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NEAL MORSE - 'LIFE & TIMES'
16th February 2018
Now in his mid-fifties and his children grown up, there is a sense on his new album, LIFE & TIMES, that Morse is looking around and taking stock. "I've come through a lot of difficult times and I'm in a fairly content place now," he says. "You can feel that on some of the songs." Much of this ‘acoustic-orientated, singer/songwriter' album was written while he was travelling around the world on "The Road Called Home" tour in 2017, with some of the songs being inspired by the places he visited, while others are from spending time with his family.
For example, "Manchester" is a musical portrait of that notorious rarity—a sunny day in Manchester, England—when Morse was sitting in a coffee shop watching the world go by. "Selfie in The Square" captures what he saw walking around Luxembourg City, hearing the cathedral bells and children playing, but realizing what a difference it makes to share these experiences. "Luxembourg was really nice, but I knew that if my wife was there, it would feel like a holiday, so I wrote a song about it to send to her," he explains.
Some of these slice-of-life portraits also resonate with other people's heartaches, such as "Joanna," which focuses on Morse's son dealing with the loss of a relationship and— most poignantly—"He Died At Home," about a mother's grief over the loss of her soldier son.
LIFE & TIMES gives listeners the chance to hear a different but equally powerful side of this artist's musical heart.
Good Love Is On The Way
Selfie In The Square
He Died At Home
She's Changed Her Mind
Wave On The Ocean
You + Me + Everything
If I Only Had a Day
Produced by Neal Morse.
All songs written by Neal Morse except Manchester written by Neal Morse and Geoff Bailie.
NEAL MORSE REVEALS HIS 'LIFE & TIMES' ON NEW SOLO ALBUM
17th November 2017
REVEALS HIS 'LIFE & TIMES'
ON NEW SOLO ALBUM
DUE OUT FEBRUARY 16 ON RADIANT RECORDS
November 17, 2017 -- "I didn't get into music because I wanted to be a big success…I originally went after music because I simply loved it. There wasn't anything else for me. Nothing moved me like music did, and my hope had always been to move people as I had been moved." — NEAL MORSE
Truer words never spoken by MORSE, who will prove his own personal theory right with his latest solo album, LIFE & TIMES, which will be released February 16 on Radiant Records via Metal Blade Records/SONY on all digital outlets, as well as CD and vinyl. Pre-orders will be available on Radiant Records' website starting December 12.
Widely regarded as one of the world's leading progressive rock ("prog") musicians, there is now no doubt that NEAL MORSE is a "big success," but his desire to move people through his music burns brighter than ever. Now in his mid-fifties and his children grown up, there is a sense on LIFE & TIMES that MORSE is looking around and taking stock.
"I've come through a lot of difficult times and I'm in a fairly content place now," he says. "You can feel that on some of the songs." Much of this 'acoustic-orientated, singer/songwriter' album was written while he was travelling around the world on "The Road Called Home" tour in 2017, with some of the songs being inspired by the places he visited, while others are from spending time with his family.
For example, "Manchester By the Sea" is a musical portrait of that notorious rarity—a sunny day in Manchester, England—when MORSE was sitting in a coffee shop watching the world go by. "Selfie in The Square" captures what he saw walking around Luxembourg City, hearing the cathedral bells and children playing, but realizing what a difference it makes to share these experiences. "Luxembourg was really nice, but I knew that if my wife was there, it would feel like a holiday, so I wrote a song about it to send to her," he explains.
Some of these slice-of-life portraits also resonate with other people's heartaches, such as "JoAnna," which focuses on MORSE's son dealing with the loss of a relationship and— most poignantly—"He Died At Home," about a mother's grief over the loss of her soldier son. As MORSE says, "I had been praying for a roommate of a friend of mine, who was a troubled ex-military guy. The day we were playing in Paris, I woke up to a text saying that sadly, he had died. As I began formulating ideas for a song about him, I remembered that many years ago, I had been at a meeting at a military base in Tennessee. They asked us to pray for their men because almost every week they were going to the funeral of those who had 'died at home.'"
The power of the song that MORSE eventually crafted has moved people in ways that he could never have imagined: "Because of the idea for the song, I was researching soldier suicides online and found an article about a young soldier named William Busbee. He came back from Afghanistan in 2012, and then committed suicide. The video director contacted Libby Busbee, his mother, who listened to the song and was so moved that she is contributing photos of William to put in a video we'll be sharing very soon." The song also had quite an impact when it was premiered at Morsefest 2017, where it was very much the talk of the festival.
