Here I am writing about a compilation album which you cannot buy, but is easy to obtain. Perhaps I had better let Nick Katona explain: “Each Year we host a holiday release to showcase many bands and artists that you may not be aware of; but should be. The album will feature many styles of holiday music and original music; all of which will touch your heart and soul. May it inspire you for in giving, we receive so much more. To receive your copy as a gift from MRR and with the kind permission of all of our contributing artists we ask you to commit a great act of kindness. Send us proof of you donating to your local charity of choice, it can be your time, or tangible goods such as blankets, food or clothing. Think outside of the box, donate your time at the local food bank, soup kitchen or shelter. Certainly, the hospitals would be grateful for volunteers or donate blood today and save a life. We would like to promote the good deeds of great citizens and with your permission, we will share your photos on our page set up this holiday season to spread the good news.”
15 songs, nearly 80 minutes in length: one thing I really enjoyed about this album is the sheer variety, and it has allowed me to come across bands I have not heard of before. ‘The Sled’ starts with two of these, Jennifer Cutting’s Ocean Orchestra and Jack Potter. “Fall Leaves, Fall” is stunning in its arrangement, and I felt that I was listening to a reborn version of Renaissance, with beautiful orchestration, great woodwind, stunning rock guitar, and a singer who reminded me of Annie Haslam. A short piece of detective work later and I discovered that it was indeed Annie and that this song came out a few years ago. This is one of the delights of this album, as it truly is meant to be broad and wide-reaching, so while it does include songs from MRR artists, of course, it isn’t restricted to just that. Jack Potter’s “Snow Globe” is delicate, starting with just piano and again wonderful vocals, this time care of Salley Elsey. Taken from the ‘Pride Before The Fall’ album which was released earlier this year, I was reading more about it when I started filling up and had to compose myself for a minute. The reason is that one of the guitarists is none other than Colin Tench, and I don’t think any of us who knew him will ever really get over his loss last Christmas, so to find him on a Christmas album for 2018 feels both poignant and fitting. I know he would have a laugh about it.
I have always been a fan of Don Schiff, so it is great to see him here, while one of MRR’s newest signings, DC Snakebuster shows that rough and raw blues, with some great harmonica, also has a place at Christmas. Federico Fantacone provides some gorgeous piano, while Darrel Treece-Birch treats us to a song from his new album, ‘The first step..is to take one’ with the glorious “For Giving” which contains not only the sweeping keyboards we have come to expect but also some glorious guitar. Andy John Bradford is in fine form with “Raise A Glass For Christmas”, and overall the whole album is a delight.
So, what are you waiting for? This album is streaming until the end of January, but you can get your own copy now just by doing something for others at Christmas. Surely that is what the season should be about, instead of the commercial brashness it has become? Think outside the box, make a difference. Many already do so without any thought of reward, and for those who do, then here is a gift from some wonderful musicians just to say thanks.
When I started writing some thirty years ago, one of the reasons for doing so was that I was aware of some wonderful music which the mainstream press ignored. Being able to sing and/or play instruments no longer seemed to be as important as it used to be, and the state of music being played on normal commercial radio filled me with despair, so I just didn’t listen to it anymore. This is how I became involved in the underground scene, and over the years have been fortunate to hear some incredible music which otherwise would have passed me by. Earlier this year Peter Matuchniak sent me a copy of his latest project, ‘Gyreland’ by Bomber Goggles and I loved it immediately. One of the people involved in that was Steve Bonino, and we soon discovered we had a lot in common and I interviewed him for his latest album, ‘Stargazer’ (which is awesome, everyone should have a copy). Following on from that he sent me some of his older material, and I am currently playing Children of the Moon from 2014. My only question has to be, why on earth didn’t I come across this before?
Children of the Moon is multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Steve Bonino, with singer Pascale Elia and drummer Jimmy Keegan. If that isn’t enough in the way of Spock’s Beard credentials, Ryo Okumoto guests on one song and it was mastered by none other than the mighty Rich Mouser. To say this album is a delight is a masterful exercise in understatement. Power pop, pop rock, crossover prog, melodic rock, call it what you will but know that there are some gorgeous songs here with great hooks. Both Steve and Pascale take turns on leads, as well as harmonizes, while Jimmy shows yet again why he is such an in-demand drummer as he adds nuances here and there without removing any emphasis from the melody.
