Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Steeleye Span Founder Tim Hart Dead From Lung Cancer

by Paul Cashmere - December 27 2009

Steeleye Span founder Tim Hart has died at the age of 61 from lung cancer.

Hart was diagnosed 12 months ago in December 2008 and told the cancer was inoperable.

Tim Hart formed his first band Rattfinks while he was still at St Albans High School. The school also generated another famous band, The Zombies.

In 1970, Hart formed Steeleye Span with Maddy Prior. The group regularly toured the United States and Australia.

Hart’s first solo album came in 1979. Prior contributed vocals to the record.

In 1988, Hart’s health declined and he gave up music to become a writer and photographer.

He was persuaded to perform again in 1995 for the charity War Child. He was part of a five hour performance that featured almost every previous member of Steeleye Span.

In 2008, he once again reunited with Prior for a one-off performance for BBC’s Electric Proms.

Tim Hart died in the early morning of December 24, 2009.

Vocalist Fish Has Throat Operation


Published Date: 26 December 2009
ROCKER Fish is enjoying a peaceful Christmas and is set for a quiet six months ahead – following an operation on his throat.

The former Marillion frontman, who lives in Haddington, East Lothian, is recovering after the operation to repair scar tissue, which has crippled his voice.

He has been advised by doctors not to sing for the next few months following the operation earlier this week.

Fish, whose real name is Derek Dick, said his health problems had worsened after performing at gigs this summer. He has already been forced to cancel radio broadcasts in the last few weeks, to limit damage to his vocal chords.

The singer took a break from performing following a throat cancer scare last December.

He sought medical advice after finding he was unable to reach the high notes on a 130-gig world tour.

Although his fears were unfounded, doctors discovered a benign growth of scar tissue on his vocal chords. This left his voice sounding "ragged" and "hoarse" and prone to wearing out quickly when he was talking.

Fish told the News: "The operation went well, no concerns. Now is a quiet time."

And, in a message to his fans, posted on his website, he wrote: "My throat sounds really painful but actually it isn't.

"The scar tissue on my chords has built up rather like a callous and although not sore is making its presence felt.

"I think I did far too much in the summer before I was fully ready to return. It feels as if I have a pea on my chords that keeps on instigating me to clear my throat. Thus the hoarseness.

"It's frustrating, annoying, uncomfortable and sometimes depressing as any excessive talking wears my voice out very quickly. It will be a quiet Christmas for me this year!"

The father-of-one will be spending the festive season with his new wife Katie Webb, a sports physiotherapist, who he married in May. He said that he would be taking six months out from singing, and would concentrate on writing his as-yet untitled autobiography, which is set to be a "warts and all" account of his life and 30 years in the music industry.

He has already completed more than two chapters, and has been researching his family history.

He added: "Apart from all that, life moves on and although it's pretty quiet on the music front.

"Plans are beginning to take shape for events later next year that will more than make up for this enforced silence just now."

Page 1 of 1

Last Updated: 26 December 2009 11:54 AM
Source: Edinburgh Evening News
Location: Edinburgh

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mahogany Frog To Play Progday 2010


ProgDay is pleased to present Canadian proggers MAHOGANY FROG as our first band announcement for 2010.

MAHOGANY FROG was formed in 1998 when GRAHAM EPP (guitar, keyboards, trumpet) and JESSE WARKENTIN (guitar, keyboards) joined forces with NATHAN LOWEWEN (bass). With a shared interest in loud, psychedelic/experimental music, MAHOGANY FROG began to explore the basis of their sound and often coordinated functions at various halls, venues and cafes that created intense atmospheres with the use of film projection, interactive installations, performance art and an uninhibited spectrum of music.

Their first album was released in 2001. Since then the band has released four other recordings of their genre-defying mix of psyche, prog, jazz and electronica, and has continued to expand their musical direction and outlook. "Do5," the band's most recent release, has been hailed as their most complex and eclectic release to date.

The music of MAHOGANY FROG can be both challenging and soothing to the listener. Stabbing riffs using unusual notes and time signatures often dissolve into lush electro-soundscapes, and straightforward, rhythmic interludes can merely lay the foundation for syncopated counter-melodies or sound effects. The orchestration of the instruments can be unorthodox at times, using complex modal progressions or phrases as a basis for experimentations in arrangement, and the rhythm and lead sections trade roles quickly and often.

Considered to be one of the best bands to come out of Canada in recent years, ProgDay is happy to host their first festival appearance in the United States.

ProgDay is the longest running progressive rock festival in the world. ProgDay 2010 will take place on Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5 at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For more information, and to hear music from this year's bands, please visit us at

News Bytes For December

  • Dave Kerman (drummer for 5UU's, Present, Ahvak, Thinking Plague) will join the Belgian chamber music group Aranis in 2010, playing on their forthcoming fourth album and touring with them in Europe. The first performance of this line-up will be in De Singel (Antewerpen) the 27th of March 2010.
  • The band Asia is pleased to announce that they are currently recording their second reunion studio album and the follow-up to 2008's acclaimed "Phoenix" album. The legendary Roger Dean is onboard to design the cover artwork, while the renowned Mike Paxman is in the producer's chair. The album is due for completion in mid-February, so keep an eye on the official Asia website for more details!
  • Cuneiform Records has announced its upcoming January 2010 release list featuring: Radio Massacre International - Time & Motion; Algernon - Ghost Surveillance; Univers Zero - Clivages; New York Art Quartet - Old Stuff; Brown vs Brown - Odds and Unevens
  • GENESIS will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year, the Hall of Fame Foundation has announced.
  • Porcupine Tree's The Incident finished in the #1 position in the GlobalProgressive Rock Network's Top 100 of 2009. This was the 2nd straight Porcupine Tree release that was voted #1 by the programs listeners around the world.
  • The band Yang has just released its new album "Machines", self produced as the previous one "a complex nature" which was released by Cuneiform Records in 2004. It is distributed by Wayside Music in U.S.A., Musea in France, and is available:
  • It has been recently reported on David Minasian's site that Andrew Latimer of Camel is recovering well, and getting back to work. David is currently producing two projects with Andy: A forthcoming DVD of Camel's Farewell Tour recorded in Santa Cruz, California in 2003, and Minasian's forthcoming release as well. For more info check out the blog at: It's also noted that Andrew may be performing some concerts dates.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

DREAM THEATER Announces South American Tour Dates Announced

Progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER will embark on a tour of South America in March. Confirmed dates are as follows:

March 11 - Santiago, Chile - Movistar Arena
March 13 - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Luna Park
March 16 - Porto Alegre, Brazil - Pepsi On Stage
March 18 - Curitiba, Brazil - Master Hall
March 19 - Sao Paulo, Brazil - Credicard Hall
March 20 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Citibank Hall
March 22 - Lima, Peru - Jockey Club
March 24 - Caracas, Venezuela - Poliedro

DREAM THEATER's new documentary road video for their new single "Wither" from their tenth studio release, "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" (Roadrunner) can be viewed below.

"Of the 10 videos we've done through the years, I felt we have never been truly captured 'in our element...which of course is on tour, playing to our fans, with our lighting and video show. So I thought it was time to do a video that showed us in our 'real world' (unlike the 'fake worlds' that are usually created when shooting a promo video)," said DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy.

Directed by Ramon Boutviseth, who did the same honors for the first clip for the album's first single "A Rite Of Passage", the "Wither" video was shot on location in the U.K. (London, Manchester), France (Paris, Lille) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands) as part of DREAM THEATER's September/October 2009 headlining "Progressive Nation" tour reaching 15 countries.

2009 continues to be a watermark year for DREAM THEATER — James LaBrie (vocals), John Myung (bass), John Petrucci (guitar, vocals), Mike Portnoy (drums, percussion, vocals) and Jordan Rudess (keyboards, Continuum) — as a recording act and touring powerhouse. They achieved a #1 debut on the Billboard European chart and 12 Top Ten album chart debuts around the world including the U.S. with "Black Clouds & Silver Linings", a highlight of their 25-year career. They were also honored with the "Spirit Of Prog" achievement award at the 2009 Classic Rock Awards in London (November 2).


Friday, December 18, 2009

Announcing Mellodrama, the Mellotron Movie coming to DVD



“Surprisingly fascinating.” –Philadelphia Weekly

“A study in the unpredictability of innovation.” – Rhizome

“An insider’s view on the history of the Chamberlin and the Mellotron, which isn’t always pretty.” – Echoes

“The Mellotron stays cool.” – Brian Wilson

“This is where sampling started.” – Jon Brion

Bazillion Points Publishing is delighted to announce the long-awaited DVD release of the acclaimed and unusual music documentary,
Mellodrama: The Mellotron Movie, by Dianna Dilworth, coming January 2010 in NTSC Region 0 format packed with bonus features in a deluxe Digipak.

