Kruekutt’s 2022 Favorites

A few notes before I dive in: items I’ve reviewed here are linked to the relevant Progarchy article via the artist/album title; If I didn’t review an item here or elsewhere, it’s marked with an asterisk (*) — but I hope the capsule description and listening/order links will encourage you to check it out!

My favorite new music of 2022:

  • Dave Bainbridge, To The Far Away: A thrilling, ravishingly beautiful album about love, longing, hope and a future. Lyrics of rich simplicity cradled in a lush orchestral blend of rock, prog and Celtic folk. My interview with Bainbridge is here.
  • Big Big Train, Welcome to the Planet: what turned out to be BBT’s final effort with the late David Longdon consolidates the widened horizons of Grand Tour and the intimate subjects of Common Ground, casting an epic light on the everyday glory of family, community, joy and loss.
  • Cosmograf, Heroic Materials: Elegiac in its evocation of past achievements, urgent in its contemporary call to action, breathtaking in its poised blend of fragility and strength, Robin Armstrong’s latest is a riveting listen.
  • The Flower Kings, By Royal Decree: TFK’s third double album in a row, this is the sound of Roine Stolt and company refreshed and revisiting their optimistic roots, soaring on the wings of one marvelous melody after another. As much a joy to hear as it must have been to create.
  • Mary Halvorson, Amaryllis & Belladonna: free jazz guitarist Halvorson hits a major label with two albums — teaming with a boisterously simpatico sextet on Amaryllis, then dancing atop and around modern classical textures from the Mivos Quartet on Belladonna. Audacious and engrossing, this music will open your ears real good!
  • Dave Kerzner, The Traveller: confident, appealing songwriting with hooky yet sophisticated melodies and structures, Kerzner’s best, widest ranging vocals to date and perfectly judged contributions from a stellar guest list. Letting his new songs sell themselves and keeping proceedings to the point, he both satisfies us and leaves us wanting more. 
  • The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Cold As Weiss: An immediately accessible reboot of a classic jazz trio format. Organist Lamarr, guitarist Jimmy James and drummer Daniel Weiss are thrilling players who never fail to make their instruments sing. Funky, catchy bite-size tracks with great individual playing and razor sharp ensemble. 
  • Marillion, An Hour Before It’s Dark: The front half of Los Marillos’ latest has more swagger than they’ve mustered in a while; the back half’s meditative downshift climaxes with the sweeping smashcut finale “Care,” as power chords and massed choirs climb heavenward. Unique as anything in their catalog, and another thoroughbred winner.
  • Pure Reason Revolution, Above Cirrus: this fifth album reveals PRR at their best, consistently upping their game to the next level. For every moment of blissful harmonies and glidepath atmospherics, there’s an equal and opposite moment of feral guitar/drum slammin’ — and when they layer the two together, look out! Well worth buckling up for the ride.
  • The Smile, A Light For Attracting Attention: A Radiohead side project worth your while. Thom Yorke overflows with apocalyptic dread; Jonny Greenwood’s off-kilter instrumental instincts are keener than ever; Tom Skinner’s skittering beats relentlessly drive the grim, lush soundscapes forward. Music for our contemporary dystopia, irresistibly sucking you in.
  • Tears For Fears, The Tipping Point: Roland Orzbaal & Curtis Smith’s catchy-as-always comeback goes for catharsis via unstoppable rhythms, unforgettable choruses and naked vulnerability on every single track, Devastatingly gorgeous, uncompromising art-pop that will haunt you long after every listen.
  • And my Top Favorite of the year — Wilco, Cruel Country. A double set that detours from Jeff Tweedy’s thoughtful dad-rock toward Nashville and Bakersfield, the tactile interplay of the band and Tweedy’s quizzical, empathetic probes of societal alienation elevate this to an album of genuine tenderness and subtlety, gathering strength and heart as it unrolls. After a digital-only release this year, it’s finally coming out on LP and CD January 20!

