This is the first album from The Minstrel’s Ghost since 2012 and is also planned to be the final release from the band as leader Blake Carpenter has decided it is time to move on. Blake provides some of the lead vocals, plus rhythm guitar and keyboards, and is again joined by Tony James Martin (bass, lead vocals). Jartse Tuominen has joined to provide lead guitar (which was provided by the much-missed Colin Tench on the last album), and drums this time are by Mark Troup (who also provides lead and harmony vocals). There is something missing from this album, as there is no real spark or vitality. There is nothing inherently awful about it, but it feels as if it is just meandering along waiting for an idea. It certainly doesn’t sound as if it is the third release by a band, and if I had been just given this without any information I would have expected it to have been a debut release by an unsigned band, as opposed to something on the mighty MRR.
Yes, it is a dark tale, but there are too many times when it feels contrived and false as if there was no real heart and soul, no emotional connection with what was being performed. It is an album which I have to say didn’t improve with repeated playing and is one I can’t imagine I will ever be returning to.
Hello, Blake thank you for doing this interview as Power of Prog has been following your music career for some time.
PoP: Tell us, who is Blake Carpenter
Blake: I am me Haha, no, I am just a person who lives for music or should I say lives because of music. Music is the heartbeat that keeps me and us alive.
PoP: How long have you been a professional musician, and what professional training have you had if any
Blake: Been creating original music for about 35 years, been pro (making pennies for playing) since the early ’90s. I have a few lessons on guitar under my belt but that is about it, I hate class.
PoP: What was the defining moment in your life that sparked the eternal flames to become a musician, and was it, anyone, we might know
Blake: When I was 4ish a neighbor in the apartments me and my mom lived in had a son in Vietnam, he had KISS albums and his mom would listen to them, me and my mom were there one day and she played Destroyer and I was hooked, I started singing then.
PoP: When did you release your first album and what was it called.
Blake: My first album was in a project called Naked At Birth with another guitarist, we were an acoustic duo and it was released on cassette in 1991
PoP: How was the experience of recording the first album vs. the new album Jack: A Different Tale
Blake: Oh my, the first album was in a basement studio in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and with friends in tow, all I had to do was show up and sing. The last album, Jack, was all done in my small makeshift studio or in the drummers house (recording the drums) and I had to mix and master it all and I am not sure I did it the same justice as I did with The Road To Avalon as I was and still am very disappointed about what happened with The Minstrel’s Ghost (TMG)
PoP: How many albums have you released thus far and which one are you the proudest of
Blake: Altogether I have one album out there, one with Naked At Birth, one with my band OGMA from the early 2000s, three Minstrel’s Ghost albums, one Voice of the Enslaved album one with Coalition, one with Jack Potter, one with The Petri Lindström Project and two with Corvus Stone. I would say I am most proud of The Road To Avalon as it is probably the best produced.
PoP: Why is The Road To Avalon so special to you
Blake: Again because The Road To Avalon is the best produced but also it is a story I love.
PoP: What’s the difference between fronting your own projects or fronting someone else’s
Blake: Fronting someone else’s project can be a blessing and a nightmare. A blessing since all I need to do is sing and perhaps write a few words, a nightmare because I may have to write a few words LOL
PoP: Name all the bands and projects and release that you have been part of till now
Blake: Naked At Birth, OGMA, The Minstrel’s Ghost, Corvus Stone, Coalition, Jack Potter, The Petri Lidström Project and oh yeah, Telergy, that was a very short speaking bit but really friggin cool album to be a part of.
PoP: What influence your song writing
Blake: Anything really, love, hate, war, politics, magical things, it just depends I guess on where my head is when I put pen to paper.
PoP: What is the story behind your latest release Jack: A Different Tale
Blake: It is a play on Jack the Ripper with a fictional back story about his growing up. I wrote it largely with my own childhood in mind but that is for another day.
PoP: Who are the musicians on the new album Jack: A Different Tale and what rol do they play
Blake: Troy James Martin on bass and vox on News, Mike Troupe on drums and vox on Born, Jartse Tuominen on lead guitar and myself on all other vox, keys and guitars.
PoP: We understand that Jack will be the final releases by TMG, is this true and why have you decided to close this chapter in your life
Blake: The end of TMG is not something I wanted but something that happened. We had a live band thing happening it was going great but as is often the case things went sour and after so much work that I put into it I was crushed emotionally, it let Jack sit for almost 3 years before I finished it and once I did I felt like I needed to let TMG go, at least for a while and definitely what it was, if the ghost is reborn it will be something completely different from what it was.
