Time Horizon Interview with Leading Man Ralph Otteson

Time Horizon’s leading man Ralph Otteson opens up during a recent interview about the birth of a band, Pandoras Box, the upcoming 3rd album, and everything in-between.

PoP: 
Hello, Ralph thank you for doing this interview with us.

Ralph: 
Absolutely! I am so glad to talk to you Thank you!

PoP: 
You’re the founding member of Time Horizon a California-based Christian, Progressive Crossover AOR band How long have you been a professional musician, and what professional training have you had if any? 

Ralph: 
Well, first I wouldn’t consider myself “pro” because I support my family by working a day job in the high tech industry, but as far as my involvement with music, I would say I have a lot of years working part-time and I have been able to do a lot with limited time. I hope to do more than I have in the past.

PoP: 
What is your role in Time Horizon and what instruments do you play?

Ralph: 
I am the keyboardist and principal writer. I also sing background vocals. I think I am the driving force behind the band because I take on most of the responsibilities, so in a sense, I am the leader.

PoP: 
Tell us about the birth of Time Horizon, how did that come about, and what does this band mean to you? 

Ralph: 
Time Horizon started because I had recorded an album with a band I was playing with. we wrote original music. The band was called Iron Clay Poets. We disbanded before finishing the album, but I wanted to finish it. The problem was I had recorded on ADAT digital tape system and could only do 16 tracks at a time for mixdown. I had about 30 tracks of music, so our then drummer knew another drummer that was also an engineer and had a computer system that I could mix it down with. That drummer ended up being the drummer for Time Horizon. He dug the music and after the mix, he wanted to jam on some of the songs….well, we ended up writing the first album.

PoP: 
What was the defining moment in your life that sparked the eternal flames to become a musician, and was it a particular band or individual? 

Ralph: 
Well, my family are all musicians, we had an upright piano that I would mess around with it but never had any lessons. In 1977 I saw ELP – the Works Tour. The year before a friend played their record and I loved the sound of the synth. When I saw Keith do his thing, I said that’s what I want to do! mind you, I had not yet started playing. I took lessons in my Senior year and sold my car to by a Fender Rhodes piano so I could play in a band. I learned covers but found writing songs was what I enjoyed most.

PoP: 
Your first release was released through your label Angelic Noise Records, what was the publics’ perception of the debut Living Water?

Ralph: 
It was well-received. I started my label because there were a few labels interested in wanting to sign us, but things kind of went weird so I decided to form my label.

PoP: 
Was Living Water a charity album?

Ralph: 
I recorded the album with some friends,  Bruce was the drummer and we recorded it at his studio. We had all but one song mixed and for several reasons, it sat for a year. it looked like the same thing was happening again with this band. Like before, I took it soon myself to finish it. I had gone to a Christian Men’s conference and saw an organization called Living Water International (LWI). I had lost my job and was feeling worried about how I was going to get by. I sold stock I had from my previous employer funded the album with the intent to give 100% of the sale from physical CDs to LWI to help people in the world that do not have even the most basic need….water. What do I have to complain about? So in a sense yes it was a charity album. I have not financially benefited from it. I considered it a MinistryThe album sales were okay and we were able to help a village in Ghana, Africa install a well, so I would call that a success.

PoP: 
Tell us about the concept/meaning behind the name of Living Water?

Ralph:
Well, the meaning of Living Water is what Jesus is to Christians. He said he can give living water that in us is welling into eternal life. So, along with the purpose behind the album project, it made sense to name the album that. 

PoP: 
What was the most defining moment of Living Water?  

Ralph:
I think after we wrote the song Life Fantastic. The bass player at the time was Steve Gorley, an amazing musician that studied jazz and I wrote the riff that he just latched onto and would complement the line with some nice runs on the bass which I doubled on the synth. Bruce came up with a great melody and killer drums. after mixing that I sent it off to Randy George as he was putting together a compilation CD for Cprog or Christian Prog Rock. we released it as a single for the CPR3 album. That was great because we made friends which I still hold dear today. If you get a chance to hear it, it’s fantastic! Unitopia, Ted Leonard, and Phil Keaggy are just a few of the artists on that CD.

PoP: 
Your sophomore album Transitions was released four years later in 2015, how was this different than your debut?  

Ralph:
That album was called Transitions because it’s just that. Steve Gorley the original bassist traveled back to Cambodia to continue his humanitarian work there. He could have stayed here and rocked out with us, but he had a deeper calling and love for the oppressed and poor. He helped the street kids there, preventing child slave labor and trafficking. I found a replacement in Allen White who I played in a band within the ‘80s early ’90s. He fit right in. The original guitar player left and we got help in that area with Dave Miller. Bruce got about 1/2 way through and had to leave for personal reasons…Now I was down a drummer and a singer, so I recruited help from friends David Walliman,  Lang Bliss, and a singer from the band Allen and I played with Rich Reif. I had Billy Sherwood mixing and helping me on post-production. So it is the transition to what Time Horizon is now. That album has a lot of great tunes on it. slightly different, but still maintaining a signature sound.