There are quite a few different styles here, and “Everybody Loves Love” is a standout country number (the pedal steel is a wonderful touch), while “My Young Man” is a singer-songwriter classic which belongs in the late Sixties with gorgeous harmonies. Special mention must be made of Amy Tori, who guests with flute on five songs, and this adds an additional sense of class and style to the album that works really well. Many of the songs seem incredibly personal, so much so that I felt at times that I was almost intruding, but it was all so good that I couldn’t turn away. The CD is still available, and it is also possible to stream through Bandcamp, and I can only urge all those into wonderful psychedelic power pop to get straight over to https://thesteveboninoprojects.bandcamp.com/album/children-of-the-moon and discover it for yourselves.
Casey McPherson, the vocalist for prog rock supergroups Flying Colors and The Sea Within, is pleased to announce the release of a new Alpha Rev album entitled ‘Alpha Rev presents Cas.e Sessions, Volume 1.’ Alpha Rev is the singer/songwriters own project that he has spearheaded since 2005. The album is a collection of songs written over the course of the last two years as part of the singer’s monthly fan-subscription service, The Cas.e Sessions.
You can see the lyric video for the track “My Evolution” here:
After recording and performing with bands for most of his career, Casey McPherson wanted to do something outside the box, a more in-depth artistic look into life for him… so, he started a music and video experience called the Cas.e Sessions. The Cas.e Sessions explores creating songs around a relevant topic or experience and documents the whole process. Every month, the members of the Cas.e Sessions get a new song, a short documentary around the song, and an online live show, which has allowed McPherson to make a record completely independent, fully funded by the members.
Casey had this to say about the song and album:
“’My Evolution’ captures a lot of what I’ve learned from Flying Colors. I also ended up playing every instrument on the recording so that was a fun challenge. You won’t know what you’re capable of until you try!
I didn’t intend to release the Cas.e Sessions Volume 1 to the general public, just to the Cas.e Sessions members, mostly because I recorded each song in a day and wasn’t thinking about how it would be received. Maybe that was a good thing? Looking back, I’m very proud of the journey it takes you on!”
3.I’m a Refugee
4.White Matter Recess
6.You Are the Peacemakers
7.Song of Aleppo
8.Write Your Name
10.Stillness for Humans
Casey McPherson is a singer/songwriter who began his recording career with the band Endochine in 2004. A year later he formed Alpha Rev and found success in the pop/alternative world with that band’s second album New Morning and that album’s title track. “New Morning” was added on VH1, and it became a top 10 hit on the AAA radio charts, as did “Sing Loud” from the 3rd record “Bloom.”
In 2012, he was approached by Flying Colors manager Bill Evans at the suggestion of drummer Mike Portnoy, who was a fan of McPherson’s band Endochine. The singer joined Portnoy, Neal Morse, Dave LaRue and Steve Morse in Flying Colors, who released their debut album in 2012 and the follow-up Second Nature in 2014. This unexpected entry into the world of progressive rock introduced McPherson to a whole new audience. In 2018, he recorded a few tracks on the debut self-titled album by new prog supergroup The Sea Within, featuring Roine Stolt, Marco Minnemann, Jonas Reingold, Tom Brislin and Pain of Salvation vocalist Daniel Gildenlöw. McPherson has since replaced Gildenlöw as the group’s full-time singer. The Sea Within are set to appear on the upcoming Cruise to the Edge, Feb, 4th-9th in Tampa, Florida.
Currently, McPherson is working with Flying Colors on the group’s 3rd studio album. He is planning an upcoming solo progressive rock album and will continue to release albums under Alpha Rev and as a solo artist.
Following the release of 2017’s Prog Award-winning album ‘Lost In The Ghost Light’, Tim Bowness returns with his fifth solo album ‘Flowers At The Scene’ on March 1st, 2019. Produced by no-man, the album is a vibrant collection of 11 strikingly diverse songs.
