Land of Chocolate’s long-awaited third full length release, is slated to be released on October 6, 2023.
Containing 12 tracks of original material and clocking in at just under 58 minutes, YFH is both a testament to resilience and determination as well as a culmination of the bands’ singular vision and sound.
Featuring members of both previous iterations of the band’s lineup, the newest Land of Chocolate remains just as relevant today as when it the band first wrote the material two decades ago.
“I’ve always stated that I hoped to make timeless music, but this is absurd”, jokes lead vocalist and keyboardist Jonn Buzby, when asked why this album took so long to complete.
“Life has a way of spinning each and every one of us in different directions, but I always wanted to remain loyal to the incredible set of musicians who had a hand in bringing this music to life. So the idea of working with anyone else to simply complete these tracks made no sense – it needed to be with the people that made Land of Chocolate what it is. And so we chose to be meticulous and ensure that we took the extra time and energy to bring this album’s vision to light”.
Brian O’Neill (original LoC guitarist) was brought back into the fold to assist with completion of Your Finest Hour, serving as a cohesive yet divergent counterpoint to John Covach’s guitar parts he laid down in 2005 before relocating to Rochester, NY.
“Back in the early 2000’s, we wrote a tune which was started off by a bit that I came up with. It loosely reminded me of ‘My Favorite Things'”, states O’Neill.
That song (now called ‘Helpless’) along with the melodic lead guitar line in the middle ended up being one of MY favorite things.
When Jonn asked me if I was interested in working on this stuff with him, I saw that Helpless was going to be one of the tracks… the chance to complete and mix it was something I simply couldn’t say no to”.
Utilizing tracks recorded in late 2004 by drummer Wesley Hare, bassist Gerald Wilson, Buzby and Covach, O’Neill was able to synthesize, streamline and elevate decades-old contributions remotely with newer performances into a seamless musical thesis.
“There were early issues to work through since the basic drum, bass and synth tracking was done almost 20 years ago. Some of those issues included audio software versions being obsolete, file types having been changed etc”, states O’Neill. But despite those significant hurdles, O’Neill was able to help shape these disparate parts into a finished product that is fresh, powerful, and vibrant, and redefines the band’s sound.
Land of Chocolate plans to continue writing and recording, with several more albums to come and far less lag between releases.. But right now, they’re just excited to finally pop the cork and pour everyone a full glass.