My favorite reissues of 2022:

  • The Beatles, Revolver Special Edition*: No Revolver, no Sergeant Pepper — no prog? Regardless of what ifs, the Fabs’ great leap forward of 1966 was brilliant in its own right, dragging pop headlong toward the avant-garde. Here it gets a subtle yet effective remix, with fascinating studio outtakes framing the cutting-edge results.
  • Tim Bowness & Giancarlo Erra, Memories of Machines: an irresistible mix of unflinchingly intimate art-rock and lowering ambient backdrops. Ten years on, original arrangements and track lengths are restored, Erra’s textural work is inched forward — and as always, Bowness breaks your heart with his ringing couplets and his stoic voice.
  • My Top Favorite Reissue of the year: Robert Fripp, Exposure/Exposures. The guitarist’s 1979 return to active duty after a post-King Crimson sabbatical, binding together a disparate set of songs and guest artists with his innovative ambient Frippertronics. Whether by itself or as part of a gargantuan box set that chronicles Fripp’s entire “Drive to 1981,” it’s a wild, worthwhile listen in and of itself, while providing distinctive previews of coming attractions.
  • Marillion, Holidays in Eden Deluxe Edition*: my introduction to the band (I first saw them live on the US tour promoting the album), Holidays was partially a product of record company pressure for hit singles, but it also has plenty of Marillion’s trademark ambition, power and lyricism. A fresh remix complemented by exciting live shows on both audio and video.
  • Soft Machine, Bundles*: Add blazing young guitarist Allan Holdsworth to one of the pioneering British jazz-rock bands, stir in quirky compositions by keyboardists Karl Jenkins and Mike Ratledge, and stand by for fireworks! This fresh reissue also includes a hot live set featuring Holdsworth’s successor John Ethridge (still active with the Softs today).
  • Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Super Deluxe Edition*: The album that put Wilco on the map (after they were dropped by their label), YHF mutated from Americana through dream-pop to electronica-tinged folk-rock as band members and producers came and went. Eight discs that copiously chronicle the recording process, plus blistering two live sets.

My favorite (re)discoveries of 2022:

My favorite live album of 2022: Big Big Train, Summer Shall Not Fade*. Equal parts power and grace, BBT’s 2018 headlining gig at Germany’s Night of the Prog may be their best live release yet. Playing to their largest crowd ever, David Longdon commands the stage; Greg Spawton and Nick D’Virgilio provide a muscular foundation; Dave Gregory, Rikard Sjobom, Danny Manners and Rachel Hall serve up one delightful moment after another. Bryan Morey’s review nails it; this is indispensable.

My favorite rock documentary of 2022: In The Court of the Crimson King: King Crimson at 50*. The most unconventional band of the last five decades gets the most unconventional documentary possible. Crims past and present weigh in on “living, dying, laughing, playing and rocking out”, with Robert Fripp providing the ever-present focal point in a particularly puckish fashion. There’s also a deluxe edition with live Crimson video (both in the studio and at 2019’s Rock in Rio festival) and four bonus CDs of soundtrack cuts, rarities, etc.

My favorite books about music of 2022:

  • Vashti Bunyan, Wayward: Just Another Life to Live. Singer-songwriter Bunyan’s unlikely late-60s odyssey from Swinging London to the Hebrides forms the heart of this evocative narrative. Laboriously traversing the heart of England, she gains understanding of the natural world, of human kindness and cruelty — and of her own sturdy inner core.
  • Dan Charnas (with musical analysis by Jeff Peretz), Dilla Time: The Life And Afterlife Of J Dilla, The Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm*. In Charnas’ telling, Dilla emerges as an innovator who laid down new paths for neo-soul and conceptual hip-hop, via his subtle yet unsettling variations on previously straight-up rhythms. Peretz’s equally innovative graphic depictions of rhythmic innovations across the decades buttress the page-turning narrative.
  • Robert Fripp, The Guitar Circle*. More a philosophical tome than a how-to book, though still remarkably practical, Fripp’s highly conceptual explanation of his process (as unfolded in Guitar Craft courses and Guitar Circles) won’t be for everyone. But those who dig in will grasp where this eternally questing musician is coming from better than ever before.
  • David Leaf, God Only Knows: The Story of Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys And The California Myth*. The third edition of Leaf’s lifework chronicles The Beach Boys’ journey from surf-rock through eccentric art-pop to the dead end of nostalgia, then sidesteps to Wilson’s solo comeback, culminating in the completion of his masterwork Smile. Not in the least objective, but comprehensive, even-handed toward the rest of The Beach Boys, and heartfelt.
  • Grant Moon, Big Big Train – Between The Lines: The Story Of A Rock Band. How BBT became a prog powerhouse — through sheer bloody-mindedness, growth in craft and a keen ear for musical contributors — is the tale told in this richly detailed bio/coffee table tome. Both a celebration of the music made and an unflinching look at the price paid for a dream.