Mellodrama explores the five-decades-long rise and fall of the Chamberlin and its better-known successor the Mellotron—the first musical keyboards to play the prerecorded sounds of other instruments. Essentially the first sampler, its haunting sound has changed the production and texture of popular music, from the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” and the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin,” to Radiohead’s OK Computer and Kanye West’s “Gold Digger.”

Featuring Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues, Ian McDonald of King Crimson, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, famed L.A. producer Jon Brion, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, singer-songwriter Michael Penn, author Brian Kehew, (Recording the Beatles), as well as members of Opeth, Bigelf, Maroon 5, and former employees of the Mellotron and Chamberlin companies. While the musicians tell their tales, the engineers and experts deliver the gear porn by taking you inside the captivating contraption.

Mellodrama screened at over a dozen festivals throughout the world in 2009, including the CMJ Film Festival in New York, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Documenta Madrid, Portobello Film Festival in London, Atlantic Film Festival in Canada, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Indie Memphis, Tucson Film and Music Festival, and was specially programmed by Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))) at the Lausanne Underground Film Festival in Switzerland.

“While everybody knows the sound of the instruments, most people have never heard of the Mellotron or the Chamberlin,” says director Dianna Dilworth. “I hope Mellodrama will change that.”

Mellodrama: The Mellotron Movie DVD includes the 80 minute film, 30 minutes of DVD extras, and an 8-page booklet containing an essay by Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues and several illustrated machine timelines. Preorders are now available at this location:

TRANSATLANTIC 'Whirld Tour 2010' Dates Announced

TRANSATLANTIC — the progressive rock supergroup featuring DREAM THEATER's Mike Portnoy, MARILLION's Pete Trewavas, THE FLOWER KINGS' Roine Stolt and Neal Morse (ex-SPOCK'S BEARD) — will play its first shows in almost a decade in April/May 2010.

"An Evening With Transatlantic Whirld Tour 2010" dates:

Apr. 17 - Downey, CA - The Downey Theater
Apr. 18 - San Francisco, CA - The Palace Of Fine Arts
Apr. 20 - Chicago, IL - Park West
Apr. 21 - Montreal, QUE - Metropolis
Apr. 23 - New York City - The Blender Theater at Gramercy
Apr. 24 - Philadelphia, PA - Theater Of The Living Arts
May 04 - Frankfurt, Germany - Batschkapp
May 05 - Hamburg, Germany - Markthalle
May 06 - Poznan, Poland - Hala Arena
May 07 - Berlin, Germany - Columbia Club
May 08 - Cologne, Germany - Live Music Hall
May 09 - Stuttgart, Germany - Longhorn
May 10 - Esch/Alzette, Luxembourg - Rockhal
May 13 - Madrid, Spain - Macumba
May 14 - Barcelona, Spain - Razzmatazz 2
May 17 - Milan, Italy - Alcatraz
May 18 - Pratteln, Switzerland - Z7
May 19 - Paris, France - Elysee Montmartre
May 20 - Tilburg, Holland - 013
May 21 - London, England - Shepherd's Bush Empire
May 22 - Manchester, England - Academy

TRANSATLANTIC release its long-awaited third album in October.

"The Whirlwind" is described in a press release as "a 77-minute piece of music that is sure to satisfy the band's legions of fans that have patiently waited almost the entire decade for the reunion of these four musicians."

"The Whirlwind" is available in two formats:

* A regular-edition single CD of the entire 77-minute epic as well as a 2-CD special edition containing a bonus disc with eight newly recorded studio tracks (four new TRANSATLANTIC compositions and four cover songs)

The track listing for the special edition is as follows:

Disc One:

The Whirlwind

Disc Two:

01. Spinning
02. Lenny Johnson
03. For Such A Time
04. Lending A Hand
05. The Return Of The Giant Hogweed (GENESIS)
06. A Salty Dog (PROCOL HARUM)
08. Soul Sacrifice (SANTANA)


Thursday, December 10, 2009

KATAGORY V Rejoined By Guitarist MARC HANSON

Utah-based progressive/power metal band KATAGORY V has parted ways with guitarist Darrin Goodman. Bassist/songwriter Dustin Mitchell states, "shortly after completing [the] pre-production sessions [for the next KATAGORY V album], Darrin had decided that due to personal obligations outside of the band, that it would be both in his and the band's best interest to leave KATAGORY V."
"Rest assured this slight personnel change will not undermine the band's current progress. Returning to KATAGORY V to help with the live aspect of the band, as well as possibly participating on the new album, is former guitarist Marc Hanson, who appeared on the band's last two efforts, 'The Rising Anger' and 'Hymns of Dissension'.
"Marc and I got together recently and talked about KATAGORY V past and present and enjoyed a bit of nostalgia, jammed a few riffs ideas and old songs, and then I let him listen to the new KATAGORY V material. It was at this point that he expressed extreme interest in participating in KATAGORY V once again.
"Although Marc's current band SUPERSOFAR (which also featured Jonni Lightfoot of STARBREAKER) keeps him rather busy; he has decided the time is right, and agreed to come back to KATAGORY V and shred once again!
"The guitar chemistry between Marc and Kris [Krompel] is absolutely amazing, and is sure to bring the live aspect of the band up several notches.
"I'm sure it is becoming very cumbersome and frustrating for everyone out there, especially for myself, being that there is still no new material on display or even a new album after two years, and the revolving door of guitarists seems to keep spinning and hindering the progress. However, that is not the case now. Pre-production is, in fact, complete, we will be playing live at the beginning of the year, we will start tracking the new album in March 2010, and… we will be uploading and posting clips of new KATAGORY V songs, as well as revealing the title of the new album in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!"
KATAGORY V's most recent album, "Hymns of Dissension", was released in September 2007 in Europe through Burning Star Records and in October 2007 in the U.S. on Nightmare Records.

Fjieri's Debut Album To Feature Barbieri & Harrison Of Porcupine Tree

10 years in the making, Fjieri's debut album Endless represents the satisfying conclusion to a meticulously executed labour of love. The band, led by Stefano Panunzi and Nicola Lori, are joined by an impressive cast of guest musicians, including Mick Karn, Tim Bowness (No-Man) and Porcupine Tree members, Gavin Harrison and Richard Barbieri.

Co-produced by Barbieri, the album artfully combines Ambient and Progressive Rock influences to create a sophisticated sound that incorporates delicate atmospherics, rich melodies, looping rhythms and hard-hitting riffs. Recalling aspects of Rain Tree Crow, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Eno, King Crimson and No-Man, Endless is a powerful debut statement from an Italian band in the ascendant.

Endless is now available from

Excerpts from the album can be heard on the band's MySpace site ( ).

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Steve & John Hackett To Cameo On New Algebra Concept Album

Steve and John Hackett will have cameos on "JL", the forthcoming album of the band Algebra. The soon to be released recording is a concept album dedicated to the book "Jonathan Livingston Seagull". While the lyrics of "JL" are in Italian, all of the liner notes will be in English.
The album features 20 new songs lasting nearly one hour and will come as a deluxe digipack. Fans of Italian prog rock will notice a few legendary Italian vocalists: Aldo Tagliapietra of Le Orme and Lino Vairetti of Osanna. Graziano Romani, who sang "Looking For Someone" on the first ever Genesis tribute album "The River Of Constant Change", also does the lead vocals on a track as well.
More info here:
You can find the track listing and an Algebra bio in English at:

Eric Woolfson Dies At 64


Eric Woolfson, who has died aged 64, helped to create the best-selling Seventies rock concept band The Alan Parsons Project (APP) which released 10 albums and sold some 45 million copies.

