Straight from his hygge home in Sweden Nad Sylvan is happy to be announcing the release of his brand-new single “You’ve Got To Find A Way”, sending some hope and love out into this pandemic-ridden world to warm our hearts all over the globe.
After concluding the Vampirate’s trilogy, Nad now changes course on his upcoming fourth album by converting the poems of WB Yeats into music. The new album, entitled “Spiritus Mundi”, is due for release in early April 2021. “You’ve Got To Find A Way” will be a bonus track on the new album. The track functions as some kind of link between the trilogy and the new work. It’s a standalone track, not related to Yeats”s poems, but it very much showcases the new musical direction Nad has chosen to take.
“A pandemic love song; sprung from strumming my guitar for about a year, always returning to this tune. During this time, I had met that someone while being on the road right when the pandemic hit and I abruptly had to go home. I usually don´t write on guitar, which makes this song all the more special to me.”
This 2 CD / Blu Ray package is the latest release from the former Genesis guitarist who has, for the last 8 years, been repackaging and marketing his own version of his Genesis era history. Quite rightly so, when the rest of the original band are all doing decidedly different music these days.
This nostalgic revue is both commercially and musically viable and valid, people love these songs and Steve has both compiled a top notch supporting band and also tweaked the songs enough to bring their subtle tones and deep emotions to life. Steve’s tours invariably sell out and he has kept ticket prices to an affordable level thus making his shows accessible to many fans who may never have seen the original band. This latest release sees a return to Hammersmith after last year’s successful run of shows under the ‘Selling EnglandBy The Pound‘ and ‘Spectral Mornings‘ banner.
What’s different this time is that Steve has a new drummer who has replaced the departing long term member Gary O’Toole. He had occupied the drum stool for nearly 20 years and, whilst this hasn’t changed the sound, it has brought a fresh power to proceedings. Craig Blundell is the new man behind the kit and he certainly makes his presence felt on this album, adding new flourishes and also forming a solid, reliable rhythm section with bassist JonasReingold and, in doing so, creating a platform for Steve’s guitar to soar freely.
The show is divided into two separate parts, part one being a mix of ‘Spectral Mornings’ tracks and including three tracks from Steve’s latest album, ‘At The Edge Of Light’, these being Under The Eye Of The Sun, Fallen WallsandPedestals, and Beasts in Our Time. These add to the dynamics of the first half well, ‘Spectral Mornings’ being considered by many to be a crowning glory in Steve’s musical legacy or canon of recordings.
It’s an album that is certainly warmly received here at Hammersmith, the songs will be familiar to most so I don’t really need to comment on them to much except to state that all receive sterling performances here with contributions from both John Hackett on flute and Amanda Lehmann on guitar and vocals.
This section of the show is bookended with two of the tracks from ‘Selling England By the Pound’, namely, Dancing with The Moonlit Knight and an extended take on I Know What I Like, both of which are superb renditions, the latter giving Steve a chance to stretch out on the guitar.
The second part contains the remainder of SEBTP including an unreleased track, Déjà Vu, that was co-written by Peter Gabriel. Steve consulted with Peter who then gave his consent to a reworked, finished version and split the writing credits with Steve. As the track was omitted from the original album, its appearance here is most welcome indeed, it is a feisty and strong number that fits in well with the remaining tracks on SEBTP.
Also of note is the simply magnificent version of Firth of Fifth, a song that is as much about Steve as any other Genesis song. This is probably the best of the many live versions of this song that exist, somehow surpassing all the other versions including the orchestral version from last year’s Festival Hall recording, whilst that was great, somehow this is even better. I think that Craig Blundell’s drumming throughout gives the piece hitherto uncovered power, kick and bite and that elevates it above all the other takes released previously.
You could argue that every year brings a new release of old material and do we really need this one? My answer to that is a definitive Yes! These performances are from the heart and certainly satisfy demand and, whilst the original band are reluctant to perform these, Steve’s troop can certainly do so more than adequately and with conviction, power, dignity and grace. This set does that on every count, the blu-ray is a lovely addition and supplements the recordings with a crisp sound and sharp picture. The lighting used throughput the show is stunning and lighting operator Chris Curran certainly adds emphasis and dynamics in bringing his flair in making this a great visual show. This is made all the better with the sharpness that the blu-ray version delivers and the option of the 5.1 surround version that has been sympathetically mixed by Steven Wilson.