PoP: 
You formed a partnership with Melodic Revolution Records for the second release, how did that come about and why was it so important for the follow up of Living Water?

Ralph:
I wrote a majority of the album, did the leg work in getting it finished, but realized I need help with promotion. I knew Nick Katona and noticed that he did a lot of albums for great causes. I felt we would work well together as I think we share that desire to help bless others through music in a real tangible way. I am a principal writer for the band, a dad and husband, I appreciate MRR and everything they do to help promote. I am not good at that, it’s difficult for me.

PoP: 
What influences your songwriting lyrically and musically? 

Ralph:
Great question. I have always loved prog music. Odd time Signatures, blending genres, and of course melody. The first bands for me were in the ‘70s really. ELP was what got me into prog, followed by Yes, then Genesis. I also loved rock like Toto, Queen, Boston, and the like. The ’80s brought me Saga which is a huge influence. Lyrically, I think Saga’s style but the Beatles and Rush. I know that’s all over the place, but my faith is something that is from my inner core, so it is expressed in lyrics. Sometimes more overtly, sometimes more subtle.

PoP:  
You brought in some big guns for the production portion of the album, I am speaking of Billy Sherwood (Yes, Circa, World Trade) and Major Appelbaum (Nektar, Angra, Lana Lane) how did that come about and why was this essential to this releases?

Ralph:
Yeah, with Transitions album I wanted to raise the bar. I had contacted Billy Sherwood as I know he has worked with other bands. I sent him a demo of the song “Prisoner” which was a song written when I was on a band 180 with Allen W. Billy liked the tune and so I started a correspondence with him. because he worked with Tony Kaye in Circa, I asked if he could get Tony to play on it. You have no idea how cool it was for me to hear a Hammond organ from him. I had the Yes album on my turntable for weeks. I still can’t believe he is on Transitions. a huge thrill for me. Billy also played as we decided to do a cover of a World Trade song ” The Moment is Here” We changed some of the lyrics to fit our Christian world view and he was Ok with it. He also plays the lead guitar on the track so another cool thing.

Billy Sherwood

PoP:  
Billy Sherwood also guested on the album along with David Wallimann, Lang Bliss, Tony Kaye, and Jake Livgren. What was it like to work with these musicians?

Ralph: 
David Walliman is fantastic to work with, he would pump out these amazing guitar tracks in really fast. I used him first for the song Prisoner but found I kept turning to him for the next tune. It was hard not to. He does quality stuff in record time! Lang and I go back a long time. I knew him in the 80s. We had mutual musician friends and hung out jamming at times. He moved to Nashville and got on with a Christian record label there. He is quite the pro. He toured with Michael W. Smith who is a well-known gospel artist. He met his wife Renee who was a backup singer for Amy Grant. Together they write and produce talent. They released some songs that made the Billboard Top 10 last year. I finally met Tonybackstage after a Yes concert. He was super nice and remembered the song which I was glad! I got Jake to sing the last song after Rich was no longer available. It was on the suggestion of the artist Ken Westphal who did our album artwork. I originally was talking to John Elefante and asked him, but he declined, so Ken mentioned Jake while he sang in Proto-KawJake was great, I paid for a studio session in Topeka, Kansas and Jake said he would play on the album, his uncle Kerry Livgren (Proto-Kaw, Kansas) gave him the thumbs up so that’s good.

PoP: 
From what we understand the long-awaited 3rd album is 99% complete, why has it taken so long to do another album?

Ralph: 
Oh, man. We’ll all I can say is first….it’s worth the wait. When Bruce joined back with the band to tour the 2nd album, I said we need a frontman/vocalist. We spent time looking for and auditioning a singer. We were also down a guitar player/utility guy. It took a long time to find people that are up to playing this style of music. If they are good enough, it usually means they are not available. We got a call from a Sacramento-based singer David Mau who heard about us and thought he would be a great fit. He works with Brad Gillis from Night Ranger and Ozzy. He also worked with Derek Sherinian and loves prog! We started rehearsing and did a few shows, but again, had someone leave because of work. back to Square one. It is difficult to find people that want to do original music because there is not much money in it. It seems musicians have to play in Tribute bands to survive, which is kind of sad. All that said, we got some material from our new singer David Mau, once we got into writing mode, we just kept going. we did a lot of music and half of the next album is already done, so the fourth one should not be so long a wait. Could have done a double album, but…

PoP:  
What’s the album called and why?

Ralph: 
The new album is still having names considered. We just started the process of getting the artwork started so that might have an impact on the final name. We first thought about a song title, but then the concept of the album something in “3” for the third album. Time Horizon  “cubed” maybe…I think it will be a surprise.

PoP: 
Do you have the same line-up as Transitions?