Never a conventional band, the APP was designed to make records in the way that Kubrick or Hitchcock made films, with production values rather than star names always paramount. Woolfson and Alan Parsons himself were the permanent core partnership, with countless guest musicians coming and going during recording sessions – the APP never played live.
The multi-talented Woolfson was lead singer, songwriter and lyricist, executive producer and pianist, but – with a modesty not often found in the industry – was adamant the band should not bear his name.
It was therefore named after its co-founder who, as a recording engineer with experience of working with the Beatles and Pink Floyd, took more of a backroom role on the mixing desk. Tracks from their albums became hits in their own right, including Time and Eye in the Sky.
The pair sometimes disagreed about what material to record, and eventually split up in 1990 when Woolfson moved into writing for the musical stage. His debut production Freudiana was a hit, but plans to tour the show became mired in a lawsuit between Woolfson and the producer Brian Brolly, who had helped him develop the project. Woolfson lost.
The show, inspired by the works of Sigmund Freud, which his wife, Hazel, had been studying for a psychology course, showed off Woolfson's ability to absorb the most complex of ideas or melodies and convert them into something comprehensible and popular. Remarkably, he made his mark as a composer without ever being able to write music.
In the 1980s Woolfson was a leading supporter of the Social Democratic Party. His first offer of assistance was made in a letter from his solicitor to Shirley Williams, stating an unnamed client would like to offer financial support if this would be useful; it was welcomed and he became one of the party's trustees.
Through his support for the SDP, Woolfson became a personal friend of Dr David Owen and his wife, and when the party split in 1987 over whether to merge with the Liberals Woolfson sided with Dr (now Lord) Owen, becoming, with David (now Lord) Sainsbury, a trustee of the continuing SDP. After it was wound up in 1990 he took no further part in politics.
Eric Woolfson was born into a Jewish family in Glasgow on March 18 1945. Inspired by a musical uncle, he taught himself the piano and after a short, unsuccessful spell in chartered accountancy, drifted to London.
Eventually finding work as a session pianist with musicians including Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones (who went on to form Led Zeppelin), Woolfson engineered a meeting with the Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Having been kept waiting for four hours, Woolfson played one of his own songs to Oldham who stood up, screamed "You're a f****** genius" and signed him to a publishing deal on the spot. Artists such as Marianne Faithfull and Frank Ifield recorded his work, and one of his songs, Baby Make It Soon, became the B-side of Chris Farlowe's chart-topping single Out of Time (1966).
Woolfson briefly joined Herman's Hermits as guest pianist and worked as an independent record producer with Dave Berry, the Equals, and the Tremeloes, before turning to artist management. His first two clients were the singer Carl Douglas, who had found chart success with Kung Fu Fighting, and Alan Parsons, whom he had met during a session at EMI's Abbey Road studios.
With Parsons, Woolfson formed The Alan Parsons Project, and resurrected an earlier idea to make an album inspired by the work of Edgar Allan Poe, of whom he was a lifelong admirer. The band's first album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Edgar Allan Poe, was released in 1976.
Despite its lumbering title, it was to prove the couple's masterwork. It took a year to produce, drew on the musical talents of a cast of hundreds, and was followed by nine more albums.
Four years after Freudiana premiered in Vienna in 1990, Woolfson released Gaudi, about the Spanish architect. For his third musical, Gambler, Woolfson drew on his experiences of living in Monte Carlo in the late 1970s. It did particularly well in Korea, where it won several Tony awards.
His 2007 musical Dancing Shadows, inspired by a Korean play, was also premiered in Asia, and his last production Poe was staged in Berlin earlier this year. Some of the classic APP albums, digitally remastered and expanded, have recently been re-released.
Eric Woolfson, who died on December 1, is survived by his wife and their two daughters.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

From the Archives of Bob Moog: A Photo Retrospective Calendar for 2010

Asheville, NC - The Bob Moog Foundation has created a calendar celebrating the rich history of the Moog Legacy through vintage photos, memorabilia, quotes and information taken directly from Bob’s archive. The photos trace pivotal moments in Bob’s early career and highlight many musicians and pioneers who inspired his work. Throughout the calendar, which is laden with images of early Moog instruments, Bob’s thoughts and philosophies about his work are shared in an effort to give greater understanding to his history and path; his was one of collaboration, listening and absolute dedication to musician’s needs.
The calendar includes five vintage photos of Moog himself, taken from 1958-1974. The remaining photos are of his mentors and collaborators:
Leon Theremin
Vladimir Ussachevsky
Herb Deutsch
Keith Emerson
Paul Beaver and Bernie Krause
Isao Tomita
Joel Chadabe
Roger Powell

Mark Vail, well-known synthesizer historian and author of Vintage Synthesizers proclaims:

“What a beautiful, informative, and intricately detailed document the 2010 Bob Moog Foundation Calendar is! The rarely — if ever before — seen photos are outstanding, so much so that in 2011 I may extract and frame many of them for my studio walls. On second thought, the calendar as a whole will end up in my archives; I promise no scissors will ever touch it. Also extremely cool and drool-worthy are the Moog Modular images in the background. Well done! I can hardly wait for the 2011 edition.”

The calendar was designed by Asheville-based graphics artist
Rose Hecht in collaboration with the Bob Moog Foundation. Through her designs, Rose pays homage to the original Moog modular synthesizer as the instrument that spawned an industry and radically changed the face of popular music. The background of every page touts panels of knobs and patchbays — images taken from photos of an early modular that was used in Moog’s shop in the 60s. That instrument is one of the many priceless items in Moog’s archives.
The calendar is available for purchase for $20.00 on the Bob Moog Foundation's
online store. All proceeds go to funding our ongoing projects, including the preservation of Bob's historical and extensive archives, creating a Moogseum in Asheville, NC.

InsideOut Music Signs Aspera To Label

InsideOut Music has announced the signing of the progressive metal band ASPERA to a worldwide deal. The group's debut album, "Ripples", is scheduled for release on January 25, 2010.

These five aspiring musicians from Skien, Norway, are truly what can be described as "youngsters" and "newcomers," being just 20 years of age (all born in the last quarter of the year 1989!) and even only 18-19 years old whilst producing "Ripples".

The name ASPERA is taken from Latin and stands for "thorns" or "rugged ground," which describes the band's complex and colorful sound in an appropriate way.

Despite their young individual age, ASPERA have gathered previous experience under the band name ILLUSION and shared stages in their native Norway with bands like PAGAN'S MIND, CIRCUS MAXIMUS and AUDREY HORNE and most recently also debuting internationally as support band for former NIGHTWISH vocalist Tarja Turunen on two shows in Spain and one in Switzerland.

ASPERA cite acts like PAIN OF SALVATION, PAGAN'S MIND, SYMPHONY X, DREAM THEATER and EVERGREY as common favorites and stylistic influences and the band's debut full-length album "Ripples" was mixed and mastered at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden by Jens Bogren, who has previously produced bands such as OPETH, PARADISE LOST, HAMMERFALL and SYMPHONY X. Bogren was obviously impressed by the potential of the young musicians and comments on "Ripples" as follows: "The debut album from ASPERA is one of the best progressive metal albums I've heard in a looong time! Since 1992, to be exact! It was an honor helping the band getting the album the way they deserve."

Based on the strength of "Ripples", the band had been approached by a number of labels but it was what InsideOut Music had to say that interested them the most.

"The deal they offered us was perfect," comments vocalist Atle. "It showed that their ideas for the band matched our goals and aspirations, and it was exactly the deal we wanted." "And we're big fans of InsideOut," adds guitarist Robin. "Look at the calibre of artists they've got! It's a great label, we've always wanted to work with them, and they made us an offer we literally couldn't refuse. It's a great opportunity for us as a band."

"It's important to have the right partners to launch a new band," says ASPERA's manager Manuela Froehlich. "The knowledge, expertise and support of a label like InsideOut is exactly what ASPERA need to be able to realize their true potential."

"Ripples" consists of 10 extremely well-composed and varied tracks, wrapped in a dynamic and a powerful production.

"Ripples" track listing:

01. Intro

02. Ripples

03. Do I Dare?

04. Remorse

05. Between Black & White

06. Catatonic Coma

07. Torn Apart

08. Traces Inside

09. Reflections

10. The Purpose

ASPERA lineup:

Robin Ognedal - Guitar

Nickolas Main Henriksen - Keyboards

Atle Pettersen - Vocals

Joachim Strøm Ekelund - Drums

Rein T. Blomquist - Bass

News Bytes For November 2009

  • Roger Waters has decided, at least as of now, to do The Wall and bring it on tour in 2010-2011 . Word is as of now, that 8 cities may host it, but per the source, it could change.
  • On November 10th, Greg Lake will launch is new website at the link of Greg will also have a live chat SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15th AT 5PM Eastern Time.
  • Umphrey's McGee has released "Cover It!", a double disc set of Umphrey's McGee covers from the last few years, featuring music from Pink Floyd, Genesis, Steely Dan and many others.
  • The band Quarkspace has just released a FREE download documenting a Quarkspace live show from the Summer of 2000 in Worcester MA. You can download it at
  • Univers Zero is due to release a new album titled "Clivages"
  • Florida progressive band Cynic is currently working on a new EP that will include reinterpretations of 4 songs off Traced in Air (The Space for This, Evolutionary Sleeper, Integral Birth, King of Those Who Know), and 1 totally new song.
  • Seattle band Moraine were announced to kick off day 2 of NEARfest 2010 on the Gagliarchives 11/7/09
  • Progressive Ears celebrates its 10th year as a mecca for progressive rock lovers online around the world.
  • Pendragon have been confirmed for Rosfest 2010
  • Pim Koopman, drummer of Kayak unexpectedly passed Monday morning, November 23, 2009, at the age of 56. GPRN sends it condolences. For more information, their site is at
  • Michelle Moog was recently featured on the Matrix Synth blog to spotlight her father's creation, the Moog Voyager:
  • Australian band Unitopia is to perform at ROSFest 2010