And in closing . . .

If you’re interested, check out these recordings I played or sang on that were released in 2022:

— Rick Krueger

Bryan’s Best of 2022

This year has been an interesting one for me musically. For much of the middle of the year I was absorbed by older progressive metal music, primarily diving into back catalogs for Meshuggah, Pain of Salvation, TesseracT, and Caligula’s Horse. I found that I wasn’t as compelled by more traditional “prog rock,” at least not in its shorter forms. I did find myself enjoying some of the longer form tracks, like Lobate Scarp’s “Flowing Through The Change” and Ryo Okumoto’s “The Myth Of The Mostrophus.” Much of my favorite new music leaned towards post-progressive music, with a few more traditional picks thrown in as well. I’ve reviewed a lot of music this year and listened to far more, some of which would have made a best-of list in years past where I listened to less music. Alas.

The following order is relatively arbitrary apart from my top album at the end.

GH-2022-cover-1080px-PREVIEWGlass Hammer – At The Gate
The third record in Glass Hammer’s Skallagrim trilogy of fantasy albums doesn’t disappoint. In fact in may be the best of the trilogy. Equal parts heavy and proggy, I think my favorite parts are when the band goes full Rush. You don’t hear many bands really showing a mature Rush influence (as opposed to hearing elements of a Rush sound), and it was great to hear it on this album.

tangent-hard-shoulderThe Tangent – Songs From The Hard Shoulder
The Tangent returned this year with a collection of prog epics (and one R&B, disco, funk track), sure to thrill longstanding fans and possibly scare away the uninitiated. Check out my review of the album: https://progarchy.com/2022/06/28/album-review-the-tangent-songs-from-the-hard-shoulder/. Check out Rick Krueger’s interview with Andy Tillison, as well: https://progarchy.com/2022/05/27/andy-tillison-the-progarchy-interview/.

Lobate Scarp - You Have It AllLobate Scarp – You Have It All
This record was a long time in the making for Lobate Scarp and it’s mastermind, Adam Sears. The record masterfully blends prog with pop sensibility, all while bearing a strong Spock’s Beard influence. My favorite song is the 17-minute “Flowing Through The Change.” Beyond that, I’ve found many of the uplifting lyrics from other tracks running through my mind over the course of the year. Check out Time Lord’s review: https://progarchy.com/2022/05/06/album-review-you-have-it-all-by-lobate-scarp/.

a0006828710_10Dave Brons – Return to Arda
Dave Brons recently released a follow-up to his 2020 Tolkien-influenced record, Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost. Return to Arda looks at nature within Tolkien’s “Middle-Earth” through a celtic progressive rock lens. Featuring vocals from Sally Minnear, and mixing by Dave Bainbridge. Check out the album on Bandcamp: https://davebrons.bandcamp.com/album/return-to-arda.

Gabriel Keller - Clair ObscurGabriel Keller – Clair Obscur
I reviewed quite a few albums from France this year, and this record was my favorite of those. It contains a blend of English and French lyrics with multiple vocalists. The album has a variety of styles, gradually getting darker and heavier as it goes along. Check out my review: https://progarchy.com/2022/11/13/gabriel-kellers-stunning-musical-journey-clair-obscur/.

8716059014463-cover-zoomInhalo – Sever
I reviewed this debut album from the Dutch proggers for the Dutch Progressive Rock Page earlier this year, and it was a very pleasant surprise for me. It reminded me of TesseracT if they were playing just hard rock and not metal. Very atmospheric with a mature sound. I love their wall-of-sound approach. It’s a solid record, and I look forward to more music from the band. Check out my DPRP review: https://www.dprp.net/reviews/2022/071.