Born in 1960 to a musical Californian family, MORSE played in many bands during his youth. He learned and mastered several instruments along the way. In 1995, he wrote and recorded THE LIGHT with his new band, Spock's Beard. It was an album grounded strongly in the then-unfashionable progressive rock genre. The album and title song became modern prog classics, and began to bring MORSE and the band global recognition. In 2000, he also joined forces with Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater), Pete Trewavas (Marillion) and Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings) to form Transatlantic, a prog supergroup that went on to win the PROG Magazine Award for "Album of the Year."
NEAL MORSE's solo work has focused almost entirely on music with a strong message of redemption, beginning with 2003's TESTIMONY—a two-disc musical account of his spiritual journey--and most recently with The Neal Morse Band's PROG Magazine Award nominee, THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM, based on John Bunyan's classic allegory, The Pilgrim's Progress.
In touring news, MORSE is hoping to move more people with these songs at some "absolutely solo" shows in cafes and small venues throughout the U.S. and Europe in 2018. Check out NEAL MORSE at the following tour stops (with more dates to be added in the coming weeks on his official website):
Up and over... now the BIG ONE! The first of its kind. The juggernaut flagship masterwork from The Neal Morse Band -- The Similitude of a Dream. This is the double concept album fans of progressive rock have been waiting for, whether they know it or not.
This is the second studio release from the collective minds of prog legends Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy with their resident cohort Randy George and relative newcomers Eric Gillette and Bill Hubauer.
Mike Portnoy says, "OMG...I am BLOWN AWAY.. I am completely FLOORED...By the time I was rounding the album's grand finale, the goosebumps were so overwhelming I actually uncontrollably wept like a baby!!! (I swear.....) In my 30+ year career, I consider myself to have made 2 masterpiece concept albums: Dream Theater's Scenes From A Memory & Transatlantic's The Whirlwind...
Ladies & Gentlemen, In my opinion, we have ABSOLUTELY TOPPED them both! THIS is THE ALBUM of mine (& Neal's) careers...it's so monumentally EPIC and perfect in every way...."
Clocking in at over 100 minutes on 2 CDs, this amazing piece of prog storytelling will leave you breathless, exhilarated, amused, and fulfilled in a way that only inspired music can.
City of Destruction
We Have Got to Go
Makes No Sense
Draw the Line
Back to the City
The Ways of a Fool
So Far Gone
Breath of Angels
Total Time 51:59
Slave to Your Mind
Shortcut to Salvation
The Man in the Iron Cage
The Road Called Home
Broken Sky/Long Day (Reprise)
Total Time 54:36
The Similitude of a Dream is available in 5 formats:
Special Edition 3 Disc Digipack (2CDs and "The Making of a Dream" DVD)
LP Vinyl with 3 LPS & 2 CDs included in the package
THE NEAL MORSE BAND-singer/guitarist/keyboardist Neal Morse, drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist Randy George, keyboardist Bill Hubauer and guitarist Eric Gillette-released their highly anticipated and critically acclaimed double-disc concept album, THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM, November 11, 2016 on Radiant Records distributed by Metal Blade Records/SONY. It's the eighth studio album with Morse, Portnoy and George, and the second as a true collaboration with this current lineup.
Clocking in at over 100 minutes, THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is available in various formats: a two CD package, a Special Edition with the two CDs and "The Making Of A Dream" DVD, or as three vinyl records along with two CDs.
Later this month, THE NEAL MORSE BAND's once-in-a-lifetime concert event, Morsefest 2015, will be released March 24 on Radiant Records distributed by Metal Blade Records/SONY as either 2 Blu-ray discs, or 2 DVDs with 4 CDs. Digital downloads of the music portion will be available from Radiant Records in uncompressed audio, and on iTunes.. Sonically, outstanding audio is delivered by veteran mix engineer Rich Mouser, who has mixed every frontline Neal Morse, Spock's Beard, and Transatlantic album.
In addition to both concerts, a one-hour documentary puts audiences behind the scenes for this epic event. Featuring candid moments from the band, other musicians, and crew-it's an engaging glimpse into the whirlwind staging of this event. Neal Morse's classic TESTIMONY album will also be available for first time on vinyl.
Free from the constraints of studio recording deadlines, Morse expanded his musical vision on Morsefest 2015 and augmented the already amazing Neal Morse Band with live strings, five-piece horn section, orchestral percussion, female background singers and a full choir.