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

STRATOVARIUS: Support Acts Announced For European Tour

Finnish melodic metallers STRATOVARIUS have announced the support acts for their forthcoming European headlining tour, which is scheduled to kick off on January 7 in Bochum, Germany. They are as follows:


Jan. 07 - Zeche - Bochum [DE]
Jan. 08 - Hof ter Lo - Antwerp [BE]
Jan. 09 - Melkweg - Amsterdam [NL]
Jan. 10 - Garage - London [UK]
Jan. 12 - Elysee - Paris [FR]
Jan. 13 - Le Bikini - Toulouse [FR]
Jan. 15 - La Riviera - Madrid [ES]
Jan. 16 - Rockstar Live - Bilbao [ES]
Jan. 17 - Razzmatazz 1 - Barcelona [ES]
Jan. 19 - Transbordeur - Lyon [F]
Jan. 20 - Z7 - Pratteln [CH]
Jan. 21 - Alcatraz - Milan [IT]


Jan. 23 - SKC - Belgrad [RS]
Jan. 24 - Hristo Botev Hall - Sofia [BG]
Jan. 26 - Petöfi Hall - Budapest [HU]
Jan. 27 - Szene - Vienna [AT]
Jan. 28 - PKO - Bratislava [SK]
Jan. 29 - Masters of Rock - Zlin [CZ]


Jan. 30 - Backstage - München [DE]
Feb. 01 - Longhorn - Stuttgart [DE]
Feb. 02 - Garage - Saarbrücken [DE]
Feb. 03 - Markthalle - Hamburg [DE]
Feb. 04 - The Rock - Copenhagen [DK]
Feb. 06 - Mejeriet - Lund [SE]
Feb. 07 - Trädgarn - Gothenburg [SE]
Feb. 08 - Rockefeller - Oslo [NO]
Feb. 09 - Tyrol - Stockholm [SE]

"Polaris", the new album from STRATOVARIUS, landed at position No. 57 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

"Polaris" entered the official chart in the band's home country at position No. 2. The album also debuted on the German Media Control chart at No. 55.

"Polaris" was released in the U.S. on May 26 via Armoury Records (a division of Eagle Rock Entertainment).

The cover artwork for "Polaris" was created by Gyula Havancsák.

"Polaris" was recorded in the fall 2008 at Hästholmen and 5by5 studios in Helsinki, Finland. It was mixed by the longtime confidant of the band, Mikko Karmila.


Timo Kotipelto - Vocals
Matias Kupiainen - Guitars
Lauri Porra - Bass
Jörg Michael - Drums
Jens Johansson - Keyboards


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Steve Hackett To Headline NEARfest Alumni-Night Friday

NEARfest is honored to present in a sophomore appearance, Steve Hackett and his band. There is very little that Prog fans don’t know about the legacy of Steve Hackett. He is a renowned, iconic and immensely talented and innovative rock musician. He was lead guitarist with Genesis as part of their classic lineup with Gabriel, Collins, Banks and Rutherford that produced acclaimed albums such as Nursery Cryme and Selling England by the Pound (a favorite of John Lennon). From the post Gabriel era came the classics, A Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering. With Steve’s extraordinary versatility in both his electric guitar playing and his composing, he involves influences from many genres, including Jazz, World Music and Blues. His classical albums include renditions of pieces by composers from Bach to Satie, as well as his own stellar acoustic and classical guitar compositions.

With Genesis, Steve’s guitar playing produced some of the most memorable moments, from the sensitivity of his acoustic sound on Horizons and Blood on the Rooftops to the dramatic rock guitar solos of Firth of Fifth and Fountain of Salmacis. As he embarked on his solo career he developed his exceptional range, pushing musical boundaries into exciting areas, inventing new sounds and also techniques such as ‘tapping’. Steve’s solo career as well as his collaboration with fellow guitar icon Steve Howe in GTR, gained favorable momentum in the 1980’s. After GTR, Steve worked further with many renowned musicians such as Paul Carrick, Bonny Tyler, John Wetton and Brian May, who has credited Steve as an early influence. He went on record Genesis Revisited and even further back to his roots with Blues with a Feeling, whilst continuing to challenge his own ‘horizons’ with an amazingly eclectic mix of sounds, genres and a sense of the exotic that excites his many followers to this day.

Recent albums have possessed a high level of sophistication, along with an ever-present powerful dynamic, from the dramatic and atmospheric darkness of Darktown and Wild Orchids to the colorful voyage through time and space of To Watch the Storms. Steve’s live electric gigs take his fans on an extraordinary journey that embodies his Genesis days right through to the present, all woven together with his exceptionally unique and distinctive rock guitar sound. With a new album entitled, “Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth,” Steve is poised to continue his legacy of creating excitement through his music. His return to the NEARfest stage will be a fantastic journey; from classic tunes to Steve’s most recent material. A big NEARfest round of applause is in order for Steve Hackett and his band as they grace our stage on Friday, June 18th for an Alumni-Night aural feast. This was announced live on the Gagliarchives Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Manfred Eicher To Be Interviewed By Gary Giddins At Proshansky Auditorium 11/19/09

Don’t miss a rare opportunity to hear Manfred Eicher (Producer and Founder of ECM Records)in conversation with Gary Giddins (critic /author)

November 19th, Thursday, 6:30pm
Proshansky Auditorium
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Ave (at 34th St)
Information: 212/817.2005

Manfred Eicher founded ECM Records in 1969 specifically aiming to record jazz with great attention to sonic detail. Now 40 years later, the ECM catalog contains well over a thousand recordings of jazz, classical and world music from around the globe. The imprint is known for not only for the stellar musicianship of its roster and the clear, rich recorded sound, but also for remarkable artwork and graphics.

Gary Giddins is a critic and author widely recognized as a leading voice in jazz criticism.

Rare Blend To Release New Album Titled Sessions

Cleveland, OHIO USA

Scheduled for December 14th, 2009, instrumental music group Rare Blend will release their 5th CD album SESSIONS, an impressive 14 track disc of LIVE recordings from stage and studio. Unlike the group’s previous CD’s, SESSIONS highlights Rare Blend’s “one takes”, and “in the moment” jam-fusion instrumentals.

SESSIONS features new songs and improvisations from shows in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and “in-studio” improvs recorded at Odyssey Studios in Cleveland. Also included are selections from a taping for the Crooked River Groove television program (title track - Hipster Spinster), as well as performances during their 2008 Bridging The Gap music/film series against the backdrop of such classic films as; “Phantom of the Opera” and “Metropolis”.

Taking a hiatus this year to review hours of collected recordings, mix and master the release, Rare Blend did pop up for an amazing show opening for Ozric Tentacles at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland. Here the group snuck out a few SESSIONS tracks that were very well received and solidified Rare Blend’s eagerness to finish the disc by the end of the year and to bring the spontaneous side of their music to audiences in 2010.

“What a supremely tight, high energy (Rare Blend) performance yesterday evening at the Beachland Ballroom. Incredible band!” -(Robert Menser - WJCU 88.7 FM Cleveland)

Coming soon, distribution of SESSIONS and digital downloads will be available through CD Baby and the Rare Blend website.

Musicians involved with ‘Sessions’ are:

Vic Samalot ~ Electric / Acoustic Guitar
Bobbi Holt ~ Keyboards, 2nd guitar on “Neon Noodle”, percussion on “ Hide & Seek”
Jeffrey Scott ~ Bass
Ivan George ~ Drums & Percussion
Vince Broncaccio ~ Drums & Percussion on “Neon Noodle” & “The Timekeeper”
Phil Quidort ~ Trumpet on “Market Square”

Iona To Play Nearfest 2010

Philadelphia-November 17, 2009
NEARfest is proud to announce the addition of Iona to the 2010 lineup! Hailing from England, Celtic symphonic progressive rock band Iona was formed in 1989 by multi-instrumentali sts David Fitzgerald and Dave Bainbridge and joined soon after by lead vocalist Joanne Hogg. The inspiration for the band and its name came from a visit that Fitzgerald made to the serene and beautiful Scottish island of Iona the year prior. By the time Iona released their self-titled debut album in 1990, Nick Beggs (bass), Fiona Davidson (Celtic harp), Peter Whitfield (strings), Troy Donockley (Uillean pipes) and Frank Van Essen (drums, violin) had joined the band.