PoP: What’s been the most challenging obstacle for you as a musician
Blake: Releasing a physical product, I can never make enough cash to do it or do it right. The Road To Avalon was a fluke and caused some issues personally to get it done.
PoP: You often use many different musicians on your releases, how do you choose an artist to be on a particular album or song
Blake: Honestly, if they want to be on it and have the sound that fits then they are welcome, that is it. I am not a snob, you don’t have to be a virtuoso to play with me, I sure as hell am not one.
PoP: Name 10 albums that should be part of any serious record collection
Blake Answers: 1 XANADU – Soundtrack 2 STYX – Paradise Theater 3 Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon 4 The Smiths – Strangeways Here We Come 5 Loreena McKennitt – The Visit 6 INXS – KICK 7 KISS – ALIVE 8 David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars 9 The Cure – Disintegration 10 Any Vangelis album
PoP: What was the last album you listened to
Blake: Omnia – Pagan Folk
PoP: Word has it you love and collect vinyl, what’s your Holy Grail, the one LP that you have always wanted
Blake: I have Xanadu and KISS Alive, I would just like to get all the rest of the KISS albums on vinyl, I only have 9.
PoP: It’s been said that vinyl has a warmer sound, I don’t subscribe to that. So my question to you is, how would you describe listening experience between Vinyl and Digital including CDs, and Downloads
Blake: Everyone has different thoughts on that, music is music, as long as I can listen to it and it is clear. I like the feel of vinyl, the size of the art and the smell. I also love cassettes and I am building that collection. CD’s I can take or leave.
PoP: Describe what success means to you, not as a musician but as a person
Blake: Success is what you make of your life and what you leave behind. In the end, are you proud of what you have achieved should be your last question to yourself
PoP: If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your warm up act
Blake: Red RocksAmphitheatre in Colorado and I would be just fine warming up for U2, Stevie Nicks a close second, U2 is probably the best show ever put on at Red Rocks and was my introduction to the venue and Stevie Nicks concert there was awesome too.
PoP: You are known as a multi-instrumentalist, what instruments do you play, and which one gives you the most joy
Blake: I play guitar, mandolin, bass, keyboards, tin whistle, recorder, harmonica, bodhran, djembe, I have a set of bagpipes but need to get em cleaned up and reeds put in, and I would love a bouzouki but I guess voice is my main and can give me the most joy cause I do not need anything but myself to play it.
PoP: You are working on the 2nd Voice of the Enslaved (VotE) release, what can you tell us about this project and release
Blake: If I can get it done (all my studio computers have shit the bed) it will be anti nuclear anything cause that shit is the end of all.
PoP: What musicians will be involved in the new VotE album
Blake: Petri Lindström will be filling the bass position again, I will be doing drums, keys, and voice and I am still not sure about guitars.
PoP: How has the music landscape changed since you have become a professional musician
Blake: As far as I am concerned it has gotten tougher, not easier as some would lead you to believe. Although a musician no longer needs a label the competition and cost have increased 1000 fold.
PoP: Did MTV kill the radio star, or is it the ease that anyone can obtain music on the internet in a matter of a moment or two
Blake Answers: MTV made radio stars, without MTV nearly every band from the ’80s would have never made it the way they did
PoP: What advice would you give to the next generation of future musicians
Blake Answers: Don’t, hahaha, just kidding. Work hard play hard and know that it is gonna suck for a long time before it doesn’t suck so much
PoP: Do you have a mailing list where fans and voyeursof information can sign up too
Blake: If you go to blakecarpenter.com there is a sign-up form there for my newsletter, it will cover any project I am working on and other stuff too.
PoP: In closing I want to thank you for taking time to do this interview with us, do you have anything that you would like people to know that we did not talk about
Blake: Well, thanks for the interview, it was a pleasure. I can say I am working on a couple of other projects besides VotE. One will be a solo BLAKE thing and the other is something called Max Nova which may or may not go out as a BLAKE thing, till then….get out into the woods to listen to and smell life
Colin Tench best known for his work with Corvus Stone to releases new album “Hair in a G-String (Unfinished but Sweet)” as a solo album under the name Colin Tench Project
Hair in a G-String (Unfinished but Sweet) is available for pre-order and the albums release date is November 30th
According to Tench
“Hair in a G-String” could be labeled Prog before there was Prog. Split this into the written piece “Hair in a G-String” (about 46 minutes) & “Songs not in G” (About 36 minutes) and you’d have a prog album and a melodic rock album I guess. We didn’t do that. We mixed it up. See it as musical interludes between the main action.