Ralph: 
The same lineup for the most part. Bruce G.  on drums Bruce sings lead on one song, but Dave is the main guy for that role now. Myself on keys and vocals, Allen White on Bass again, Dave Miller on acoustic and rhythm electric. We had David Walliman do lead but guitar for a song, but that song is one we have decided to release on the next album. Both Bruce and Dave Mau had worked with a guitarist from Sacramento, Michael GregoryBruce played with him in the ’80s and Dave most recently.  Michael G. was a sought after session musician in Nashville and was approached by Neal Morse to play with him. He was in the middle of finishing a degree so couldn’t do it, but that shows what his abilities are. The tracks by him have been Stellar! Overall this is the best line up to date. I am really excited about it.

PoP:  
Is it true that Michael Sadler of Saga is doing vocals on a track on this album, what song and how did that come about? 

Ralph: 
Yes, it is! I am super stoked to be able to say that! I have been a long time Saga fan! I met Michael once at Calprog in LA a few years ago. We sat down at lunch break and I was thrilled to talk with him. Later, he and I had a Skype meeting after the release of Transitions. I asked him then if he would be interested in guesting on our next release. He asked me to send him something and if he feels he can do it justice he would. It took me a long time after that writing quite a few songs before I felt I had one that he would fit right in. I intentionally tried to make it Saga-ish sound. He loved it and with his vocals, It sounds like something He would do, so I think mission accomplished!

PoP: 
Do you have any other special guests appearing on this release, can you give us a hint?

Ralph: 
The only other special guest is Michael Manring who plays fretless bass on a song in tribute to our first bassist Steve who recently passed We went to see Michael in concert as he was a favorite of Steve’s. It was the last time I saw my friend who helped start Time Horizon so …It seemed fitting and Michael was happy too. I love it as it is a very emotional piece for me. It still is hard for me not to tear up listening.

PoP: 
How many tracks on the new album? Can you give us a song by song breakdown?

Ralph: 
Yes, we have seven completed songs, still working on song order, they are in no particular order.

Living for a Better daySaga like approach with a rock edge.
The Great Divide …..a hard-driving rock tune with prog influence. 
Digital Us…..kind of Rush meets Pink Floyd maybe?
Steve”s song “It’s not goodbye”….instrumental with a new-age feel.
Razors Edge…..this is to me Spocks Beard meets Mike & the Mechanics.
I Hear, I see…….kind of more Toto like, this would be the more Top 40 hit.
Time to Wonder…..a ballad that has a Phil Collins approach. really beautiful tune.

PoP: 
Who is the production team for the 3rd record?

Ralph: 
We are going to do as much as we can to self-produce. We self-produced the first one, and we have even more experience between myself, Bruce, and David Mau to do this, but I think when you self-produce, it generally takes longer.

PoP: 
Ken Westphal, who created the band-logo and the artwork for the first two albums has retired since Transitions, who will step up to the plate to continue making album art for great Time Horizon?

Ralph:
We have contacted Ed Unitsky and are in the process of starting the artwork. I think he is one of the go-to artists in the Prog community. He does really good work.

PoP: 
We hear this album will be released in many formats including vinyl, can you tell us what prompted you to press wax on this one?

Ralph: 
2 reasons. FirstVinyl is cool, I miss it! It has a vibe, and it’s becoming more popular as a medium to listen to again. We will still have CDs as well. Second, I like the shorter length. Back in the day, bands were releasing albums on a more regular basis partly because instead of having a 74-minute album every few years 45 min is a great length. I mentioned the fourth release is in the wings and about half-finished already.

PoP: 
Do you collect vinyl yourself?

Ralph: 
I have my collection from years ago still. I have a lot of original LPs. I think the millennials are discovering how great the music was years ago because of the rise in vinyl popularity again….which is very cool. I do have my wish list of albums.

PoP: 
Name 10 albums that should be part of any serious record collection?

Ralph: 
Wow, that’s a great question! Let me think hmm…I think a mix of styles and genres is important. I have Classical, Jazz, Rock some R&B and some newer Country. Works I have from, Chic Corea to The Fixx. Gino Vanelli to Jean Michel Jare, but here is a list of favorites 

1) The Yes Album…Yes
2) And then there were Three…Genesis
3) Works…ELP
4) Abbey Road…Beatles
5) Toto… .the first one
6) World’s Apart…Saga
7) V ….Spock’s Beard
8) The Vigil …Kemper Krabb (worship)
9) More Power to Ya…Petra 
10) Boston……the first one

…can I add the next Time Horizon to the list Ha, ha!

PoP: 
Describe what success means to you, as a person, not a musician?

Ralph: 
Success to me is loving what you do, knowing you are valued and matter in God’s eyes, knowing how to Love God in all things, and knowing how to love others. It’s not found in money or recognition. Maybe that sounds sappy to some, but I think it is true.

PoP: 
2020 devastated the global community in many ways, how has 2020 affected you personally and the band?

Ralph: 
Thankfully I can design circuit boards for income, I can do that remotely, so that helps. The other guys are retired or work at home as well. Bruce is an automotive mechanic so he can bring in non-music related income. Sometimes it helps to have additional skills.

PoP: 
What were your plans for 2020 before the pandemic hit and do you plan to resume these plans at some point?