Big Big Train - Welcome to the PlanetBig Big Train – Welcome To The Planet
This record was bittersweet, being the final Big Big Train record to feature David Longdon on lead vocals. It was also an album of change for the band, with new member Carly Bryant taking a more prominent role on the record compared to Common Ground released a mere six months earlier. The record contains a pleasant blend of the band’s more accessible bits as well as their proggy moments. “Capitoline Venus” is a touching love song, while “Oak and Stone” fits in a long tradition of Big Big Train’s pastoral contemplative tracks. The title track is a bit unlike anything we’ve heard from the band, at least during Longdon’s tenure, reflecting Bryant’s new influence. It took me a few listens, as it took me by surprise at first. But once I “got” it, I really came to enjoy it. Check out my review: https://progarchy.com/2022/01/19/album-review-big-big-trains-welcome-to-the-planet/; and check out Rick’s review too: https://progarchy.com/2022/01/21/ricks-quick-takes-for-january/.

Big Big Train Summer Shall Not FadeBig Big Train – Summer Shall Not Fade
The band’s 2018 performance at the Night of the Prog in Loreley, Germany, has been a bit legendary amongst the band’s fans for years, and I suspect the band decided to release it this year due to Longdon’s tragic passing last year. The concert finds the “classic” lineup of the band playing at or near their best in front of a very large crowd. We’re reminded of how great a frontman Longdon really was. It’s a pleasant way to remember this part of the band’s history. Check out my review: https://progarchy.com/2022/11/05/big-big-train-summer-shall-not-fade/.

Bjørn Riis Everything to EveryoneBjørn Riis – Everything To Everyone
This record dominated my listening early in the year. Riis is an excellent guitarist, and his atmospheric rock is always compelling. Every one of his solo albums is worth listening to for his music, vocals, and lyrics. His albums are melancholic, like most of the progressive rock I’ve heard from Norway. Check out my review: https://progarchy.com/2022/05/09/album-review-bjorn-riis-everything-to-everyone/.

dt-lightwork-front-coverDevin Townsend – Lightwork/Nightwork
Devin may have gone quieter on Lightwork, but the album displays his talent as well as any of his records. His skills as a mixer, writer, composer, guitarist, and singer are on full display. The companion album, Nightwork, has some heavier moments, perhaps to soothe parts of his fan base. Either way, both records are great. Check out my review: https://progarchy.com/2022/12/22/devin-townsend-lights-the-night-lightwork-and-nightwork/.

meshuggah-immutableMeshuggah – Immutable
It has taken me close to a decade of listening to progressive metal before I was able to finally get into Meshuggah, and it happened this year! I’ve long known about them and respected them, but I just couldn’t get it. Maybe me getting into Devin Townsend’s more extreme side over the past couple years helped open that door, but I’m now a big Meshuggah fan. I could even hear a Meshuggah riff (from “Demiurge”) coming from my knife and cutting board when I was chopping celery last week. “Immutable” is a fantastic record, finding the band tweaking their sound a bit without changing their substance at all. “Broken Cog” is heavy, brooding, and atmospheric. The scream of “broken cog” close to the end is absolutely epic. Check out Mahesh Sreekandath’s review: https://progarchy.com/2022/11/25/immutable/.

Porcupine-Tree-–-Closure-ContinuationPorcupine Tree – Closure Continuation
I didn’t get into Porcupine Tree until after their hiatus following 2009’s “The Incident” and subsequent tours. I had no real expectations for this record, since Porcupine Tree has played a lot of different styles over the course of their long career. I kept an open mind, and I was highly rewarded. This album is pure Porcupine Tree without feeling like it’s trying to create a certain sound. It’s just what came about from the members writing and playing together on occasion over the past decade. Upon reflection, I think my dislike for some of Steven Wilson’s poppier solo work might be tempered if he continues to make music like this in other outlets. Check out Rick Krueger’s review of the band’s live show in Chicago: https://progarchy.com/2022/09/23/porcupine-tree-in-concert/.

marillion-ahbitd-1Marillion – An Hour Before It’s Dark
Another record that dominated my listening early in the year. This record is almost as good as 2016’s F.E.A.R. Perhaps not quite, but it is close. It’s one I’ll likely enjoy for years to come. Well written music and lyrics (for the most part – I have my beefs with one track) that ponder the turmoil of the last few years. It’s a hopeful album that has some calls to reflect and change our ways. In the end, it makes you think, as all good art should. Check out my review: https://progarchy.com/2022/03/27/we-still-have-time-marillions-message-of-hope-an-hour-before-its-dark/.

