This is a bit of an experiment. Rather than album reviews, I am presenting a playlist of music that you may not otherwise have heard to introduce the artists to a wider audience.
All three of these albums are solid albums, and I'd recommend them highly.
There are links below each video clip that will take you to Amazon if you are interested in purchasing them.
Spock's Beard are a progressive rock band formed in 1992 in Los Angeles by brothers Neal (keyboards, lead vocals) and Alan Morse (guitars, backing vocals).
The pair teamed with fellow musicians Nick D'Virgilio (drums) and Dave Meros (bass) and released their debut album, The Light, in 1995. The quartet were later joined by veteran keyboardist Ryo Okumoto. Neal Morse departed in 2002, although the band continues to tour and record (currently fronted by singer Ted Leonard, with Jimmy Keegan replacing the departed Nick D’Virgilio on drums).
The song is from their fifth album, V, and demonstrates the band’s adept mixing of pop, metal and progressive elements in one of their trademark epics. This is one of my favorite albums.
SPOCK'S BEARD-AT THE END OF THE DAY
I was introduced to the band with their fourth album, and could hear spirituality in the lyrics, especially evident (I believe) on this song.
I love the imagery of the line "at the end of the day, you'll be lying in a suit of gray."
I found it interesting when Neal Morse left the band to pursue a solo career in Christian music, as I thought there was plenty of divine inspiration shining through the typical Beard lyric...but it did end up making a lot more great prog music available to me.
Musically, Neal's solo efforts are solid progressive rock efforts, and lyrically, I feel he gives a far better spin (much more personal and introspective) than the typical Christian song, which often sounds to me like a church hymn. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, but not necessarily what I want to listen to on the morning commute.
Here is the title track from Neal's latest studio album.
In 1999, Neal teamed up with Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings, and Pete Trewevas of Marillion, to form the progressive 'supergroup' Transatlantic. They released two albums, but seemed to be defunct after Neal went solo.
To my delight, they returned in 2009 with their third album, The Whirlwind, which is another one of my favorite albums. 2014 saw the release of Kaliedoscope, another solid effort, and I am hoping for a live album and DVD (which has been their pattern to date).
I am presenting an excerpt from the live document of the Whirlwind tour to give you an idea of what this sounds like-the full studio album is the next clip, but be warned-it's the full eighty minute epic!
TRANSATLANTIC-THE WHIRLWIND (MEDLEY)
TRANSATLANTIC-THE WHIRLWIND (WHOLE ENCHILADA)
That's it for today...but this barely scratches the surface of the progressive music that is being released today.
I am curious how many people had the stamina to listen to the songs in their entirety?