Ralph: 
We had started recording before the pandemic. There had also been family emergencies that band members became unavailable for some time, so they slowed things as well. We are also trying to find a booking agent, but again it is Tribute and Top 40 bands they want. Hopefully, we can find help in that area once this pandemic subsides.

PoP: 
Have you ever considered releasing a solo album?

Ralph: 
Yes, actually. I have a lot of musical ideas that I want to develop. they are just phrases and pieces, but that is how all the material I have contributed starts out as. the songs take on their own life and write themselves. I would love to work with other musicians and put together something very proggy. I tend to be the more Prog head in the band. I would also like to do a worship album.

PoP:
What makes a song stand the test of time such as The Beatles’ Let It Be?

Ralph: 
Funny you mention the Beatles. That was one of my album choices. The Beatles are timeless I think because the songs have melodies that you can remember. They are creative and appear simple, but when you analyze what the cord structure is doing, it’s genius.

PoP:
Do you see value in streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube for example?  

Ralph:
Hmmm, To me, it is bittersweet. What a nice convenience it is. The problem is how it is hurting the artist financially. The royalties paid are very, very small. I mean, you have to have 100’s of thousands and maybe millions of streams per song to see actual viable income from that. The music industry has changed. I am thankful that I have sources of income to provide for my family, on the other hand, Time Horizon is on those platforms and I hope people use that as well as physical merchandise. That is still how artists keep going. Everyone said…well you just have to play concerts and sell out venues…. .um hmmm… ok, now what?

PoP:
What’s been the most memorable time in your music career thus far?

Ralph: 
The very first time I heard a song I recorded playing on the radio in my car. Back in the ’80s, I was in a band with Allen and we were featured on local F M radio shows and College radio as well. I was driving in my car and listening to the local station when I heard a song I was on….big big smile! I think the second was being able to work with musicians that I looked up to Billy and Michael Sadler and Michael Manring come to mind.

PoP: 
Let’s say I asked you to describe your musical style as if you were a painter. How would you describe your music pallet using vivid colors?

Ralph: 
I think I paint with blended colors like watercolors can bleed from blue to green to yellow. You can see those colors, but the color between them is really interesting. The music I do is different from song to song, but still maintaining a recognizable sound.

PoP:
If you could put one thing back into Pandoras Box what would it be?

Ralph: 
Nothing. I think we have to work with what we are given. I think it’s all about what we do with it.

PoP: 
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your warm-up act, or co-headliner? 

Ralph: 
I would love to tour Europe. It is where most of our album sales are, so maybe would have more people interested in seeing us play. I think we would be a good warm-up band for Neal Morse band, but he plays three-hour shows, so that isn’t gonna happen. Bands like Life Signs from England has a similar sound also Mystery from Canada. I think if we have enough material to do a 2-hour set so, a co-headliner would also be possible.

How has the music landscape changed since you have become a professional musician? 

Ralph: 
I started writing songs as I learned how to play my instrument. I was in the studio at 19 and playing clubs circuit by 21. It was a vibrant time. Original bands were found everywhere. The radio would play local bands. Now every radio station is owned by a handful of companies. the club scene is a small remnant. People were not afraid to pay to go check out bands. Usually, you heard of the headliner but often I liked the opener or support band more.

PoP: 
Did MTV or the internet kill the radio star?

Ralph:
Yes and No. Yes, it killed the radio for the most part, but the internet opened great opportunities to find new music. I still find new music from artists I never heard of. Time Horizon has fans in Europe, Asia, and South America. That is still mind-boggling to me. They would not have me without it.

PoP: 
People often say that music is dead because no good music is still being produced, is that true?

Ralph: 
Music is not dead, the bands are there, but they are crippled in some areas. I think modern pop music is cookie cutter. There are just a few songwriters providing for the stars to perform. That’s why the songs all sound alike. If you turn on the radio, you will find Country, R&B / Rap, and Gospel. The only rock is classic rock. When was the last rock song you heard on FM? I hear new rock and prog on the internet all the time.

PoP:
What is the best advice you’ve been given professionally? 

Ralph: 
As far as music composition, What you don’t play is just as or more important than what notes you choose to play. For bands, tour, tour, and tour some more. I am still trying to get the second advice into motion.

PoP: 
What advice would you give to the next generation of future musicians? 

Ralph: 
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Don’t be afraid to be different. Learn from older music and listen to all genres. There are things to learn from every style And whatever music you do, do it with conviction. Be honest with it.

PoP:
Where can people get information about the band and purchase Time Horizon’s music? 

Ralph:
Well, Time Horizon Website, and a Facebook page that gets updated more than the website ( Not as much as it should) but it is probably the best way to follow current news. The Angelic Noise record label was the band’s store, it has closed for now so our Bandcamp Store, and Melodic Revolution Records. You can find us at all the other Outlets like iTunes, Tidal, Spotify, YouTube, and the like. I think there will be another store set up from the band website in the near future.

PoP:
Have you ever thought about being something other than a musician? 