Hair in a G-String (Unfinished but Sweet) Track Listing
1. Hair in a G-String part 1 (The opening) 06:25
2. Can’t See it Any Other Way 04:36
3. Hair in a G-String part 2 (The Hairy Part) 06:04
4. The Mad yeti 02:54
5. The Sad Brazilian 07:19
6. And so, Today 04:11
7. Hair in a G-String part 3 (I’m Going Down) 10:09
16. Bonus Track: Liza’s Waltz with full orchestral arrangements 04:23
Colin Tench Project Colin Tench: Guitars, Piano, Synthesisers, Drum Programming (Corvus Stone, Coalition, The Minstrel’s Ghost, Andy John Bradford’s Oceans 5, BunChakeze, Odins of London)
Peter Jones: Vocals, Saxophone (Tiger Moth Tales) Steve Gresswell: Piano, Keyboards, Percussion (Coalition) Petri Lindström: Bass guitar (Progeland, Corvus Stone, Petri Lindström Project) Stef Flaming: Percussion, Keyboards, Bass Guitar (Murky Red, Andy John Bradford’s Oceans 5) Phil Naro: Vocals (DDRIVE, Unified Past, King Friday) Oliver Rusing: Drums, Percussion (Karibow) Stephen Speelman: Bass (Unified Past) Gordon Bennett: Orchestra, Shaving String Section, Horns, Basses Angelo Hulshout: Fretless Bass Ian Beabout: Flute David Knokey: Rhythm Guitar Gary Derrick: Bass guitar (BunChakeze, Odins of London) Marco Chiappini: Piano (Gandalf’s Project, Andy John Bradford’s Oceans 5) Victor Tassone: Drums (Unified Past) Jay Theodore McGurrin: Drums Robert Wolff: Drums (Corvus Stone) Pasi Koivu: Synthesisers, Organ (Corvus Stone) Sean Filkins: Tamborine (formerly of Big Big Train) Gary Hodges: Drums (Buckingham Nicks) Kelly Brown: Keyboards (Ozark Mountain Daredevils) Tina Sibley (Springfield Symphony) Kirsten Weingartner (Springfield Symphony) Ned Horner (Springfield Symphony) Aleksis Zarins (Springfield Symphony)
Melodic Revolution Records is Celebrating its 10th year anniversary as a record label, and they have just released a press release called “A Celebration – 10 Years of Melodic Revolution Records” (Press Release) In the press release they thank music fans for supporting the labels artist. Thus the label have put together a whopper of a Digital Album and is offering it for a limited time as a Free Download it will only be available for seven days.
The digital album features 80 tracks which equates to over 7 hours of Music.
Featured artist include:
Echoes Landing, Laurie Larson, DDRIVE, J-Zohar, Alyshen, ifsounds, Scarlet Hollow, Cary Clouser, Vitriol, 24k, Jim Crean, Insites, When Friends Come Out to Play,Unified Past, Solstice Coil, Morre, MandalaBand, Aethellis, Don Mancuso,Capricia, Paul D’Adamo,The Minstrel’s Ghost, Kracked Earth,The Room, Halo, King Friday, Hellhaven, Corvus Stone,Anuryzm, Transcend, Oceans of Time, Roads to Damascus, Murky Red, Transport Aerian, Amadeus Awad, Andy John Bradford’s Oceans 5, Luigi Milanese, AzaZello, Sunshine & Bullets, Morpheus Rising, Thoughts Factory, Peter Matuchniak, Marco Ragni, Ellsworth Hall, Backhand, Leon Alvarado, Voice of the Enslaved, Progeland, Drastic Fall, Time Horizon, Kinetic Element, Gekko Projekt, Darrel Treece-Birch, Port Mahadia, Petri Lindström Project and Nth Ascension
Coalition last released a CD album in 2011. Since then there has been a line-up change, with Blake Carpenter (The Minstrels Ghost, Voice of The Enslaved) writing the lyrics and providing all the vocals and Colin Tench (Corvus Stone, CTP) providing his unique style of guitars. It’s been a long time coming but this album is definitely worth the wait….!!!!
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