North Atlantic Oscillation: AUGUST

nao cover THE THIRD DAY

Praise of Caesar or the month or both?  I’m not sure.  Regardless, an incredible track from an equally inspiring album and always thoughtful and masterful band.  Enjoy track three from the forthcoming THE THIRD DAY.

The Mighty Handful!

A huge thanks to Gary Mackenzie for the incredibly nice and thoughtful note and for the first installment of STILL SITTING IN DANNY’S CAR.

It just arrived safely and somewhat wondrously at progarchy’s AllThing in Longmont, Colorado.  Eager to listen. . . .

The Mighty Handful.  Of what, I'm not sure.  But, I'm excited to find out.

The Mighty Handful. Of what, I’m not sure. But, I’m excited to find out.

More (Big?) Big Big Train News–Updated

The newest member of Big Big Train, the extraordinary Danny Manners.  Photo used by kind permission from Willem Klopper.

The newest member of Big Big Train, the extraordinary Danny Manners. Photo used by kind permission from Willem Klopper.

Danny Manners, utterly amazing keyboardist and one of the two members of the band without hair, just posted this on Facebook:


The Saturday performance has sold out. There are some balcony seats (and a very few stalls seats) still available for the Friday performance:
(Or see for booking by phone.)

Please would anybody who already has tickets refrain from buying more until, let’s say, 15:00 BST on Tuesday (30th). We want to give priority to anybody who wasn’t aware that we were forced to make tickets available yesterday, earlier than scheduled.

Please also would new purchasers only buy for one night – if you want to come both nights, hold off buying for the other night until 15:00 BST on Tuesday (30th). (People who will be travelling from abroad/a very long distance to the gigs excepted.) This is just to spread the love (and tickets) as fairly as we can…

We are likely to add a matinee performance on the Sunday (16th Aug 2015), but may not make a decision for a few days. King’s Place usually have a strict “no exchange” policy with regards to exchanging tickets for a different date. They may be willing to make exceptions in some cases, but you should not rely on that.

Earlier posts from Greg and myself explain why this situation has arisen, and offer our apologies…

Big Big Train Go Live

BBT live

You may have heard the news already. . . in fact, I’m guessing almost no one in the prog world has NOT heard the news. . . . but tickets for Big Big Train live, King’s Place, August 14-15, 2015, have gone on sale.  To purchase your tickets, go here:

As most of you probably know, started, in very large part, as an unofficial fan site for BBT, so we’re especially proud of the band and their desire to explore their music in a live setting.

[My own desire was for them to come to the U.S., but I'm happy to have them play live anywhere.  I worry a bit that I might have played a role in their deciding to play in the U.K. rather than the U.S.  Several years ago, I made Greg Spawton promise that if they played live in the U.S., they would do so sporting ZZTop beards as well as offering a performance of a double-length BBT blow out version of 2112.  It's quite possible that my then-forced promises are coming back to haunt me.--ed.]

Seriously, what wonderful news.  Passengers (that is, the name of BBT fans on Facebook) have flooded Greg Spawton’s announcement of the sale, which he posted 20 hours ago.  Considering that BBT represents the highest and best not only of the prog tradition, but of the rock and bardic traditions, the outpouring of enthusiasm from the prog world is quite understandable.

War Sucks

rush wind blows the wayAs an editor of, I have absolutely no right to publish this.  In fact, when the four founders of progarchy created the thing–almost exactly 2 years ago–we decided to avoid as much as possible the topics of politics and religion.  Each of us is a writer, and we spend way too much of our professional lives “talking” politics and religion to let either seep into our leisure activities.

But, here I am, breaking a cardinal rule.

I’m so, so sick of war.  I just recently turned 47, and almost all of my adulthood has seen my own country involved in some kind of war–here, there, everywhere.

My home country, the grand republic of the United States of America?  Well, we create and sell nearly 70% of the arms that exist in the world, and we have troops stationed (at various levels) in 150 out of nearly 200 countries.  What began as a noble experiment has been corrupted, abused, and destroyed from our own so-called leaders.  Bastards all.

In particular, I offer the nastiest gesture I can think of to the last four presidential administrations.

Neal Morse News

Hello all,

Greetings from Neal! I’d like to invite you to join me in a LIVE Q&A SESSION, TOMORROW (9/26/14), 10am (CST). I’ll be here: on Radiant Record’s Facebook page eagerly waiting to hear all of your questions about Morsefest! And hopefully, will be able to provide you with some answers as well. Get your questions ready! I look forward to chatting with you about this exciting event!

For the first time ever, you can join Neal in his home town for a two-day music festival! Special guests, like Mike Portnoy, will be joining Neal in performances of the entire “One” and “Testimony 1″ albums. Hear the music in the very place it was inspired! This weekend will be full of legendary status events such as:

  • an exclusive, free INNER CIRCLE ONLY acoustic set
  • VIP Meet and Greet with Neal and special guests
  • VIP contest of “Name that Tune” – PROG style with Mike Portnoy
  • special prizes… and so much more!