Ralph: 
Originally I thought I would be an illustrator, I studied for a couple of years in college but realized if I want to be a good illustrator, I would need to lay down the music. I couldn’t do it, so I played down my brushes, got a job to buy keyboards, and start a great original band. I did not regret that decision and still feel the same today.

PoP: 
Do you have a mailing list where fans and voyeurs of information can sign up too? 

Ralph: 
I had a mailing list with angelicnoise.com, but that website is debunked at the moment. I am okay for people to reach out to me personally. I will be looking over the mailing list I have to let those that have ordered past albums can get involved with this new project. Give a like to the Time Horizon fan page and follow us there and at MRR.

PoP:  

In closing I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us, do you have anything that you would like people to know that we did not talk about? 

Ralph: 

Well, yeah I just want people to know that I appreciate the support we have received and, I am doing my best to fulfill the expectations of an artist. I hope that I can do more and more. I hope you see improvement as I am always striving to be better at this. I do fall short in the promotion area, I have never been one to point attention to myself, which when you are a music artist you have to do. I feel uncomfortable saying….hey look at me!.. But, please hang in there as I will be trying to update more and all I have to say is I am excited as to what Time Horizon is doing.

PoP:  
Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview.

Ralph: 
It was truly my pleasure and I enjoyed answering these questions, which I might add were brilliant! You are for sure gifted in this area.

Time Horizon Band
Ralph Otteson: Keyboards, background vocals
Bruce Gaetke: Drums, lead and background vocals
Allen White: Electric and acoustic bass
David Miller: Electric and acoustic guitars
David Mau: Lead Vocals and support keys

Contributing musician Michael Gregory: Lead electric guitar 

Time Horizon Online
Website: http://www.timehorizonmusic.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimeHorizon/
MRR Profile: https://mrrmusic.com/project/time-horizon/

Time Horizon Bandcamp Store
https://timehorizon.bandcamp.com


Steve Hackett Announces Acoustic Album – Under A Mediterranean Sky

photo by Jo Hackett 

Acoustic Solo AlbumReleased on 22nd January 2021

4th November 2020: Iconic guitarist Steve Hackett, releases his new acoustic album Under A Mediterranean Sky on 22nd January 2021 as a Limited CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP + CD + LP-booklet and Digital Album via InsideOut MusicUnder A Mediterranean Sky is Steve Hackett’s first acoustic solo album since Tribute in 2008 and takes inspiration from Steve’s extensive travels around the Mediterranean with his wife Jo.

Working closely with long-time musical partner Roger King, Hackett has used his time during 2020’s lockdown to take us on an extraordinary musical journey around the Mediterranean, painting vivid images of stunning landscapes and celebrating the diverse cultures of the region. Famed for his rock roots with Genesis, and through his extensive solo catalogue, Hackett demonstrates the exquisite beauty of the nylon guitar at times venturing into the exotic ethnic and often supported by dazzling orchestral arrangements.

“A lot of acoustic ideas had been forming over the years, and it felt like the perfect time to create this album,” notes Hackett, “a time to contemplate the places we’ve visited around the Mediterranean with the kind of music which evolved from the world of imagination.

“Because we can’t really travel, substantially at the moment, I hope that the album will take people on that journey. Whether you sit down and listen to it or drift off to it with a glass of wine…”

Our journey around the Med begins on the island of Malta, in Mdina – The Walled City. It’s imposing strength is portrayed by Roger King’s dramatic orchestration while Hackett’s guitar weaves through the atmospheric streets describing the creativity, love and strength that held Malta together between all the waves of conflict.

With Hackett’s delicate guitar work, Adriatic Blue paints an enchanting view of stunning scenery as tall cliffs of forested mountains plunge into the deep blue sea along the Croatian coastline. Sirocco is altogether more atmospheric, inspired by the winds playing through the imposing structures of Egypt.

The lively Joie de Vivre expresses the unique sense of joy the French have through their wine, food and folk music, with paintings reflecting family gatherings, spectacular vistas and the vibrant colours of their cities. The art of dreaming is embodied in their sensual love of life.

“At first hand, I’ve marvelled at the mystical whirling Dervishes,” says Hackett. Along with otherworldly beings such as the Djin (Genie) they sprang from Persia’s dreaming past. The Dervish And The Djin captures the extraordinary atmosphere of this most exotic of civilisations with the help of Hackett’s touring band regular – Rob Townsend’s soprano sax, the tar of Malik Mansurov (from Azerbaijan) and Armenian Arsen Petrosyan’s duduk. “Of course, those countries are virtually at war with each other,” Hackett adds, “and there has been something like a thousand casualties (at the time of writing) on both sides. Again, it’s a case of music being able to do things that politicians fail to do – something constructive.”

The Memory of Myth embodies the deep and rich history of Greece and features the violin of Christine Townsend (no relation) while Lorato – ‘love’ in the language of the African Tswana tribe – is a pretty folk tune. Love is the force that heals and links all disparate peoples of the Mediterranean.

