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.
This is the debut album from Dutch neo-prog band The Dame, which as the name might suggest is built heavily around the female lead singer, Marian van Charante. They have been gaining a lot of attention for their image and style, as apparently they aim to convey a feeling of the Roaring Twenties in what they do, although it must be said that with a download as opposed to a CD that isn’t necessarily apparent. For the most part, the keyboards are actually quite basic and in the background, but given that Thijs de Ruijter is actually the son of the guitarist Stephen and is just 16 years old perhaps that is understandable.
The songs feel like stories, which is very much a positive, and Marian moves between singing softly and bringing in elements of Alanis Morissette with her phrasing. It is pleasant enough, but this just doesn’t shine the way it should. Some of that is down to the arrangements which feel a little clunky at times, and the production which often pushes the snare drum over the top of the guitar. The use of acoustic guitar as an additional rhythm works well, but I can’t get nearly as excited over this as many others seem to be.
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.
Featuring Glenn Hughes, Brian May, John Wetton, Mel Galley, Don Airey, Cozy Powell & Others!
London – Phenomena is a rock music concept conceived by record producer Tom Galley and brother, Whitesnake guitarist Mel Galley and directed by Wilfried Rimensberger. Contributors were leading rock musicians such as Brian May, John Wetton, Glenn Hughes, Don Airey, Mel Galley, Neil Murray and Cozy Powell amongst others.
Phenomena’s production of rock songs based on a story line running through a whole album, attached to artworks and other multi-media aspects was credited for the “return of the concept album” in the 1980s. Phenomena released three albums in the 1980s and early 1990s, and had a number one hit single in South America with “Did It All For Love,” while the album charted across Europe, in Japan and Brazil.
The creator of Phenomena, Tom Galley, said of the re-releases: “I’m happy to see the release of these original recordings. And being in touch with the involved artists, I know they are looking forward to see this happening too. Together with previously never seen material the 3 albums are well presented.”
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