Oak - The Quiet Rebellion of Compromise1. Oak – The Quiet Rebellion Of Compromise
Oak never disappoint me. Their latest record finds them evolving their sound a little bit, but it is still definitively Oak. Their layered soundscapes, haunting vocals, and thoughtful lyrics have kept them at the top of my list of favorite newer bands since I first heard them in 2016, and they’ve only confirmed that for me with this record. They’re a band that deserves far more recognition from the prog world. Check out my review: https://progarchy.com/2022/12/14/oaks-third-masterpiece-the-quiet-rebellion-of-compromise/.


steven-wilson_limited-edition-of-one_bookMy favorite prog book of the year was Steven Wilson’s Limited Edition of One. Breaking the mold of rock artist memoirs, Wilson (and Mick Wall, who helped him in the writing process) created a post-modern masterpiece. I typically dislike anything deconstructive (in an academic sense), but Wilson turned it into an art form. He combines memories with lists of his favorite music, books, and movies along with more philosophical commentary on his career and on music in general. Check out my full review of the book: https://progarchy.com/2022/05/08/more-than-a-memoir-steven-wilsons-limited-edition-of-one/.

I only went to one concert this year: Steve Hackett. Interestingly, Hackett was the last concert I saw before governments shut everything down for Covid. The band played the Seconds Out setlist, along with some of his solo tracks. It was a brilliant show, with Hackett clearly demonstrating that his band is the best thing touring right now. He even released a live album from the tour that is well worth checking out. Check out my concert review: https://progarchy.com/2022/04/27/live-again-steve-hackett-plays-st-louis-4-26-22/. And check out Rick’s concert review too: https://progarchy.com/2022/05/06/steve-hackett-in-concert-from-spectral-surrender-to-seconds-out/.

This best-of list feels woefully incomplete considering how much excellent music was released this year… Muse, The Flower Kings, Six by Six, Ryo Okumoto, The Bardic Depths, Cosmograf – all great records, but the above list really captured my attention for one reason or another.

Hopefully 2023 will be another great year for prog. As usual for me, music has been an escape, a sedative, a lighthouse in the storm. With 2022 being one of the most difficult years of my life, music provided much needed comfort and direction over the course of the year. I suspect that will continue in the new year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone. Thanks so much for reading.

Big Big Train Release Live Video For “Snowfalls”

Big Big Train have released a live video of the current lineup performing deep cut, “Snowfalls,” at De Boerderij in the Netherlands a few months ago. The song was the B-side for the band’s Christmas song, “Merry Christmas,” released in 2017. It’s a great track, and the band did a great job with it at this show. It’s nice to see new singer Alberto Bravin in action.

Big Big Train – Summer Shall Not Fade

Big Big Train, Summer Shall Not Fade: Big Big Train Live At Loreley, 2022 (concert recorded July 13, 2018), Blu-Ray/2CD
Tracks: The First Rebreather, Folklore, A Mead Hall In Winter, Kingmaker, Summer’s Lease, Brave Captain, Prelude and Fugue, Judas Unrepentant, The Transit of Venus Across the Sun, The Permanent Way, East Coast Racer, Drums and Brass, Wassail

Big Big Train never cease to amaze me. While this release has been out for a couple weeks now, I’ve just gotten time to sit down and enjoy the band’s latest live recording, Summer Shall Not Fade. The live show marks the band’s first time playing in Europe, at the prestigious Night of the Prog festival in Loreley, Germany on July 13, 2018. It also marks a closing of the curtain for what I consider to be the band’s “classic” lineup. Sadly, David Longdon passed away just under a year ago, and Dave Gregory, Danny Manners, and Rachel Hall all left the band in 2020. With everyone present, this show really finds the band at their peak.

Musically, this show sounds good enough to be a studio recording. There may be a few hiccups, but they are indeed few and far between. Be it Nick D’Virgilio’s intricate and soulful drumming, Rikard Sjöblom’s rocking Hammond and guitar, Dave Gregory’s shredding… I could go on. They all sound great.