Tim comments: “’Lost In The Ghost Light – which was always intended as a one-off – felt like a perfect conclusion to a particular way of writing and working. In the wake of that, Flowers At The Scene very much feels like a press reset.
It was an exciting project to put together and it was great working closely with old sparring partners, Brian Hulse, and Steven Wilson. Steven was initially brought in to mix the album, but very quickly he was doing far more and developing production ideas alongside Brian and I. Listening to pieces such as Not Married Anymore, Borderline and The War On Me, we both felt that the project had more than a hint of the spirit of no-man and it became obvious that this was a no-man co-production rather than a Bowness/Wilson one.
Elsewhere, the likes of Fates Warning’s Jim Matheos, Colin Edwin, Dylan Howe, and Tom Atherton delivered some incredible performances and it was a delight to get Peter Hammill, Kevin Godley, Andy Partridge and David Longdon involved.
Peter and Kevin were two of my favorite singers growing up and I’ve been a long-term fan of XTC, so it was genuinely a thrill to hear their excellent contributions.”
Representing the duo of Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson’s first joint production in over a decade, the album features performances from an extraordinary cast of players including Peter Hammill (Van Der Graaf Generator), Andy Partridge (XTC), Kevin Godley (10cc), Colin Edwin(Porcupine Tree), Jim Matheos (Fates Warning/OSI), David Longdon (Big Big Train), co-producer Brian Hulse (Plenty), Australian trumpeter Ian Dixon, and drummers Tom Atherton and Dylan Howe. The Curator, David K Jones, violinist Fran Broady, and Charles Grimsdale also guest.
Mixed by Steven Wilson and mastered by Steve Kitch (The Pineapple Thief), the album’s artwork is once again by Jarrod Gosling. ‘Flowers At The Scene’ will be available as CD, LP + CD & as a digital album.
The full track-listing is as follows:
1) I Go Deeper (4.15)
2) The Train That Pulled Away (4.04)
3) Rainmark (4.15)
4) Not Married Anymore (3.30)
5) Flowers At The Scene (3.04)
6) It’s The World (3.03)
7) Borderline (3.45)
8) Ghostlike (5.08)
9) The War On Me (3.47)
10) Killing To Survive (3.59)
11) What Lies Here (4.00)
Tim Bowness is primarily known as vocalist/co-writer with no-man, a long-running collaboration with Steven Wilson.
In addition to releasing six studio albums and a documentary DVD with no-man, Tim has worked with popular Italian artist Alice, Mercury Prize-nominated Banco De Gaia, Robert Fripp, Peter Hammill and Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera (amongst many others).
Tim recorded the album Flame (1994) with Richard Barbieri (Porcupine Tree/ex-Japan), and co-produced/co-wrote Talking With Strangers (2009) for Judy Dyble (ex-Fairport Convention).
Tim Bowness released his fourth solo album, ‘Lost In The Ghost Light’ last year through InsideOutMusic, garnering the best solo reviews he has ever received and reaching #5 in the official UK rock chart. It also picked up Best Cover Artwork at the prestigious annual Progressive Music Awards 2017.
THE GREAT ADVENTURE
THE NEAL MORSE BAND PRESENTS THEIR LATEST DOUBLE CONCEPT ALBUM DUE OUT JANUARY 25, 2019 ON RADIANT RECORDS VIA METAL BLADE WORLDWIDE
NEAL MORSE: Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars
MIKE PORTNOY: Drums, Vocals
RANDY GEORGE: Bass
ERIC GILLETTE: Guitar, Vocals
BILL HUBAUER: Keyboards, Vocals
The Great Adventure Continues…
“Let the great adventure now begin…”; the closing lines of The Neal Morse Band’s last and widely acclaimed 2016 album The Similitude of a Dream (TSOAD), have proved to be strangely prophetic.
The band faced the enviable problem (like Pink Floyd, The Eagles and many other great bands before them) of having to follow up a hugely successful album, as drummer Mike Portnoy explains, “How do you follow an epic double concept album??? Well, create another epic double album!! I always knew topping The Similitude of a Dream was going to be difficult, if not impossible, as I held it in such high regard… but I am absolutely blown away with what we have achieved here! We’ve created the ultimate companion to TSOAD.”