Hackett and his wife Jo were enchanted by the little Faun statue in the House of the Faun, Pompeii. “The villas there seemed to come back to life as we walked through those wonderful atriums and gardens,” inspiring Casa del Fauno and featuring the light and airy flute of Hackett’s brother John and Rob Townsend on flute.

The only non-original piece is Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata. This embodies the Baroque music of Italy, a sensitive interpretation embellished with cross-string trills, a technique introduced to Hackett by the fine classical guitarist, the late Theo Cheng.

Hackett also expresses his admiration for the flamenco guitarists of Andalucía who are celebrated on Andalusian Heart“One of the flamenco guitarists was showing me the extraordinary things they are able to do,” Hackett explains. “Seeing the gypsies playing and dancing in caves there, you get the feeling that these people are dancing for their lives.”

Our journey comes to an end with The Call Of The Sea, a gentle and peaceful reflection of the vast body of water that unites the many civilisations both ancient and modern.

Under A Mediterranean Sky features Steve Hackett playing nylon, steel string and twelve string guitars, charango and Iraqi oud. Keyboards, programming and orchestral arrangements are by Roger King. Featured musicians are John Hackett and Rob Townsend, flute (Casa del Fauno); Malik Mansurov, tar and Arsen Petrosyan, duduk & Rob Townsend, Sax (The Dervish And The Djin); Christine Townsend, violin (The Memory of Myth and The Call Of The Sea). All tracks were produced by Steve Hackett and Roger King with all tracks recorded and mixed by Roger King at Siren.

“I had a great time doing this album, seeing it take shape, and I’m very pleased with the outcome. I’m very proud of it,” says Hackett. “The nylon guitar has a very individual sound but, within the compass of what the nylon-strung guitar can do, there are a lot of different tones. You can do the full-on attack, the kind of salvo that you expect from the flamenco players but, at the same time, it can also be very gentle, gentle as a harp. It’s shades of black and white. It’s also exciting to play alongside instruments from around the world, as well as a wide range of orchestral sounds.”

About Steve Hackett
Steve Hackett joined Genesis at the beginning of 1971 and gained an international reputation as the guitarist in the band’s classic line-up alongside Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. Steve’s intricate guitar work was a key element of Genesis’ albums from Nursery Cryme (1971) to Wind And Wuthering (1977) including the classic Selling England By The Pound.

After leaving Genesis at the end of 1977, Steve’s solo career, which now spans more than 30 albums, has demonstrated his extraordinary versatility with both electric and acoustic guitar. Steve is renowned as both an immensely talented and innovative rock musician and a virtuoso classical guitarist and composer and this was recognised in 2010 when he was inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame. He has also worked alongside Steve Howe of YES in the supergroup GTR.

Steve’s compositions take influences from many genres, including jazz, classical and blues. For his later studio works The Night Siren (2017) and At The Edge Of Light (2019) Steve has explored the influences of world music. Recent tours have seen Steve celebrate his time with Genesis including a spectacular 2018 tour in which Steve realised a long-held ambition to perform the works of Genesis live with his band and an orchestra. He recently released Selling England by the Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith, a live recording of his hugely successful 2019 tour that saw him celebrating that Genesis classic, as well as the 40th anniversary of one of his most-loved solo albums.

Under A Mediterranean Sky released on 22nd January 2021Formats – Limited CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP + CD + LP-booklet
Digital Album via InsideOut Music.
Official website: http://www.hackettsongs.com
Official webstore: https://store.hackettsongs.com/

Original Genesis Guitar Legend Anthony Phillips “Missing Links I-IV” 5CD Remastered Box Set To Be Released November 27, 2020

A 5 Disc clamshell boxed set gathering together the four volumes of the “missing links” releases by celebrated musician and genesis founding member Anthony Phillips
with an additional cd of previously unreleased & rare material all albums newly remastered with new extensive essay by Anthony Phillips’ archivist Jon Dann

Esoteric Recordings is pleased to announce the release of “MISSING LINKS I – IV”, a newly remastered 5 CD set clamshell boxed set comprising the four original “Missing Links” albums by celebrated composer and GENESIS founder member ANTHONY PHILLIPS. Aside from his work as a solo artist, Anthony has been a composer of music for television for many years, going back as far as 1976.

In 1989 Anthony issued the first collection of this music, “Missing Links” in December 1989 as a limited-edition release. Its popularity led to a further three Missing Links releases which gathered not only soundtrack compositions, but other rare archive recordings made by Anthony Phillips over the years. Although the original four volumes of the series have been subsequently been issued on CD, they have been unavailable for some years. Anthony has worked with his archivist Jon Dann to prepare this new boxed set edition of this wonderful music, compiling a new additional CD 27 track CD of previously unreleased and rare archive material, “Extra Links” exclusive to this set.

“MISSING LINKS I – IV” is sure to appeal to fans of Anthony’s work. This new boxed set edition features liner notes by Jon Dann and is a fine collection of music by one of Britain’s most imaginative and respected musicians.