In 1992, the band released "The Book of Kells," a concept album based on the legendary Irish tome . Terl Bryant took over on drums and percussion for this album after the departure of Frank Van Essen. Fitzgerald also left the band to pursue a degree in music. The band's third album, "Beyond These Shores" (1993), which included guest musician Robert Fripp, was loosely based on the voyage of St. Brendan. "Journey into the Morn" (1995) was a more straight-forward release inspired by the hymn "Be Thou My Vision," which bookends the album in Gaelic and features Máire Brennan, lead singer of Celtic/New Age band Clannad.

After two live albums, Bryant left the band and Van Essen returned to play drums on 2000's "Open Sky," which was followed in 2002 by a boxed set called "The River Flows," the first release on the band's own label. The box contains their then-out-of- print first three albums remastered, as well as a fourth disc of unreleased tracks. After six years without a new studio album, the band released the gorgeous "The Circling Hour" in 2006 as well as a 2-disc live DVD "Iona: Live in London," featuring a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround mix.

Since then, the band has continued to play live shows across Europe to enthusiastic crowds. The band has also returned to the studio to begin work on a new album which will see the light in 2010 to coincide with their 20th anniversary. In helping to celebrate the band's milestone, NEARfest is very pleased to welcome Iona to the stage to treat us to their wonderful stylistic weave of Celtic music and symphonic rock.

Iona website: http://www.iona.

Bassit Jeff Clyne Passes At Age 72

Jeff Clyne was a self-taught musician, although he spent some short periods studying with orchestral players. In 1955, he became a military bandsman in the 3rd Hussars for his National Service. During that period, he played in London with Tony Crombie's Rockets and with Stan Tracey. In 1958, he joined the Jazz Couriers, a group co-led by Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott. He continued to work with Hayes' various groups for about ten years. In the early 60's, Clyne also worked with such avant-garde groups as the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Amalgam, led by John Stevens and Trevor Watts. In 1965, he was a member of the Stan Tracey quartet, which recorded the classic album Under Milk Wood. In the late 1960's, he worked with Gordon Beck (playing on his influential Experiments With Pops album alongside John McLaughlin and Tony Oxley in December 1967) and Tony Kinsey.

In 1969, he took up bass guitar, joining Nucleus at its beginning and staying until 1971. The group won first prize at the Newport Jazz Festival the same year, and at the Village Gate in New York. He also gigged with Keith Tippett's acclaimed sextet alongside Elton Dean, Mark Charig and Nick Evans. In 1972 he was a founding member of Gary Boyle's Isotope, playing on the band's first album and gigging around England. He joined Gilgamesh in 1975 in time for the recording sessions of the band's eponymous album. In 1976, with singer Pepi Lemer and former Isotope acolyte Brian Miller on keyboards, he formed Turning Point, a fusion band for which he composed much of the music and which recorded two acclaimed albums, Creatures Of The Night and Silent Promise. The band broke up after an Arts Council sponsored UK tour in October 1980 for which an augmented line-up (including Neil Ardley and Allan Holdsworth) performed mostly new material that sadly remains undocumented on record.

He has accompanied singers Blossom Dearie, Marion Montgomery, Annie Ross and Norma Winstone, and worked with many US musicians, including Lucky Thompson, Zoot Sims, Phil Woods, Jim Hall, Lockjaw Davis, Taj Farlow, and with the Belgian, Toots Thielemans. He has been active in education of several years and is currently co-director of the Wavendon Summer Jazz Course, and also on the faculty of both the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music jazz courses. In 1987, he recorded the acclaimed Twice Upon A Time album with ex-Gilgamesh guitarist Phil Lee. In 1990, he toured the UK as part of Gordon Beck's trio, with John Marshall on drums. He still plays jazz gigs regularly with various groups, often with drummer Trevor Tomkins. In 2003, he resumed his partnership with John Marshall in John Etheridge's quartet.
Jeff Clyne died on November 16th 2009, of a heart attack.

Mike Keneally's Amazing "Scambot 1" Due out Nov. 24

Calling the first volume of Mike Keneally’s Scambot trilogy "ambitious" might be understating things a bit. For five years Mike held it close to his heart as his main project, employing nine engineers and many musicians at six studios.
"We devoted intense energy to every second of the album," says Mike. "There is a plot, and a bunch of characters. The CD booklet contains a very long story I wrote which lays out all of the action. Musically speaking, it's about two-thirds instrumental. It encompasses a little bit of straightforward-ish rock and pop, a lot of rigorous composition and arrangement, some obsessively intricate vocal and instrumental harmonies, some improvisation which has been orchestrated, some digitally-manipulated musique concrete, some purely uncategorizable stuff and, I think, some of the most interesting melodies I've come up with. It is a peculiar album but I think very satisfying as a journey, and emotionally it hits a lot of different moods."

And here's another clue for you all: Scambot 1, Mike adds, is "dedicated to anyone who still listens to entire albums with their headphones on."

One of the music world's most creative, intense and unique artists, Mike's achievements as a composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist are nearly unequalled. Known chiefly as a guitarist through his work with Frank Zappa and Steve Vai, since 1992 Keneally has built a body of solo work of remarkable inventiveness and originality. His live performances, featuring brain-bending performances on a variety of instruments, have delivered consistently reliable thrills to his passionate fanbase.

Enhancing his virtuosity is Keneally’s sheer joy in exploring all types of sounds. He is equally at home singing and playing guitar with some of music’s top acts as with improvising or meticulously arranging solo piano recordings, as on 2004's Vai Piano Reductions Vol. 1, specifically commissioned by Vai, or creating The Universe Will Provide, Mike’s lauded album-length composition for guitar and Holland’s 52-piece Metropole Orchestra.

Mike is currently touring as guitarist with the [adult swim] metal band Dethklok; the new album The Dethalbum II recently debuted at #15 on the Billboard pop chart.

For more information about Mike, please visit, and for Mike Keneally music online 24 hours a day (including fun unreleased things), tune in to
** MIKE KENEALLY SCAMBOT DEBUTED AT #9 in the Gagliarchives Weekly Top 20 located here:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Peter Gabriel To Release CD Of Cover Songs

Written by Tom Breihan at
Peter Gabriel fronted Genesis when they were astral prog travelers. He also did time as one of the weirdest, least likely pop stars of the 80s and early 90s, looking like a bank manager but cranking out hallucinatory art-funk videos like "Sledgehammer" and "Shock the Monkey". More recently, he teamed up with Hot Chip to cover Vampire Weekend's "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"-- a song that namechecks Gabriel himself. Suffice to say, Gabriel's weirdo credentials are fully in place.
Early next year, he'll reemerge with an orchestral covers album that will include Gabriel's versions of songs by Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, and the Magnetic Fields, as NME reports.
According to The Guardian, Gabriel's Scratch My Back is part of a "song-swap project" in which Gabriel will cover other people's songs, and they'll cover his. That means there's at least an outside possibility that we could hear Bon Iver take on "Red Rain"-- which would be awesome. According to NME, Scratch My Back, due January 25, is the first release in a planned series, so maybe the other folks covering Gabriel will come later.
Composer John Metcalfe tells the BBC that the album will be recorded acoustically, and that Gabriel will stick with orchestral instruments rather than drums or guitars. Says Metcalfe: "The songs are not simply covers. They are major reinterpretations of some famous stuff. It's quite radical ..."

NME has confirmed the tracklist, and it'll be fascinating to hear what Gabriel does with these songs:
Scratch My Back:
01 Heroes (David Bowie cover)
02 The Boy in the Bubble (Paul Simon cover)
03 Mirrorball (Elbow cover)
04 Flume (Bon Iver cover)
05 Listening Wind (Talking Heads cover)
06 The Power of the Heart (Lou Reed cover)
07 My Body Is a Cage (Arcade Fire cover)
08 The Book of Love (Magnetic Fields cover)
09 I Think It's Going to Rain Today (Randy Newman cover)
10 Après Moi (Regina Spektor cover)
11 Philadelphia (Neil Young cover)
12 Street Spirit (Radiohead cover)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

THE WISHING TREE To Release New Album In North America In January has received the following press release:
It has been ten years since progressive rock band THE WISHING TREE released their debut album, Carnival Of Souls. On January 19th, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release their lush and evocative new album Ostara in North America.
MARILLION guitarist Steve Rothery founded The Wishing Tree. Formed in 1996, Rothery’s desire to start an acoustic music project with a female vocalist led him to British singer Hannah Stobart. The two started writing together, crafting a wistful, gorgeous sound that is both haunting and soothing. This new CD, produced and engineered by Rothery, not only boasts eight original songs, but two bonus live tracks, 'Fly' and 'Ostara'.

