We’ve got the debut album of a great new band launching today on waterfall. Many of you will know Jake Livgren who sings on this album from Jesus Christ: The Exorcist and The Dreamer – Joseph: Part 1 (and also part 2!)
The band, Emerald City Council is an American progressive rock band, formed in 2021 out of a recording project produced by saxophonist/keyboardist Brent Bristow. The band features vocalist Jake Livgren (Proto-Kaw, Kerry Livgren) and drummer Noah Hungate (The Band Perry, son of Toto’s David Hungate), along with Jeremy Nichols (Erin Coburn) on bass, and up and coming guitarist Seth Hankerson. Brandon Goff, Associate Professor of Music Industry at Francis Marion University, has also contributed significant guitar work as special collaborator to the band.
Bristow, Professor of Music at Arkansas State University-Beebe, began the project to record some of his original material, in which he wanted to feature the saxophone in a non-jazz context to show the versatility of the instrument. The rhythm section of Hungate, Nichols, and Hankerson clicked very quickly with impeccable musicianship, and Livgren’s range and versatility as a vocalist brought greater depth and meaning to the lyrics and melodies.
After hearing the early results of these sessions, Casey McPherson (Flying Colors, Alpha Rev) suggested that they move beyond merely recording together and actually form a band. Adopting Livgren’s suggested name of Emerald City Council, the band is eager to perform live shows in the near future!
You can hear their debut album, Motion Carries, streaming today along with lots more music from my and other artists catalogues.
If you aren’t yet a member, you can join at www.waterfallstreaming.com and if you’re an Inner Circle member you can get your subscription at a rock bottom price!
We got such a great reaction to the recent Inner Circle release of Spock’s Beard recording sessions and live video. We are delighted that everyone enjoyed seeing the early days of the band. While clearing out the vaults, we also found some of the original demos which were recorded for those early Spock’s albums which have never had an official release … until now!
We are delighted to release Spock’s Beard: The Demos 1995 – 2000, which includes 9 demos, mostly recorded by Neal, with tracks from the albums spanning from Beware of Darkness through to V. Hearing these tracks is hearing the songs as Al, Nick, Dave and Ryo first heard them when Neal shared them, and before they added their magic touch to the tracks. The discerning ear will hear variations and unfinished lyrics and will also notice some nuances that made the final versions that are absent in the demos.
The live footage also got us thinking about the Spock’s live albums which were some of the very first Radiant Records releases and that are largely out of print in physical form. We thought it would be cool to make those available to purchase as downloads for those who weren’t around in those early days. So we are officially releasing via our website: “The Official Live Bootleg (Progfest 1995)”, “Live At The Whisky And Nearfest” (a compilation of two live shows from 1999) and “Don’t Try This At Home – Complete!” (a 1999 show from the Day For Night tour recorded at the 013 in Tilburg, presented for the first time in the full running order).
But wait, there’s more …. the demos, plus the 3 live albums, will also be available in a discounted price download bundle that includes an exclusive additional demo of “The Healing Colors of Sound”, the epic track from the “Day For Night” album!
To get your free audio download of “Vanity Fair,” first pre-orderThe Neal Morse Band – The Great Adventure and then CLICK HERE(You will purchase the audio download for $0.00 and then follow the download instructions in the return email you receive from Radiant Records. Only those who have pre-ordered “The Great Adventure” will be able to download the singles.)
Back in 1995, a totally unknown quartet released their debut album. This was back in the days before the internet existed, and the mainstream hated prog, so it was actually incredibly hard to hear about new bands, especially from America unless they were signed to a label such as Kinesis who was getting publicity. But, pretty soon everyone involved in the underground scene in the UK knew who they were, and we’re talking about them. I remember going to a gig at Shepherd’s Bush, and afterward, everyone just seemed to be talking about this new band, and had anyone actually heard ‘The Light’? Martin Orford was incredibly excited that GEP had secured the European rights and the first time I played that album I was in awe.