Tracklisting:

DISC ONE: 

MISSING LINKS VOLUME ONE: FINGER PAINTING
A Collection Of Library And Television Music 1979 – 1989

Force Majeure (1987)
Mountain Voices (1987)
Lord Of The Smoking Mirror (1987)
Sea Horses (1987)
Dungeons (1987)
Between The Rings (1983)
Evening Ascent (1983)
Streamer (1983)
After The Rain (1987)
Rottweiler (1983)
Sad Fish (1983)
A Song (1979)
God’s Chosen Car Park Suite (1986)
      Processional – Meditation –
      Cave Painting

Tropical Moon Over Dorking Suite (1985)
      Estrangement – Myra’s Dream – 
      Reconciliation

Fountain Pool (1986)
Q. (1984)
Three Piece Suite (1984)
      To The Shrine – Through The Forest – 
      Towards The Light

Boulevard Of Fallen Leaves (1981)
Land Of Dragons Suite (1989)
      Land Of Dragons (Part 1) – Kites – 
      Harbour At Sunset – Dance Of The
      Crabs – Sand Octopus And The King
      Crabs – Do The Shrimps Know They’re
      Chinese – Land Of Dragons (Part 2)

And A Prayer (1979)
Tierra Del Fuego (1979)
Paradise Found (1979)

Disc Two:

Missing Links Volume Two: The Sky Road
A Collection Of Archive, Commission And Unreleased Album Material

Exile
Lifeboat Suite
Opening Theme – Sunday Morning – Another Shout – Across The Sandbar – Storm Warning – Kim Waits – The Rescue Of The Janet C – Let Not The Deep Swallow Me Up – Closing Theme

The Bitter Suite
      Part I – Part Ii

Across The River Styx
A Flock Of Souls
Along The Towpath
The Sky Road
Tears On A Rainy Day
Tiwai: Island Of The Apes
      Bats – In The Firmament

Wild Voices, Quiet Waters Suite
Twilight On The Lake – Winterloons – Waterstar

Serenita
Timepiece
Field Of Eternity (Excerpts
      From The Original Version)

The Beggar And The Thief

Disc Three:

Missing Links Volume Three: Time And Tide
A Collection Of Television And Library Music 1992 – 1997

Amazonas
Peruvian Plains
Manatee Garden
Turtle Race
Indio Wedding
Underwater Forest
Fiesta Del Charangos
Slow Hand Sloth
River Chase
Sacred Kingdom
African Dream
Bedouin Train
Sandstorm
Kalahari March
Songoku
Schuan Journey
Slow Boat To China
Back In The Land Of Dragons
Shadow Puppet
Sea Jewel
End Theme For Five
Minnow Dance
Sunken Galleons
Haunting The Dark Sea
Time And Tide
Okavanga
Under Desert Stars
Lost In A Desert Night
Blue Lagoons

Disc Four:

Missing Links Iv: Pathways & Promenades

The Golden Road To Samarkand
Promenade
Sceptred Isle
Danza Cucaracha
Fallen Idol
Cascades
Sky Dawn
Misty Mountains
It’s All Greek To Me
Haven From The Sea
Heavenly Gene
Ironclad
Water Gardens
Night Train
Sleeping Giant
Sombrero
Irish Lament
Aurora
Without You
Sad Exodus
Summer Of Love
Light Rain
Halcyon Days

Disc Five:

Extra Missing Links

Opening Theme For Five
Empire Of The Elephant
Great Rift Valley
Dwellers Of The Deep
Exile Link
Freeway Dude
Sumatra
Tears On A Rainy Day Link
Is There Anyone Out There?
Antibes Cocktail
Tropical Moon Romance
Sitar Pastoral
Wings Over The World
Stakeout
Bush Babies Suite
Sky Road Link
Citizens Of The Coral
Estrangement (Piano Mix)
Night Search
Granada
A Noble Spirit
In The Heart Of Africa
Malvern Hills
Flight Of The Snow Geese
Never Meant To Be
New Alchemists Suite
The Beggar & The Thief (Instrumental Version)

For more information: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/anthony-phillips-missing-links-i-iv-5cd-remastered-box-set/

Leon Alvarado‎ Re-visits “2014 Music From An Expanded Universe” with New Music Video for Blood Like Red

Blood Like Red is the 3rd track from the 2014 Music From An Expanded Universe album. The video features Leon Alvarado on Keyboards and Drums. Trey Gunn (King Crimson, The Security Project) on Warr Guitar and Bass and Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates) on Taos Drums percussion. Produced by Leon Alvarado, Engineered by Leon Alvarado, Trey Gunn and
Mastered by Andy Jackson 

For years I had wanted to add visuals to what it is one of my favorite pieces from my music.
Leon Alvarado

Leon Alvarado is Texas-based prog drummer, keyboardist, composer, and illustrator, Alvarado has recorded with many talented musicians including Bill Bruford (Gong, Yes, Genesis, Earthworks), John Goodsall (Brand X, Fire Merchants), Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, Paul McCartney), Billy Sherwood (Yes, Asia), Rick Wakeman and Tony Levin.