If you have enjoyed any of Steve’s previous live sets, then I certainly recommend this one to you there is so much to enjoy and relive here.
Following last year’s sell-out Genesis Revisited tour, prog icon and former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett, announces a 6-date UK tour in October. Treating fans to many favourite Genesis and Hackett numbers, this time Steve and his band will be accompanied by a 41-piece orchestra.
The decision to undertake this tour was cemented following the critical success of last year’s one-off US performance of the Genesis Revisited music with his band and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the charismatic Bradley Thachuk.
It went down a storm with the audience and sounded amazing, with the orchestra adding even more texture and colour to these classic tracks, prompting Steve to want to perform more shows in this way. Such was the gusto and verve brought to the performance by conductor, Bradley Thachuk that he will fly over to the UK to conduct the October shows. This show promises to be a transcendent experience!
Steve explains, “I always hoped that the Genesis music would one day involve an orchestra and I’m proud to say I’ll now be able to make that dream a reality on my next British tour, involving my own extraordinary rock band alongside a full-sized orchestra.”
The show will feature some of Genesis’ best-loved songs, including Supper’s Ready, Dancing with the Moonlit Knight, Firth of Fifth and more. Steve will not be neglecting his remarkable solo repertoire and there will be tracks included such as Shadow of the Hierophant, El Niño and The Steppes.
Tour details are as follows: –
Monday, October 1st Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
Wednesday, October 3rd Manchester Bridgewater Hall
Joining Steve on the tour are his regular musicians Roger King (keyboards), Gary O’Toole (drums/percussion), Rob Townsend (saxes/flutes) with Nad Sylvan on vocals. They will be joined on this tour by Jonas Reingold from The Flower Kings on bass.
“If, like myself, you are a child of the 80’s and loved the great classic and prog rock bands of that era or, if you just want to hear some fantastic songwriting and music, then you could, and should, listen to ‘The River – Both Sides of the Story’.”
I wrote these words about Italian virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and producer Marco De Angelis’ first album ‘The River – Both Sides of the Story’. Released in 2013, it was one of my favourite releases of that year. When I heard that he was writing new songs for the follow up I eagerly followed any updates.
Well, fast-forward to December 2017 and that sophomore album was upon us. ‘Next Station’ consists of six songs all written, arranged and performed by Marco and is enriched by the collaboration of vocal heavyweights such as Nad Sylvan ( steve Hackett Band, solo), Robbie Wyckoff (Roger Waters Band) and Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen, Karmakanic), percussion is courtesy of Cristiano Micalizzi, one of the most sought after drummers in Italy.
“Crazy dreamer, that’s the way they’re used to call you, ’cause your free will fills their life with fear..
Marco cites himself as being ‘Art Rock and Progressive Rock’ but I’d have to say there’s a huge dose of Classic Rock thrown in there as well, much like his debut release. Freewill has an involving introduction, all intricately ‘proggy’ before the velvet tones of Nad Sylvan give it a definitive authority. I love the elaborate instrumental fills, guitars, drums, bass and keys all making their presence felt but it is the cultured vocal that brings this song together. It’s catchy, edgy and quite jazzy in feel, as if Marco has been widening his musical horizons in a very good way. “Believing in them would make life easier, Though far more boring, Wouldn’t it Mr Captain.”
“Change alone is eternal, Perpetual, Immortal, Taking nothing for granted, It’s the only way to live…”
It’s a pretty impressive start to the album and things just get better with the blinding and bluesy Keep Going where Marco really lets rip with his elegant guitar technique on the slow burning opening to the song, the fiery solo is dynamic and soulful. This track has the most in common with that Floyd classic/hard rock vibe but has added layers of intensity and class thanks to Nad’s superb vocal delivery. Simona Rizzi and Cristiana Polegri give added shine with their ritzy backing vocals, especially on the great chorus. This track is six minutes of classy rock music, best listened to late at night with the lights down low and a glass of vintage red wine in your hand (other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are available), it oozes sophistication, the cultured close a fine accompaniment to the blues-filled intro.