Over two nights (one on each video disc) in 2015, they perform new arrangements of material from Neal Morse's career. The two concerts span over five hours, venturing beyond the studio versions they're based on. In addition to complete performances of the SOLA SCRIPTURA and QUESTION albums, there are songs from Spock's Beard (featuring guest Nick D'Virgilio), Transatlantic, and surprises-including performances with guitar legend Phil Keaggy. Accompanied by extravagant visuals, including three video screens and live dancers, Morsefest 2015 is the most massive live release of Morse's career.
Now it's time for THE NEAL MORSE BAND to hit the road again in support of both packages. Their latest round of U.S. tour dates will launch August 17 in St. Paul, MN at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall, preceded by shows in Europe and other international shows to be announced soon.
NEAL MORSE: Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars
MIKE PORTNOY: Drums, Vocals
RANDY GEORGE: Bass
ERIC GILLETTE: Guitar, Vocals
BILL HUBAUER: Keyboards, Vocals
The journey of Neal Morse has seen three decades of musical accomplishments, the latest being the inception of THE NEAL MORSE BAND. The Los Angeles born Prog-Rocker Neal Morse (Spock's Beard, Flying Colors, and Transatlantic) has forged many relationships over the years. The most compelling and fruitful efforts have been those with Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs, Twisted Sister, Transatlantic, Flying Colors, and more).
Together the pair has launched four bands. But the band that has endured the longest and thus with the most musical output has been THE NEAL MORSE BAND. Over the years, Neal along with Mike Portnoy and Randy George always assembled musicians as needed to support Neal's solo music. In 2012, Neal with longtime bassist Randy George held auditions to find the musicians needed to fill out the band as a permanent lineup that would write music collectively. Bill Hubauer (keyboards, vocals) and Eric Gillette (guitar, vocals) joined the band after three days of auditions. They went on to release THE GRAND EXPERIMENT in 2014 followed by the ALIVE AGAIN live DVD/2 CD package in 2015.
Together, the five members are now embarking on THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM. This will be the eighth studio album with Morse, Portnoy and George, but the second as a true collaboration with this lineup.
As Neal Morse explains, "THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is loosely and sometimes directly based on the book, Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. The original title was The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To The That Which Is To Come; Delivered Under The Similitude Of A Dream, and it was originally published in 1678. The book chronicles the spiritual journey of a man from the City of Destruction to a place of deliverance. Someone had suggested to me that I do a concept album based on this book, but I kind of forgot about it. Then when I began writing new songs last December, the suggestion came to my mind. I had never read the book, so I Googled the SparkNotes story outline and began to write some little song bits and instrumentals based on what I had read. Those bits combined with the ideas that the other guys brought to the table then miraculously exploded into this double concept album. Funny thing is, this album only really covers about the first 75 or 80 pages. Maybe we should've made a five disc collection! Well, we'll save that for later. Ha."
"I honestly think this is THE album of my career," declares drummer Mike Portnoy. "Neal and I have now made 18 studio albums together, and I consider THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM the absolute creative pinnacle of our collaborations together. I've always had a soft spot for double concept albums such as Pink Floyd's THE WALL and The Who's TOMMY, and I can bravely say that I think we've created an album here that can sit side by side with those masterpieces. Bold words, I know, but after a career of almost 50 albums, I honestly consider this to be one of the defining works of my career."
"We weren't sure we had enough music to make a double CD, and yet it seemed as though the concept and the music wanted to go there," bassist Randy George continues. "Ultimately, we created so much great music in the sessions that it just had to be a double album! To cap that off, we worked with a pre-imminent classic album cover artist to create painted illustrations of our concept which will grace the booklet!"
THE NEAL MORSE BAND tours worldwide almost yearly and continues to grow in popularity, attracting new listeners everywhere they go. The band has toured in North America, Central America, Europe, Israel, Mexico and India. The shows are filled with excited and extremely loyal fans, some which have regularly traveled very long distances to see the band. The band has an extensive catalog of live shows on Blu-Ray and DVD as well.
THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM will be released November 11 on Radiant Records via Metal Blade Records/SONY, followed by a 35-plus date world tour THE NEAL MORSE BAND is mounting in 2017!
Welcome to the new website!
15th July 2016
Welcome to the new website for The Neal Morse Band! This is where we will bring together the many elements of the Neal Morse Band world as they occur!
At present we are in the mixing phase of the new album. We are really pleased with the results. This is going to be a concept album which tells an epic tale presented on 2 CD's. The band dug in and brought to the surface a wealth of new ideas and musical symmetries! And what prog concept album would be complete without artwork by an artist known for some very well known prog album covers!
It is with great excitement that we are bringing everything together along with the largest world tour we have ever done to date in a forthcoming press release! Stay tuned for details!