On the graphics front I have done album covers and touring materials for bands such as Brand X, Genesis, Phil Collins, Jethro Tull, Jeff Beck, Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters, The Australian Pink Floyd Show, and King’s X.

A Critics Point of View

This is not one of those balls-to-walls prog-rock affairs. For instance on “Blood Like Red,” the artists execute a slowly moving and budding rock pulse, steered by Gunn’s prominent bass lines, in support of the leader’s polytonal voicings, sounding somewhere in between a mellotron and synth strings type soundscape. Moreover, Alvarado layers a tabla vibe to incorporate a world music background into the mix, followed by Gunn’s stinging and crunchy Warr guitar notes. 
All About Jazz

“Blood Like Red” starts and ends with atmospheric wind effects with the middle brimming with Alvarado’s spacier synth exploits and Gunn’s textural Warr guitar crunch. It is here the band really gets into a full but subtle groove.
Jon Neudorf – Sea of Tranquility

Leon Alvarado Online

Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube | InstagramBlogger

Steve Hackett to Release Autobiography A Genesis In My Bed

July 2020 sees the publication of A Genesis In My Bed – the long-overdue autobiography from guitar great and former member of Genesis, Steve Hackett. As with his music, Steve has written a highly detailed, entertaining, and embracing tome that charts his life in full, but with a firm emphasis on his years with Genesis that saw the band’s meteoric rise to become one of the most successful British bands of all time.

Steve talks candidly about his early life, his time with Genesis, and in particular his personal relationships with the other four band members, with great insight into the daily goings-on of this major rock band.

Naturally, A Genesis In My Bed also regales stories of Steve’s career since leaving Genesis and the many different journeys that it has taken him on. With his flair for the creative and a great deal of levity, A Genesis In My Bed is also a riveting read. Indispensable for Genesis fans but also essential for general music lovers and avid readers of autobiographies full of heartfelt and emotive tales.

Steve says, “It’s often revealing. There’s lace, loves, and butterflies, and I explore personal feelings. I’ve answered many questions fans asked over the years too, such as why I left Genesis. It’s taken fifteen years to bring this book to fruition, writing between tours, recording, and legal challenges, but that’s given me time to really develop it.”
Here are some quotes from Steve taken from the book: 

On joining Genesis…He lifted his head and looked at me with a steely gaze… “You’ve heard of them, haven’t you?”Once again I was up against that invisible wall, aware I could either choose to sit there and give in or climb over it. But once over the wall, you can never go back. I knew there and then I was about to take a leap of faith into that new world and that my life was about to change for good. I was to board a spaceship to a new planet with a bunch of aliens. I emptied my glass, put it down, and walked out through the door into the sunshine, clutching that ticket to Mars.

On creating The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway…We were writing and recording at high intensity. The Lamb is a dense album with tons of detail. Everyone brimming over with ideas, the record was as packed with themes as Times Square is filled with people on a busy night, vocals suddenly abrasive like the horn of a New York fire truck. Forget sweet dreams… the drama unfolds day and night. The Lamb felt like a titanic adventure we were trying to survive… We struck icebergs but bravely lurched on into shark-infested, uncharted waters.

On leaving Genesis…Had I done the right thing? It was a big risk and a huge step into the unknown. I was leaving a world-class band that was by now filling arenas internationally. I had to trust in the power of my instinct and inspiration…

An anecdote about a border customs experience…On one occasion, after customs found some residual illegal substance left by a previous band in the car we’d hired, we were taken off into separate rooms. The customs guys were confrontational and aggressive, challenging me with large dogs as I stood there without my clothes on. Then suddenly an alarm startled these jumpy characters who swiftly pulled out their guns and spun around wildly, nostrils flaring…

A Genesis gig caught up in a revolution…The government was about to be overthrown the following day and it was like a tinderbox explosion! There was a riot outside the venue with guns and firecrackers going off and upturned army jeeps in the street. I heard there were fatalities. The gig was oversold. Pyramids of people clambering over each other were dangerously close to the balconies.

And of his current output, Steve says: “Musically, I’m proud of the most recent album ‘At The Edge Of Light’, with creative involvement from Roger and Jo, plus the most amazing musicianship from band members, orchestral players, singers and instrumentalists from the far pavilions and beyond…”

The launch of A Genesis In My Bed comes as Steve is locked down at home, as we all are, having had to abandon his US tour at short notice. “I’d never had to stop a tour halfway before… At least the gigs were postponed, so we will return!
“Being on the last flight from Philly to London brought to mind my song, ‘Last train to Istanbul’. We were lucky to get back home…

With our ‘Seconds Out’ tour plans, we still have something to look forward to beyond these dark times. We have every intention of playing as soon as venues are open again.”

Book Cover photo by Tina KorhonenGenesis photos by Armando Gallo
Available to Pre-order directly from the publisher & the artist:

https://www.wymeruk.co.uk/webshop/books/rock/genesis/a-genesis-in-my-bed/
https://store.hackettsongs.com

RRP: £19.99ISBN: 978-1-912782-38-3 Hardback: 234 X 156 mm, 192pp, plus 16 page photo section