“Sitting on a bus, here I am, Old memories in my ears, They saw me growing up, It looks like I’m home to me, here I am, Redolent streets my mind has already walked through, I almost recognize them…”
It may have a bit of an unwieldy, cliche filled title but A Proggy Night In London certainly delivers. By a country mile, the most progressive song on the album, split into five sections, it is a totally engrossing listen with Nad’s voice almost narrating events as the music meanders across your mind, an involving and ever changing soundscape. I have to say that Nad Sylvan gives one of the best (if not THE best) vocal performances I have ever heard by this great frontman, he really seems to be performing right at the top of his game and leads this track along its lengthy, nostalgic feeling journey. Marco performs all the other instrumental duties (Bar the drums) and seems to be everywhere at once, delivering guitar, chapman stick, bass and keyboards wherever they are needed. It is a musical tour-de-force as each section ends and segues perfectly into the next and it is one that you must listen to while still enjoying that glass of wine, this is music that tells engrossing stories and ones that you absolutely have to hear.
“Dream on, /dream on/, worn out heart of mine, Don’t let the darkness hide away our sun again, Wait for that glimmer of light on the horizon, Sometimes the light can be so hard to find…”
Laid back, bluesy and soulful, Back Again introduces Robbie Wyckoff to the vocal duties and his touching delivery matches the music perfectly. There’s an intimate atmosphere to this song, as if you’re sat in a small downtown bar, one of a handful of lucky people to hear such a personal performance. Marco fires off yet another incredibly impassioned guitar solo, all too brief to my ears and the soothing backing vocals from Simona and Cristiana just emphasise the intimate feel that this track engenders. The emphatic and electrifying guitar playing that helps to close out the song just makes the hairs on the back of your neck rise in utter appreciation.
“We all search for happiness, It’s what we always do, From the first breath that we take, ’till the last tear we’ll cry…”
Funky and edgy with cool, hard rock inspired riff, title track Next Station explodes onto the scene ready to take on all comers before realising it has no competition and taking a metaphorical step back to chill out with the rest of us in a funky progressive style. Robbie delivers a subtly powerful vocal performance, stylish on the verse and then forceful on the chorus, aided and abetted, once more, by Simona and Cristiana, “New day, New Life, New Pain, Next station on my road…”
Marco delves deep into his musical box of tricks to deliver a sublime instrumental section in the middle of the track and Cristiana lends her beautifully impassioned saxophone to the melting pot to add some real spirit and fervor. A wonderfully evocative smorgasbord of influences and themes is laid before you on this inventive nostalgic musical pilgrimage through Marco’s musical life to date.
“Some red wispy clouds, slipping over a light blue sky, a blazing sunset is about to be staged, A new night, a new day, A face on the wall to fly me away from here…”
Moments of near perfection like the utterly addictive and captivating guitar motif that opens Last Train are what makes music so incredibly appealing to me and why I still listen to hundreds of new albums a year to seek them out. I’m a huge fan of Göran Edman, his expansive vocal performances with Karmakanic are amazing but we hear a much more chilled and relaxed version here and it is magical, his link up with the backing vocals is sublime. The music transfixes you from one note to the next, a song that is calm, classy elegance personified, the vocals hypnotise and mesmerise and Marco’s guitar seems to have a wistful, almost intangible life of its own. What a way to close out the album!
I’l cut straight to the chase here, you’d best open that bottle of red you were saving for a special occasion as ‘Next Station’ is it. A collection of songs that are more than that, it’s a captivating and involving musical journey led by a musician at the absolute zenith of his career. I think Marco De Angelis, joined by a stellar cast of musical guests, has just delivered the performance of his life!
After deciding that he wasn’t busy enough touring with Steve Hackett, in 2015 Nad Sylvan signed a Solo contract with InsideOut music to bring us his first solo album, the excellent ‘Courting The Widow’. May 2017 sees the arrival of the eagerly anticipated follow up, ‘The Bride Said No’.
Whilst ‘Courting the Widow’ contained heavy overtones that were firmly routed in 1970’sBritish Progressive Rock, perhaps not surprisingly heavily influenced by Genesis, Nad has fairly and squarely put his own stamp on this new album whilst still acknowledging those influences. The album opens with Bridesmaids, a haunting melody played by Nad, with backing vocals from Jade Ell and Sheona Urguhart, which is used as a recurring theme throughout the record. It segues directly into The Quartermaster, a powerful song based around Nad’s exquisite keyboards which acts as an introduction to the Bride’s suitor and sets the plot for the story. It is also to be released as the first single and contains a very abrupt ending which caught me completely by surprise on first listen!