From there on Spock’s Beard could do no wrong in my eyes or ears, as anyone reading Feedback at the time will attest to, as I was shouting from the rooftops that this was the best band I had ever heard out of America. I saw them every time they came to London, and each gig was better than the last. Then in 2002, they released ‘Snow’. At the time I was working on a project which involved me spending many hours in a car visiting different supermarkets each Thursday, which gave me the opportunity to blast this out at the correct volume in its entirety, and I was saying that the best band in the world had just released the finest album possible. Then it was announced that Neal Morse had left and that there would be no tour. I was in shock, and went through all the stages of grief (especially denial), as it just made no sense to me whatsoever. I mean, Gabriel went through with the Lamb tour didn’t he? But no, it was all over. The next time I saw Spock’s Beard they had California Guitar Trio as the initial support, followed by Enchant. They had a long time been a favorite band of mine, so I really enjoyed the set, but the same can’t be said to Spock’s Beard, and I left halfway through the gig. I was fortunate enough to catch Neal on the ‘Testimony’ tour, and it was like old times, but I accepted that the finest album released in the past 20 years would never be played at a concert.
Fast forward to Saturday,
July 2nd, 2016, at New Life Fellowship Church in Cross Plains, and the unthinkable happened. The current line-up of Spock’s Beard (Alan Morse, Ryo Okumoto, Dave Meros, Ted Leonard and Jimmy Keegan) was joined by Neal Morse and Nick D’Virgilio for one night only, and they performed ‘Snow’ in its entirety. Being performed in a church (as part of Morsefest) there was only ever going to be a small audience, so it was also recorded and filmed, and what I have here is the 2 DVD/2 CD set. There was no pressure on the band, all they had to do was perform the album note perfect for an audience that knew the words as well as they did, but also it was very much a one-off, never to be repeated. The first thing I did was play the DVDs so that I could then listen to the CDs knowing what was going on. I must state that I felt sorry for Ted Leonard through this whole performance, as although he was always onstage, and made valuable contributions, he was very much the third wheel. Having a second drummer made a lot of sense as it allowed Nick to be at the front when he needed to be, but Ted was raised on a small dais behind Alan and just didn’t look comfortable, which is a real shame as he is one of the best singers around, and I have always enjoyed his work.
But, tonight was all about Neal being back where many SB fans feel he totally belongs, front and center of the Beard, performing his songs. Not only was he the voice, but he also wrote the majority of the songs, and his ability to move between keyboards and guitar gave the band presence and ability they have missed without him there to provide it. Was it a brilliant performance of the album? Pretty much, it has to be said, and with an additional electric guitar from Leonard when the time was right, it added some crunch that would have been missed otherwise.
The DVD filming of the evening is also good, and the interplay between Jimmy and Nick is wonderful to see, especially in the duet on “Falling For Forever”, one of the only two in-‘Snow’ songs from the night (the other of course being “June”). The question and answer section was interesting, especially as Rich Mouser was involved. The “making of” was also really interesting, where they talk about the original recording and what had happened. I hadn’t realized that the combination of Nick being incredibly unwell and the falling of the Twin Towers had a major impact on the album, which was basically re-written due to that.
Anyway, if you have no idea what ‘Snow’ is about then this four-disc set isn’t the place to start, go and get the original instead. If you are already a fan then this is indispensable. ‘Nuff said.
Would you like to spend a week learning music composition, arranging, and audio recording with NEAL MORSE? The Radiant School is your opportunity to do just that!
Neal says: “We have had two Radiant School weeks over the last few years and they have been so cool! I have been astounded by the quality of people that have come to Nashville to join me in my studio for a week of creating together. I’m not sure right now which engineer is going to join us but it will be awesome I am sure. While I was on the Similitude tour last year, many people told me that they would like to be a part of the Radiant School, but they needed more notice. So, here you go!”
Each student will have a small space to set up their music workstations. Neal will demonstrate an example of how he composes and records. Then he will be listening to the participants and giving ideas as they compose and work together. Students will take turns coming into the tracking room with Neal and working on their music. Then we will spend some time recording some of the best music that is written. This will be determined by Neal. On the last day we will mix as much of the music as we can. (You are free to use any recordings from this class as you wish.)
When: Monday, July 23rd – Friday, July 27th Where: Radiant Studios in Cottontown, TN
Click here for more information on pricing and logistics.
SPACE IS EXTREMELY LIMITED! We are only accepting a small number of students, so secure your spot today.
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