Unique in its conception, Ostara was written and recorded on opposite sides of the world, with Stobert working from her home in California and Rothery in his home studio in Buckinghamshire, England.

Joined by drummer Paul Craddick (of ENCHANT, and Hannah’s husband), Ostara is the perfect marriage of Stobart’s angelic, lilting vocals and Rothery’s superb guitar work. A master at his craft, his harmonies are understated when necessary, allowing Stobart’s vocals to take precedence, yet when given the chance, his trademark solos truly sing out in the mix of this enchanting blend. The delicate, ghostly harmonies, executed on mandolin as well as guitar, paired with Stobart’s soaring melodies, result in artwork that is truly a listening experience.

Fans of Steve Rothery will also enjoy Marillion’s latest CD, Less Is More, released December 8th via Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Ostara tracklisting:
'Hollow Hills'
'Seventh Sigh'
Bonus Tracks:
'Fly' (live)
'Ostara' (live)

Neal Morse To Release Live 3-CD Set

11/13/2009 - Nashville, TN - Renowned as one of prog’s leading solo artists, Neal Morse is better known for his epic studio releases than for lengthy tours. His acclaimed solo live DVDs (Testimony Live, Sola Scripture & More) and CD set (Question Live) have captured amazing performances from his live North American and European bands, and performers from bands ranging from Dream Theater to Christina Aguilera. Never before, though, has there been a definitive live Neal Morse experience. Over almost 20 years, Neal has recorded 22 studio albums with Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic, and on his own. His career has followed an unconventional path, leading him to reject 10 years chasing a dream, and at another time, leave music altogether. His experiences and perspective have lead to some of progressive rock’s most memorable music.
The challenge of bringing these songs to life requires some of prog’s best musicians—a lot of them. In Europe, Neal came to know his band by chance email from an unknown Dutch drummer: Collin Leijenaar. Collin was trying to persuade Neal that his group of friends—all tremendous Morse fans—could not only play Neal’s material, but own it. Three and half hours worth. With one week’s rehearsal.

Morse was skeptical, to say the least. The unknown performers were up against Mike Portnoy, Kerry Livgren, Roine Stolt, Steve Hacket, Jordan Rudess, Phil Keaggy, Randy George, Pete Trewavas, Kevin Gilbert, and the cast of Spock’s Beard. Neal had been down many roads he never expected, though, and something told him to take this one. The entire tour was booked before Neal even met his band.

The rest is history, of course, perhaps best illustrated by Neal’s comment on the Sola Scriptura & More Live DVD; before the band launched into a complete performance of the Sola Scriptura album, Neal says, “I hope you guys like this—it’s the second time we’ve performed it together.” And indeed, Collin and company owned every minute of it.

That was 2007. By the end of 2008, the now-seasoned band could tear through Morse’s material with confidence and creative improvisation. With changing material on different nights, the cumulative set is 3.5 hours long, encompassing Neal’s best songs and compositions from his 20 year career. This theme extends the recording engineering, mixing and production—resulting in studio-grade sound that whispers and thunders off the discs. At the center is Neal Morse, one of Classic Rock Magazine’s “100 Greatest Frontmen of Rock”.

With soaring vocals, virtuoso instrumentals, and a unique sense of humor, Morse demonstrates why after 20 years, he remains one of prog’s brightest stars. Experience the definitive Neal Morse concert event—29 tracks released from the studio’s confines and into the living world of live performance. Discover new songs and rediscover familiar ones, evolved and arranged in unpredictable ways. From The Light to Lifeline, experience the extraordinary music at the end of a road less travelled.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: So Many Roads is released on Radiant Records. North American distribution by Metal Blade/SONY; available at all major music chains and from Radiant Records. Digital distribution by iTunes™.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ELP Deluxe Editions In The Works; Band To Reunite In 2010?

ELP are to release two deluxe editions on November 12, through Sanctuary/UMC.
One will feature Works Vols 1 & 2, brought together for the first time. Both were originally released in 1977, Works Volume 1 being a double LP, while Works Volume 2 was a single album. The CDs here have been remastered.
The other deluxe edition is of the 1974 triple live album Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends… Ladies & Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer. (Possibly the longest album title since Tyrannosaurus Rex’s My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair… But Now They’re Content To Wear Stars On Their Brows.) Again, the ELP album has been remastered.
Recently, rumours have been rife concerning a 40th anniversary ELP reformation for 2010 – although nothing has so far been confirmed.
Drummer Carl Palmer recently told the Birmingham Post:
“We were going to reform ELP this year but we had a few medical problems involving Keith [Emerson, keyboards].
“One of his hands needs looking at so we had to postpone it. It’s an occupational hazard, with both of my hands having been operated on, but hopefully we can make it happen next year. Our second reformation was from 1991 to 1998 so I suppose we are due another one.”
In addition, Esoteric Records have acquired the ights to ELP’s label, Manticore. Starting in November, there will be a huge reissues campaign, featuring artists like Stray Dog, PFM, Keith Christmas and Pete Sinfield.
For further details, go to

Lost David Gilmour Produced Unicorn Albums To Be Reissued

11/3/2009 - Philadelphia, PA - Pink Floyd fanatics rejoice with the first time release of two rare David Gilmour produced albums by UK country rock band Unicorn! The CDs 'Blue Pine Trees' and 'Too Many Crooks' will be released by premier reissue label Renaissance Records in conjunction with on November 10th. When you think of 'country rock' band's like Firefall, Pure Praire League, Poco, Flying Burrito Bros probably come to mind first, but one band that could well be called the godfathers of the genre actually came from England. The meeting between Unicorn and Pink Floyd's renown guitarist is a curious one.
Early in 1973 Unicorn played at the wedding reception for Transatlantic publicist Ricky Hopper. One of the guests was David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, who at the end of the evening got up and jammed with Unicorn on Neil Young's "Heart of Gold". Afterwards Gilmour told the band that he really liked Country Rock. A week later the Pink Floyd guitarist phoned the band to say that he had just installed a studio at his country retreat and asked if they wanted to demo some songs there. The band immediately accepted. A few days later they travelled up to Essex to Gilmour's estate. He showed them into the studio and said there was no need to bring any of their gear in from the van. Hanging on the walls was his collection of vintage Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker and Martin guitars and underneath them Fender amplifiers and a Premier drum kit. They recorded three songs and Dave added some Fender Pedal Steel Guitar which he had just brought on his last American tour and was learning to play. They were invited back on several occasions to record.
"Unicorn were playing at the wedding reception of an old friend of mine, Rick Hopper," related David Gilmour, "when I first saw them and while I was impressed by their vocal harmonies, their tightness and the fact that it was the drummer that sang the lead vocals, it was the songs themselves that I liked the best. Ken Baker's songs, while firmly seated in the American country rock genre had a very original and unusual wry English feel in the stories he told. The one that really made me notice was 'Sleep Song', about a trip to the dentist. Not a common subject for the popular song. Largely on the strength of this I invited them to my tiny home studio in Essex to record some demos. This was the start of an association that was to cover two and a half albums over the next couple of years."

Things started to happen from then on when Gilmour offered to put up the money to record an album of Unicorn songs. Unicorn soon signed with Pink Floyds manager Steve O'Rourke's EMKA organization, and Ricky Hopper who had introduced them to Dave became their tour manager. Ricky would later discover Kate Bush, then called Kathy Bush. Pete and Pat from Unicorn played on her first demo recordings at Gilmour's studio. Unicorn's first album was recorded in Olympic Studios in Barnes in London. David Gilmour was producing, by his own admission, for the first time. The performances would wind up as the album 'Blue Pine Trees' and parts of the second album 'Too Many Crooks'. The album was mixed at George Martin's Air Studios in London. The engineer was John Middleton and the tape operators were the sons of Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers. Steve O'Rourke took about a week to secure a deal with Charisma Records in the UK, with Capitol Records in the US and EMI International for the rest of the world.
In November 1974 Unicorn set off on their first US tour. At the time Capitol records tour manager, Alan Fry, told them that 'Blue Pine Trees' was number one in the FM action charts (a chart based on the frequency of FM airplay). The first night Unicorn performed at the Whiskey a Go Go on Sunset Strip, where they played in front of what seemed to be the entire Capitol Records staff. Unicorn was the headline band that night and was supported by, a then little known, Patti Smith. On that first tour the band supported bands like Fleetwood Mac, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Climax Blues Band, Billy Joel, Linda Ronstadt and the Doobie Brothers. At the end of their first US tour Unicorn flew home via New York to return to play at the Marquee club in London with the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver with David Gilmour sitting in. The following year, 1975, was mainly spent recording the second album 'Too Many Crooks' (Released in America as 'Unicorn 2'). It was recorded in Air Studios at Oxford Circus with some additional tracks at Olympic at Barnes. This album included some of Unicorn's best studio performances. The most notable song was "No Way Out of Here" which was later recorded by Dave Gilmour for his first solo album. His version was the most played album track in the US for several weeks. "Listening to the best of their output from before, during and after my own involvement with the band," says Gilmour, "has reminded me of the many great songs and great moments in the studio that we shared all those years ago. It's been a long time coming, but it has been worth the wait."Unicorn - 'Blue Pine Trees', 'Too Many Crooks' (prod. by David Gilmour), will be available from Amazon, iTunes and your local retailer on November 10th.
Other titles scheduled for release by Renaissance Records include Graham Parker &The Rumour 'Live In San Francisco 1979', Network - s/t and 'Nightwork', Duke Jupiter 'White Knuckle Ride', Fran King 'My Sweet Elixir', City Boy 'It's Personal', Phoenix - s/t and 'In Full View' (ex-Argent), Nick Gravenites 'Bluestar', and Roxy Music 'Manifesto Alive' (live 1979).
For more information:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wishbone Ash Name Controversy Revealed By Andy Powell