When The Music Diesis considerably more melancholic and shows off Nad’s vocal range to its imperious best. The story continues with The White Crown which has very strong Medieval overtones. Jonas Reingold’s distinctive guitar riff gives the song a harder edge and is a great contrast to Nad’s guitar throughout the rest of the track. What Have You Done is my personal highlight. It opens with gentle piano from Nad and backing vocals from Jade and Sheona with Jade also sharing the lead vocals with Nad beautifully. Steve Hackett and Guthrie Govan share the guitar duties with Steve starting the incredible soloing and they complement each other magnificently. Crime Of Passion follows and is a much more powerful song that still retains a wonderful melodic balance. A French Kiss in an Italiancafé begins with a tasteful guitar intro, Nad’s vocals then set the scene and we are led to a meeting with a stranger. Wonderful guitar work from Steve and Nad accompany the vocals along with Tony Levin’s ever expressive bass and there is a beautiful saxophone solo from Sheona to close the track.
The Bride Said No is the albums finale and at first glance is a nigh on 20 minute magnum opus. It lasts however 12 and a half minutes and magnificently concludes the album. Tania Doko this time shares the vocals with Nad who also contributes with a wonderful “Emersonesqe” solo added to more splendid guitar work and an incredible solo from Steve.
Drums and percussion are shared throughout by the excellent one-time Jethro Tull drummer Doane Perry and Big Big Train’sNick DiVirgilio. Bass is provided by Jonas Reingold (of Swedish progsters Kaipa) and Tony Levin. The vinyl edition is three sided with the fourth being occupied by an etch in the manner of his stablemates Kansas’ last album. Doubtless, in the 1970’s, the likes of Todd Rundgren would have squeezed this on to two sides of plastic but I for one am ecstatic that we have three sides of pure listening pleasure which I am counting down the days to receive.
Guitar virtuoso and rock legend, Steve Hackett (formerly of Genesis), releases his latest album The Night Siren on 24th March 2017 through InsideOut Music (Sony). As implied in the title, The Night Siren is a wake-up call… the warning of a siren sounding in this era of strife and division.
‘The Night Siren’ showcases Steve’s incredible guitar as strongly as ever, along with musicians from several different countries who Steve invited to join him in celebrating multicultural diversity and unity. This includes singers from Israel and Palestine, who both actively campaign to bring Jewish and Arabic people together. There are also instrumentals from the USA and Iraq and a multiplicity of sounds, including the exotic strains of Indian sitar and Middle Eastern tar and oud, the ethnic beauty of the Peruvian charango and the haunting Celtic Uilleann pipes.
Steve is widely travelled, making friends everywhere he goes and has always embraced multicultural diversity. In these times of unrest, he has been inspired to express his belief that the world needs more empathy and unity. His wish to involve a range of musical sounds, instruments, musicians and singers from different parts of the world is both a development of his eclectic approach to music and shows how people can be brought together, even from war torn regions.
Talking about his latest work, Steve says, “This latest waxing represents a bird’s eye view of the world of a musical migrant ignoring borders and celebrating our common ancestry with a unity of spirit, featuring musicians, singers and instruments from all over the world. From territorial frontiers to walled-up gateways, boundaries often hold back the tide. But while the night siren wails, music breaches all defences. To quote Plato, ‘When the music changes, the walls of the city shake’.”
The musical journey takes us from ‘Behind the Smoke’, focusing on the plight of refugees throughout the ages, to the penultimate track ‘West to East’ which reflects on the damage of war and the hope for a better world. From personal to universal, the themes celebrate the life force, breaking free from chains of repression.
Full Track Listing:-
Behind the Smoke
Fifty Miles from the North Pole
Other Side of the Wall
Anything but Love
In Another Life
In the Skeleton Gallery
West to East
In addition to singers Kobi and Mira (Israeli and Palestinian), also featured on the album are Nick D’Virgilio (drums) from the USA, Malik Mansurov (Tar) from Azerbaijan & Gulli Breim (drums & percussion) from Iceland, along with regular Hackett collaborators: Roger King, Nad Sylvan, Gary O’Toole, Rob Townsend and Amanda Lehmann. Additional musicians who add to the rich flavour of the album are Christine Townsend (violin & viola), Dick Driver (double bass) and Troy Donockley (Celtic Uilleann).
Steve Hackett is returning with an exciting new show Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett for a 15 date UK tour in April 2017. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic Genesis album Wind and Wuthering, Steve and his band will be performing several tracks from the album as well as fan favourites such as ‘The Musical Box’ and other Genesis numbers never performed before by Steve’s band including ‘Inside & Out,’ ‘One For The Vine’ and ‘Anyway’ as well as material from The Night Siren.
