Big Big Train–What’s Next? I Have No Idea.

bbt_railway_logoI would assume that almost every reader of progarchy was surprised today by the announcement that Big Big Train would be releasing a new album in less than 48 hours. The band rightly offered PROG magazine an exclusive announcement as well as a link to one of the songs.

I’ve only criticized PROG once and that was when the magazine featured Steven Wilson on the cover rather than BBT. I think. In fact, I might have a few details mixed up in my head. This would’ve been back in 2013 when ENGLISH ELECTRIC FULL POWER came out. I was convinced then–and remain so–that EEFP was NOT just a “game changer” in the music world, but a defining point for all of rock. I thought that Ewing and PROG had lost a great opportunity to make history by placing BBT on the cover.

Well. . . I guess I was being a bit goofy at the time. After all, it’s Jerry’s magazine, not mine! After that criticism, I decided never to criticize the magazine publicly. After all, I’m writing for fun, not to keep afloat a magazine and a business. Hail, Jerry!

Ok, back on point.

We’re probably all a bit surprised by the new BBT album. Pleasently surprised, but surprised.

Equally surprising is the part in the announcement that this forthcoming album ends the sequence of English pastoral prog albums that began with UNDERFALL YARD. Greg and other members of the band have hinted at this from time to time, but this is the most blatant statement regarding this I’ve seen from the band.

I must admit, I have to scratch my head a bit at this. After all, BBT–at least to me–isn’t English pastoral prog in the vein of Genesis–it’s JUST PROG! Or, as the English might say (at least in the imaginations of Americans who pretend to know something about the English!), it’s JUST BLOODY PROG! As Jerry Ewing is the leader of the movement, BBT is the standard bearer.

If BBT writes it, records it, and releases it, it’s prog.

So, what’s next? Well, I don’t have a clue. But, I know it will be amazing. Absolutely and utterly and completely amazing.

What else is next? The ending of a chapter in prog history, bookended by THE UNDERFALL YARD and THE SECOND BRIGHTEST STAR.

This, however, is a post for another day.

One thought on “Big Big Train–What’s Next? I Have No Idea.

  1. Michael Bowler

    I think the themes based around the history of England, expressed through archeology, industrial revolution and folklore are a valid argument for the pastoral descriptor. Personally I can hear references to Genesis, Yes, VDGG and sometimes King Crimson and Camel, in particular, who all used to be part of the rock music scene which subsequently became labelled as prog. Stackridge and Fairport Convention’s 70s work could easily be put in a similar box, but what the band mean by putting The Underfall Yard through to The Second Brightest Star is that the songs were all about England, it’s history and folklore and some of the characters who made it what we all wish it would revert to. They are going to release songs defined by a wider geographical influence in future, call it prog if you must, for me, it is Big Big Train and it is a band that Ticks all my boxes.



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