One of the things that really stands out to me in this performance is how David Longdon really came into his own as a frontman. Since the show was at an outdoor festival, the stage was pretty big, allowing this Big Big Band to spread out more than in their other live recordings. There is also a small runway, which allowed Longdon to get out closer to the audience. Rachel Hall even used it at one point during “A Mead Hall In Winter.”

An example of Longdon’s showmanship appears during the first track, “The First Rebreather,” when he breaks into maniacal laughter after the lyrics, “This man will walk into darkness / Without fear of what lurks in the shadows.” The editor of the Blu-Ray zooms the view in on David’s face, which is lit with red light. It also appears like his head gets bigger, exaggerating the impact of his disturbing laughter. It’s a small moment, but it brought a whole new element to the song, bringing the terror of the darkness to the forefront.

The performances themselves are stellar. D’Virgilio is ever the champ on the drum kit, as well as with his backing vocals. Danny Manners shined on the instrumental “Prelude & Fugue” leading up to “Judas Unrepentant.” It’s a nice way to remember his time in the band. Dave Gregory, who also left the band in 2020, shines throughout with his guitar-work. His work will certainly be missed moving forward, although I have full faith in Rikard Sjöblom and Dave Foster.

Speaking of Rikard, he was so much fun to watch. His Hammond solo in “A Mead Hall in Winter” demonstrates his importance in this band, and watching him headbang during “East Coast Racer” was total fun. Since Longdon’s tragic passing, I’ve come to see that the new core of the band moving forward is Greg Spawton, Nick D’Virgilio, and Rikard. Obviously the others will (and already have) contribute, but these will be the mainstays (I hope).

Rachel Hall also really came into her own as a performer in this show. She was connecting really well with the audience, and her vocals and violin added a lot to the overall sound.

The visuals on the recording are quite good. At the beginning of the show, the stage was poorly lit by the passing light of day (I know, I know, wrong band reference), causing the camera-work and editing to look somewhat amateurish. This went away a few minutes in after the sun fully set, allowing the stage lighting to bring a professional feel to the performance. The editor also made good use of cuts and split screens without making the show feel overworked. It all felt natural, especially with how they were able to include shots of the large screen of images behind the band.

The audio is stellar, especially for an outdoor venue. That’s either a credit to the mixing crew during the show or to Rob Aubrey in the mixing booth in preparation for this release – or both as I believe Aubrey handles mixing for their live shows as well. I haven’t heard the 5.1 mix since I sadly don’t have that setup, but the stereo mix sounds great. Both Gregory Spawton’s intricate deep end and the crystal-clear high end of the brass sound wonderful, and most importantly, they sound clear.

Summer Shall Not Fade is an excellent performance from the definitive and now lost lineup of one of the most important bands in the progressive music scene today. Any progressive rock fan should certainly give this a look, but fans of well-composed and expertly performed music should also take note. While it’s sad to say goodbye to Longdon, as well as the other members of the band who have left, I’m happy we get this live album to remember this chapter in the band’s memorable history.

https://www.bigbigtrain.com
Purchase (UK/Europe): https://burningshed.com/store/bigbigtrain/big-big-train_summer-shall-not-fade_2cd_blu-ray
Purchase (North America): https://thebandwagonusa.com/collections/big-big-train/products/big-big-train-summer-shall-not-fade-bluray-2cd-pre-order-only

Progarchy’s Band of the Decade – Big Big Train!

As we wind down our month-long celebration of Progarchy’s tenth birthday, we bring you our pick for the band of the decade – Big Big Train. For long term readers, this pick should come as no surprise. The original inspiration for this website came from a love and appreciation for Big Big Train and what they were doing.

To celebrate this Big Big Band, Progarchy’s editors (Chris Morrissey, myself, and Rick Krueger) have each written short essays that we hope touch on the band’s brilliance and importance in the progressive music scene today.

Chris Morrissey
A Grand Decade of Big Big Train: Reflections from Progarchy’s Resident Time Lord

It was the band’s freely offered download of “The Underfall Yard” that exercised a magnetic pull on so many potential listeners to Big Big Train. And then, once the track was downloaded and digested, those explorers were hooked for life. 