Former Genesis guitarist and prog legend Steve Hackett is returning with an exciting new show for a 15 date UK tour next spring after his outstanding performance at this year’s inaugural Stone Free Festival.
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic Genesis album Wind and Wuthering, Steve and his band will be performing several tracks from the album as well as fan favourites such as ‘The Musical Box’ and other Genesis numbers never performed before by Steve’s band such as ‘Inside & Out’ and ‘Anyway’.
“I’m excited to bring my latest show involving a new set of Genesis and Hackett numbers to the UK in 2017!” – Steve Hackett
With an established solo career spanning over 40 years, Steve will also be performing some of his popular hits such as ‘The Steppes’, ‘Serpentine’, ‘Every Day’ and the first ever live performance of ‘Rise Again’ from his 1999 album Darktown. Steve will also be introducing fans to new music from his forthcoming album, which is due out early spring 2017.
Joining Steve on the tour are musicians Roger King (keyboards), Gary O’Toole (drums/percussion), Rob Townsend (saxes/flutes), Nick Beggs (bass, stick & twelve string) and Nad Sylvan on vocals.
Since the 1970’s Steve has had a remarkable musical career, releasing more than 30 solo albums, seven Genesis albums and working alongside Steve Howe of YES with supergroup GTR. Renowned for being one of the most innovative rock musicians of our time, in 2010 he was inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame.
Continuing to impress with his outstanding live shows ‘Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett’ is a tour not to missed in 2017.
Tickets for UK shows go on sale on Friday 7th October at 10am from myticket.co.uk and venue box offices. Dublin tickets go onsale on the same day at 9am.
Better known recently as the voice behind Steve Hackett’s ‘Genesis Revisited’ live show, Nad has had a varied career as a solo musician and as part of the musical projects Unifaun and Agents Of Mercy. ‘Courting the Widow’ is his first solo effort since 2005 and was quite a revelation to me. It is full of traditional progressive rock pointers yet it is Nad’s voice that carries the album all the way through. A concept album about his stage persona, The Vampyre. Featuring a plethora of guest musicians including Steve Hackett, Nick Beggs, Roine STolt and NickD’Virgilio if you like well written, story driven music (and a touch of Genesis), you’ll love this.
Pink Floyd’s guitar maestro releases his first solo album since ‘On an Island’ and it is a good one. There’s been a lot of discussion about the prominence of the older, established artists recently and how they are perhaps taking the attention from the new and up and coming acts (I put my hand up to being one who is worried by it) but, surely, they can exist together. If these older, nostalgic acts weren’t around, what music would we have listened to in the first place? Nothing new or different but polished and comfortable, like your favourite shoes, I find myself returning to it quite frequently.
Canadian band Hillward started off as Southern Cross’ side project with three of its members, David Lizotte, Jean-François Boudreault and Antoine Guertin. The band became one of its own when Alexandre Lapierre joined as a second guitar player after the recording of the first album ‘Flies In Amber Stones’.
Progressive metal with alternative undertones, its powerful and dynamic sound is really quite addictive as it pulses and resounds with heavy riffs, potent drumming and aggressive vocals.
The eagerly awaited follow up to 2014’s eponymous debut album is a cornucopia of progressive, classical, experimental, ambient, jazz and pop influences that create the band’s unique style. Emotive and full of energy it is the fruit of 2014’s live performances and the way that playing live tightened up the band’s sound and evolved them into a tighter unit.
Perhaps a tad incohesive and self-indulgent in places, it is still, nevertheless, a great Prog-Rock release.
Australia’s Caligula’s Horse release their third album of raw, honest, and yet skillful, progressive, alternative rock. Vibrant and dynamic, the band are like a force of nature and their music is not for the faint hearted whilst being energetic, grand and forthright.
This is their most vivid, vibrant and emotional work to date and should see them break through and become one of the leading lights of the genre, full of colour and life.
Following my review of the band’s ‘Travelog’ album last week, I have the pleasure of introducing their first release from 2009. ‘Powered by Light’ follows in the tradition of the progressive rock giants of the 1970s, heavy with symphonic keyboards and virtuoso guitar work, Kinetic Element takes the listener on a lightspeed journey of the heart, full of great evocative passages.