This is sure to be a once in a lifetime event that you do not want to miss! Make your travel plans to Nashville now for November 14-15!


Tickets on sale now at Radiant

(details here)

God bless,

Neal Morse

Forever Still @foreverstilldk — “Scars” — free song download

Now available: a free download of the new Forever Still song, “Scars.”

RochaNews: In Search of the Sun

In Search Of Sun
The World Is Yours
Raging Demon Entertainment
7 October 2014
LONDON, ENGLAND – U.K. rising rock/metal quintet, In Search Of Sun, has announced an October 7 release date for its debut album, The World Is Yours, to be released digitally via Raging Demon Entertainment.
Formerly known as Driven, The World Is Yours marks a significant step up in songwriting, production and maturity for In Search Of Sun, with head-bopping beats, epic choruses and ambient soundscapes replacing the groove-laden metalcore roots of its debut EP, ‘A Breakdown of Character.’ The album itself is built upon a foundation that’s been developing over the last three years, with the name change being the final piece of the puzzle in terms of crafting and sealing the band’s identity.
Commented the band, “The World Is Yours has been a while in the making, but it’s a big shift up for us in terms of direction and sound and we can’t wait to get out there and start playing these songs live. Expect an uplifting and hard-hitting journey through groove-ridden riffing and punching beats.”
The World Is Yours was produced by Phil Kinman at MTR Studios (Deadly Circus Fire, Tank, Paul Di’Anno) and mastered by Harry Hess at HBomb Mastering (Cancer Bats).

Track list:

01. The World Is Yours
02. Give In
03. 51 56
04. In Search Of Sun
05. Idle Crown
06. Burn
07. To The Axe
08. Skin
09. Draw The Line
10. The Eyes Behind I

New TransAtlantic Video and the Elegance of Second Nature

Radiant Records posted this just today.  Well worth watching and admiring.


Album cover of the year?  Rivaled only by Cosmograf's Capacitor.

Album cover of the year? Rivaled only by Cosmograf’s Capacitor.

Also, though I will offer a proper review soon, let me take this moment to praise the new Flying Colors’ album, Second Nature.  I thought the first album was a great AOR album.  It’s become my oldest son’s favorite album (all of the Birzers love everything Morse does, to be completely honest).  For me, it was amazing, but it should’ve and could’ve been a bit more so.

Not only is Second Nature “a bit more so,” it’s a HUGE bit more so.  I’m not even sure quite how to label it except as proggy-AOR or gospel AOR.

The song writing is excellent, but what really makes the album is the intertwining of McPherson’s and Morse’s vocals.  They seemed a bit stilted as a team on the first album.  On this album, they’ve clearly discovered how to play off of each other, to better the other.

The end result of Second Nature is something that can only be described as elegant.

Mark Judge reviews U2’s Songs of Innocence

u2 songs of innocence

Mark Judge gives us a great commentary on U2’s new album, in the form of a confessional review … and on his birthday, no less!

A taste:

If you were into some bad stuff in the 1980s, and a lot of us were, U2 could confront you like a tough, poetic, and compassionate priest. I remember spending a lost summer at the beach (in a house that would eventually be raided by police) and when I looked up out of the haze, I saw U2 performing “Bad,” one of the greatest anti-drug songs of all time, at Live Aid. The song was about a drug addict who eventually commits suicide. It’s a desperate, retroactive cry for the person to not throw himself away.

Thanks in no small part to U2, I avoided that fate. I gave up the mind enhancers and one night stands and became a Catholic. I also never lost my love for rock and roll, and now, thirty years later, with Songs of Innocence U2 has given us one of the best records of their career. They have kept true to the punk ethos of writing honestly about what’s in your heart and what you see as the truth. The album is smart and dynamic, diverse, and mesmerizing.

Like U2, I’m not afraid of making the grand statement — it’s probably just genetic to the Irish — and I think that Songs of Innocence is needed today. I mean that both in terms of the world and for me personally. America, which was always a source of musical inspiration for U2 as well as a kind of great spiritual hope, seems lost. The great progressive dream has resulted in more economic inequality, and political correctness imposes the kind of burden on free speech and thought that punk came along to destroy.

When I first fell in love with U2s music in the 1980s, I had my heart set on being a writer. I was from an Irish family that idolized Joyce and Yeats, which is probably why Bono fit so well into our pantheon of greats. For a time the dream of being a writer came true, but the reality of the digital revolution has made it a profession that can no longer be sustained. There is intoxicating freedom, but it simply doesn’t pay any longer. I have to take Bono’s advice. I have to surrender.

And yet, inside me is still that punk rock spark of hope — the idea that you can in fact do it yourself, keep your soul, flourish spiritually, and survive. It’s a feeling U2 addresses in “Cedarwood Road,” one of the best tracks on Songs of Innocence. It’s a recollection of how the band formed.


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