11/7/2009 - Redding, CT USA – Founding member of the legendary classic rock band Wishbone Ash, Andy Powell, is setting the record straight about the recent controversy surrounding the ownership and usage of the group's name. A band fronted by another founding member, Martin Turner, is also being promoted as Wishbone Ash, creating confusion among fans and press.
“It’s local promoters taking advantage of the good work this band has been doing,” said Powell. Most recently, Martin Turner’s German shows have been promoted under the Wishbone Ash moniker, prompting Powell to seek legal recourse. “Myself and the band’s business partners—people who have worked for years to keep the band treading the boards and keeping the recorded catalog current—see it as a raiding party,” said Powell. “I am now taking legal action in respect of this infringement of my trade mark. It’s time to stop this nonsense.”
Powell, a guitar legend in his own right, and the only remaining founding member, has recorded and toured exclusively under the Wishbone Ash banner since 1969--more than 40 years. In the last 20 years alone, Wishbone Ash has released 15 CDs (including nine studio releases) and five DVDs. None of these has featured Martin Turner. The band’s most recent release, The Power of Eternity, has garnered rave reviews from the music press internationally.
During the band’s early history, the lineup changed several times, with founding members leaving and rejoining. When, in 1993, Powell became the sole remaining original member, there was no thought of calling it a day. Powell later registered the trade mark Wishbone Ash in 1998. He has maintained the mark since then, producing numerous DVDs and CDs of new material. In addition to being co-writer on the majority of the recorded works, he’s performed around 4,000 Ash shows worldwide.
"My mandate was to simply carry forward with the band," Powell said, "as has always been the case since 1974 when the first member to leave, Ted Turner, tendered his resignation. This continuity has overwhelmingly always been what the fans have wanted, and they proved that in the early 1990s by backing our recording and promotion of the album Illuminations. At no time did I consider the band dead; we'd been through worse”.
In recent years Martin Turner registered . He then tentatively resurfaced using the name 'Wishbone featuring Martin Turner' performing Wishbone Ash songs from the very early part of the band's career. All was fine for a year or so until the name of Martin Turner’s band was changed to Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash. His "" website started pushing the Wishbone Ash aspect of the name firmly to the fore. Then, making matters worse, some Turner gigs were actually being promoted as ‘Wishbone Ash’ concerts. Fans who turned up expecting the long-running Powell-fronted band were disappointed and confused. Journalists who were unaware of the band’s history sometimes wrote about Turner’s band as if it actually were Wishbone Ash. Inevitably, this sparked claims of ‘passing off ’ from Wishbone Ash and its business partners.
"Over the years, band members had left in a piecemeal fashion to pursue solo careers and other ventures," said Powell. "Anyone who has followed the band knows that Martin Turner, for example, quit in 1980 and again in 1991 after a brief three-year reunion.” After leaving in '91 Martin produced a solo album. “His own website says that he'd 'moved on' from Wishbone Ash, using the name Martin Turner and calling the CD Walking the Reeperbahn,” said Powell. “This had nothing to do with Wishbone Ash and seemed to be a move on Martin Turner's part to distance himself from the band and take his career in another direction. His website actually at one point admitted that I was a continuous member of the one true band and that he was not." Founded in England in 1969, WishboneAsh has released more than 30 albums to date, and has been touted as one of the first dual-guitar rock bands. Rolling Stone magazine counted Ash guitarists Andy Powell and Ted Turner among the world’s top 20 best of all time. The group’s 1972 classic release, Argus, was voted Album Of The Year by readers of UK’s Melody Maker and NME. It was remixed and reissued in 2002 as a special 30th anniversary edition and consequently was the fastest selling reissue in MCA’s history. Powell’s name is synonymous with the Gibson Flying V. Over the years, he has been prominently featured in such notable publications as Guitar, Guitarist and, most recently, Vintage Guitar. He has also recorded with the likes of George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Stewart Copeland and Renaissance.
Wishbone Ash’s current line-up also features former Gringos Locos guitarist Jyrki “Muddy” Manninen, a five-year Ash veteran who brings a rootsy style to the band with his slide playing. Bassist Bob Skeat has been in Wishbone Ash for 12 years and has also in the past, worked with everyone from Colin Blunstone, Gilbert O’Sullivan and Chris Farlowe to Princess Stephanie of Monaco. Interestingly, he worked with Ash’s other 1970s guitar titan, Laurie Wisefield, in Brian May’s musical hit “We Will Rock You.” Drummer Joe Crabtree has worked with the likes of King Crimson's David Cross and Pendragon.
Wishbone Ash has embarked on an intensive tour plan taking the band 'round to next July in celebration of its 40th anniversary. The October tour of the UK began on the 2nd and ends the first week of November. Then in January 2010 the band hits the road again for the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia. Canada's blues prodigy, Jimmy Bowskill, will be opening for the band on this six-week tour. For a complete list of tour dates and venues, visit In addition, the band will revisit Warsaw and Poznan in Poland, along with the Czech Republic. A USA East Coast tour is in the final booking stages, planned for March 2010. Italy and Switzerland will also be visited this time around, just prior to the usual spring UK tour. A USA West Coast tour and a possible Far East visit are being discussed for June. The new DVD Wishbone Ash 40 - Live in London was released in Europe on Oct. 10. This 40th anniversary show from Shepherd's Bush Empire was produced by RCN TV, the same team who made the highly acclaimed Wishbone Ash Live in Hamburg DVD.
For more information visit the official Wishbone Ash website:


Saturday, November 7, 2009

New York Prog Ensemble IZZ Set To Release New CD

11/5/2009 - New York, NY - The progressive community is buzzing with anticipation of the upcoming release by New York prog ensemble IZZ. In the past decade the group has released several highly acclaimed albums and have acumulated a large dedicated following in the process. The band's newest CD The Darkened Room is scheduled for release on November 17th and is part of an ongoing series. "This is sort of a 'Part One' of a two-part album series," says John Galgano, who plays bass with the band. "We have already started recording on the next part. There is a concept but we'd prefer to let people take from it what they get out of it, without the influence of our explanation."
"There are many new bands out there in the prog rock scene who try to recreate the spirit of the good old Seventies. I for one always thought that IZZ isn't simply one of them. Yes, they may have lent some aspects of that retro sound but IZZ is a truly special case here. The term 'recreating' doesn't really cover their potential of the band, so 'reinventing' could be a better one instead." - DPRP

Although IZZ has its own unique sound there are several influences: "Each person in the band brings a different aspect of music with them, but there is certainly a shared passion for The Beatles, Genesis and Yes," says Brian Coralian, who with fellow drummer Greg DiMiceli makes up IZZ's potent double-drumming duo. "But as individuals, our musical influences and experiences run the 'genre' gamut from jazz to musical theater to classical to latin to celtic." Some individual artists/bands who influence the members of IZZ are Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, King Crimson, Jonatha Brooke, St. Vincent, ABBA, Ben Folds, Marillion and Dave Brubeck just to name a few.

IZZ’s new studio album, The Darkened Room, offers the listener music which is at once both adventurous yet still uniquely IZZ. "Each band member gives amazing performances on this new record," says guitarist Paul Bremner, "but each of us really keeps the song and melody at the forefront of our minds and I think that is evident throughout the entire album.