The new album – appropriately entitled The Great Adventure – is exactly that: a perfect companion piece to TSOAD’s partial retelling of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.
Morse admits that the band’s original intentions on re-entering the studio were largely to produce something very different from what has resulted. However, as the writing and recording process unfolded, it gradually became clear to the band that the unerring direction in which the music was heading was to build upon the work already completed in TSOAD, again using the space that the broader canvas of the double album format provides. Bassist Randy George explains, “I was sure that the follow up to TSOAD should be something quite different, but you have to follow your heart and go where the music wants to go.”
True to the album’s title, the creative process was indeed a ‘great adventure.’ Unlike many previous Morse albums, which have often been recorded in around a week, as many as 21 days of initial recording were laid down by these prolific and world-class musicians, producing an abundance of top quality material – enough for an album lasting well over two hours. This meant some ruthless decision-making: some already completed songs and characters had to go, and with studio time running out, new links and ideas were being composed and recorded up to the eleventh hour. “A lot of work and re-work has gone into this,” says Morse, “but I know that some of the most successful and far-reaching albums I’ve been involved with have been just like that – Sola Scriptura and Spock’s Beard’s Snow album come to mind.”
Another key question that had to be addressed was how to pull all the ideas together into a coherent whole. In the end, what unlocked this ‘adventure’ for Morse was the realisation that The Great Adventure needed a new voice and perspective. This time, it is that of the Pilgrim’s abandoned son, a younger, perhaps angrier, voice than was heard on TSOAD, as George explains, “The Great Adventure is nothing short of a miracle: it’s similar to TSOAD in concept and form, but it’s tougher and deeper in tone! It’s a very powerful work and I look forward to playing it live!”
The Great Adventure has everything that fans would expect from a Neal Morse Band album, and more: rock, metal, classical and jazz elements appear throughout, as well as some killer melodies, all played faultlessly by some of the greatest rock musicians on the planet. Says Morse, “This band continues to amaze me! I have to say it was a little daunting to follow up The Similitude of a Dream, as it was such a special album and it delivered every night at our concerts. But The Great Adventure is everything that I hoped it would be! I listened through it yesterday and I was in tears at the end!”
Chapter 1 (12:50)
2. The Dream Isn’t Over
Chapter 2 (23:48)
3. Welcome To The World
4. A Momentary Change
5. Dark Melody
6. I Got To Run
7. To The River
Chapter 3 (17:59)
8. The Great Adventure
9. Venture In Black
10. Hey Ho Let’s Go
11. Beyond The Borders
Chapter 4 (18:13)
1. Overture 2
2. Long Ago
3. The Dream Continues
4. Fighting With Destiny
5. Vanity Fair
Chapter 5 (30:57)
6. Welcome To The World 2
7. The Element Of Fear
8. Child Of Wonder
9. The Great Despair
10. Freedom Calling
11. A Love That Never Dies
Watch “Welcome To The World” lyric video
The Neal Morse Band will take the new album on tour worldwide in early 2019: it promises to be a great adventure indeed.
The Neal Morse Band will take the new album on tour worldwide in early 2019: it promises to be a great adventure indeed.
The Great Adventure will be available in three formats: – 2CD package – 2CD/DVD Special Edition featuring behind-the-scenes video clips of the making of the album. – 3 Vinyl LPs: RADIANT EXCLUSIVE – WHITE VINYL! (Purchase includes audio CDs.)
PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW!
SPECIAL PRE-ORDER OFFERS: – Free audio download of the first single “Welcome to the World” with ALL pre-orders. – We will randomly pick 50 people who order in the first 24 hours (9:00 AM CST on 12/4 – 9:00 AM CST on 12/5) to receive this free exclusive framable graphic autographed by all of The Neal Morse Band! – Enter a drawing to win the Mike Portnoy master notes from the recording sessions – autographed by Mike! Drawing to take place on December 11th.
PLUS: Three more songs from the album will be released shortly as videos (release date TBA). As they are released, those three songs will be made available as free audio downloads to all who have pre-ordered the album in any format! (You will later receive an email with a download link.)
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