"The current line-up for The Darkened Room is:

Tom Galgano: keyboards, vocals

Greg DiMiceli: drums and percussion

Brian Coralian: electronic and acoustic drums and percussion

Paul Bremner: electric and acoustic guitar

John Galgano: bass guitar, acoustic/electric guitar, vocals

Anmarie Byrnes: vocals

"I think with IZZ, the message is first and always about the music and more specifically, the melody," says Tom Galgano, keyboardist, vocalist and the band's producer and engineer. "The band members share a common passion for developing melody and feel that much of the great music of the past has a common thread - a memorable melody. So, one of our goals is always about attempting our best to bring forth memorable, catchy, interesting and creative music." "Without question one of the brightest lights on the American symphonic prog scene, IZZ melds classic and modern prog influences, strong melodies, and stirring guitar and synthesizer solos into a familar yet refreshing musical stew. The new IZZ album album My River Flows, their third full-length recording, shows the band's full musical palette: from accessible yet complex songs mixing their Yes, Beatles, and Gentle Giant affinities with a Radiohead spice to a dynamic, spiritually uplifting multi-part symphonic suite." - NEARfest website

Even before the release of IZZ's new opus, the band is back in the studio recording the second part. "What is probably more a focus at this point is completing the recording of Part 2 of this album series," John explains. "We've already started the recording process and hope to have a follow up to The Darkened Room soon. However, since all the members of IZZ consider the band to be a band that you need to experience live, we will definitely sprinkle in a good amount of live performances to promote and play out material for The Darkened Room."

In other news, IZZ was recently featured in the 2008 3RP Festival DVD along with the Flower Kings, Neal Morse, Spock's Beard, California Guitar Trio and others. The DVD is available to purchase on the 3RP official website In addition, IZZ is starting work on their own DVD that would include the band's electrifying performance at NEARFest 2007. IZZ's The Darkened Room will be available from Amazon, CDBaby, iTunes and your favorite online retailer.

Vist the official IZZ website at for the most updated information.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Magenta Release Yes Classic As Download Single

Magenta are excited to announce that they will release a version of the Yes classic Wonderous Stories as a download-only single, on Tigermoth Records, on November 15th.
The song, which will come in three alternative versions, will be available to download from all normal download sites – including Amazon and Itunes worldwide. Rob Reed talks about the bands reasons for the release:
“We are often compared favourably to Yes, and many of our fans have been asking us to have a go at a Yes piece for a while. We have been playing Wonderous Stories as part of our set during our recent run of acoustic gigs, and it was great fun to do and really well received, so we thought we’d take it into the studio and give it the full-band Magenta treatment. We think that we’ve brought something new to the song while maintaining total respect for the original, and we really hope people enjoy it.”
Wonderous Stories, from the Going For the One album, was Yes’ biggest UK hit, reaching number 7 in September 1977.
The three versions of the song will be:

1.Wonderous Stories : Full Mix

2.Wonderous Stories : Instrumental Mix

3.Wonderous Stories : Acoustic Mix
The band have also produced a video for the song, and an excerpt can be seen below. The complete video will be made available on the day of release.

Greg Amov Of Systems Theory Passes At Age 59

From the Music...What Else Blog:
it is with regret, but also relief, that I pass on that Systems Theory band-member, long-time Multi-Value/dbms programmer and computer teacher Greg Amov died last night after a hard few months battling cancer for the second time. Some of you may recall that he had esophageal cancer three years ago. Eventually it came back, became systemic, and it was the cancer that had spread to his brain that took him away from us.Amidst the turmoil and sorrow of his death, I'd like to say that it was very peaceful and quiet at his end, which was a relief after all the physical struggle of the last few weeks. It was clear to everyone around him during the afternoon that it would be sometime Tuesday, so his family convened to be with him. His wife was at his side when the final breath was taken.I do not yet know exactly what sort of memorial there will be, or when / where it will be held. But something appropriate to Greg's life and beliefs will be organized soon. I will pass on that information when I have it.Thanks to all that contacted the family through me and through Systems Theory to express hope, support, sympathy, wishes for a speeding passing, etc. That various branches of the progressive music community, and those that he worked with closely on recent programming projects, had been in touch with me meant a great a deal to Greg. Hundreds of emails, text messages and comments were posted to various forums in his final weeks, and that he was so well-regarded and admired means a great deal to me personally as his best friend of 32 years.In the midst of the sadness of his passing, let me add a bright note. Last night I got access to Greg's pair of music computers (named "Fripp" and "Eno" after two stellar musicians he admired). Everything that I could have hoped to find musically was there -- the masters for his two OOP CDs were there, plus several unreleased completed projects, some long-forgotten projects, and new tunes earmarked for both solo, Systems Theory and ViolinCyndee. So there will be new music under his name in the next year or so, as well as the re-release of wonderful "The Dark Within The Dark" (2001) and "Gecko Highway" (2005) albums.Gregory Michael Amov, b. Nov 6th 1959, d. Nov 3rd 2009, RIP.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Steve Sly Steps Down From Progday

This just in from the Progday message board:
After much thought and consideration I have made the decision to step down as the overall coordinator for ProgDay. This has not been an easy decision for me nor one that I have taken lightly. ProgDay is a very special event, and has been a part of my life for more than a decade now. There is no one specific reason why I have chosen not to continue with the festival, but there are several factors in both my personal and professional life that have led me this decision. ProgDay is a year round activity that requires a significant investment of time, money, and sweat to pull off. In the end I think I have just burned out on it to an extent and feel that this is a good time to pull away. I have made many very good friends over the years with my association with ProgDay, and appreciate the extreme effort and hard work that everyone in the organization has put in to be able to pull the festival off each year.
The good news is that the ProgDay organization is still in tact and plans for the 2010 edition of the festival are progressing as I write this. More announcements will be coming soon regarding next year.
Finally I would like to thank everyone that I have worked with in the ProgDay organization and everyone who has attended the festival in the past 12 years. I am sure I will see many of you down the road at various prog related events and future ProgDays.
Steve Sly
ProgDay 1997 - 2009

More updates on Progday as they come here on Globalprogressive rock news

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Emerson,Lake, and Palmer Manager Dee Anthony Dies at 83

SOUTHPORT, Conn. – Dee Anthony, who began a 40-year music-managing career representing neighborhood friend Jerry Vale in the 1950s and later worked for Tony Bennett, Peter Frampton and other popular artists, has died. He was 83.
The Southport, Conn., resident died Sunday at Norwalk Hospital of pneumonia, family spokesman Jay Strell said.
Anthony was Frampton's manager when the singer-guitarist released the wildly successful "Frampton Comes Alive" album in 1976. He also represented British acts including Traffic, Jethro Tull and Joe Cocker when they first came to the United States in the mid-1960s, Strell said.
Born Anthony D'Addario, he grew up in the Bronx and met Bennett in 1954 at a nightclub in Yonkers, according to an obituary prepared by his daughter, Michele Anthony, former president and chief operating officer of Sony Music. He represented Bennett for more than a decade.
"He was an amazing man, tremendous father, grandfather and husband," Michele Anthony said in a statement Monday. "We're now reflecting on all of the wonderful times we spent together as well as the impact he had on so many others."
Anthony founded Bandana Enterprises with his brother, Bill, in 1968. The company managed a host of bands including The J. Geils Band, Ten Years After and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Anthony went on to represent Peter Allen and Devo in the 1980s and retired in the mid-1990s.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel in New York City.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Opeth Involved In Tour Bus And Car Crash

It turns out that the road collision that OPETH's tour bus was involved in earlier this week was no accident. Mikael Åkerfeldt, the guitarist/vocalist for the Swedish progressive metal band, who was not travelling on the bus at the time of the incident, writes on his MySpace page, "I just got a text from [Martin] Mendez [OPETH bassist] who's saying that the driver of the other car (who made the U-turn [in the middle of the highway]) that our bus crashed into, sadly passed away from his injuries. On top of that it seems as if it was a deliberate death stunt from his side as the police had found a suicide letter in the car wreck."
Mikael adds, "I've no idea who he was, but I have to say our condolences goes out to his family and loved ones."
OPETH's tour bus was travelling from Dublin, Ireland to Brussels, Belgium when the incident occurred.
Mendez and keyboardist Per Wiberg were the only two members of OPETH that were present on the bus at the time of the crash.
Åkerfeldt, drummer Martin "Axe" Axenrot and guitarist Fredrik Åkesson had opted to fly home to their families for a few days while the band had three days off before its next concert (October 17 in Brussels as part of the Progressive Nation 2009 tour with DREAM THEATER, BIGELF and UNEXPECT).
None of the OPETH musicians or members of their road crew were injured in the incident.