That was back in 2009. For me, it was the magic of David Longdon, now added to the band, that pushed their work into the upper echelon of prog artistry. 

And then, for me especially, “The Wide Open Sea” track on the Far Skies, Deep Time EP (2010) offered further proof that this was a band destined for eternal greatness.

And then the grand decade of Big Big Train ensued, from 2012 to 2022, which saw them soar ever higher. No wonder, then, that Progarchy.com came into co-existence, and rode along as prog passengers, chronicling this glorious time in prog music history

Big Big Train has been the engine drawing us all forward. It’s been an honor to track their musical arc here at Prograchy.com for the past ten years of glory. 

Thank you, everyone, for celebrating this, during our site’s anniversary month of Progtober, which has included celebration of the decade’s top albums, and also its top artists: HackettWilson; and Morse & Portnoy

I urge you now to kick back, take time off, and play through BBT’s back catalogue.

To help further your enjoyment of these happy musical memories, I point you to the wide collection of commentary which I have authored that resides here in the Progarchy archives:

Virtual liner notes for English Electric—Part 1 (2012)

Virtual liner notes for English Electric—Part 2 (2013)

My controversial commentary on English Electric Full Power (2013)

Virtual liner notes for Folklore (2016)

My ★★★★★ album review of Folklore (2016)

My ★★★★★ album review of Grimspound (2017)

My reflections on BBT, analog/vinyl, and Grimspound (2017)

As you can infer from the above, The Underfall Yard (2009), Far Skies Deep Time (2010), English Electric Part One(2012), English Electric Part Two (2013), Folklore (2016), and Grimspound (2017) are the six albums that will always be my favorite BBT albums. 

I was mildly annoyed when BBT again reworked material on The Second Brightest Star (2017) since it seemed to confirm some of my earlier misgivings. In retrospect, I see my complaints did not adequately take into account the sheer generosity of the band, a band which was being kind enough to admit us into the inner sanctum of the artist’s musical process. Musical excellence is always a work in progress—by constantly being workshopped and refined. I see now that BBT’s superabundant dynamism was something to celebrate, rather than quibble too much about.

I confess I took them for granted in the past few years, only to be shocked by David Longdon’s untimely death. Now I find myself returning to their superb recent albums that I didn’t appreciate enough to write about adequately on Progarchy.com: Grand Tour (2019), Common Ground (2021), and Welcome to the Planet (2022).

Over the past decade, if I had to pick a “top ten” list of ten albums that we editors of Progarchy could collectively designate as our officially designated and editorially endorsed canon, then I would simply gesture to the ten BBT albums I have just named above. I suspect my bandmates would agree.

—Chris “Time Lord” M. (on drums), who dedicates these BBT-focused musings on the grand decade (2012–2022) with gratitude to: Bryan M. (on lead guitar); Rick K. (on organ and keyboards)

Bryan Morey
“Following a Dream of the West”

I discovered Big Big Train back in 2013 with English Electric: Full Power. I was blown away, and I still am. A bit later I dug into The Underfall Yard, and then Folklore came out and I was really hooked. Ever since, their albums – both live and studio – have been at or near the top of my yearly best-of lists. They have always remained true to the nature of progressive music by mixing in splashes of folk, pastoral themes, haunting brass, and even pop.

We’ve talked about all that at length over the years here at Progarchy. I want to talk briefly about why I think Big Big Train matters so much, beyond merely the brilliance of their music and lyrics.

Big Big Train stand for something much bigger. They stand, to steal from their own lyrics, for “science and art / And beauty and music / And friendship and love.” In a world that shuns anything connected to the past or tradition, Big Big Train have managed to embrace both that and hope for the future. They recognize the need for both, which is what the Western tradition has always been about. We take what is good from the past and use it to guide our steps forward. And we also learn from the mistakes of the past to influence our way forward.

Big Big Train recognize that “The poets and painters and writers and dreamers” matter. Without them, the world becomes a dull, dreary, and despotic place. Big Big Train represent the poets, painters, writers, and dreamers in their work.

The lyrics of Gregory Spawton and David Longdon are poetry of the finest order. The paintings of Jim Trainer and Sarah Louise Ewing have been some of the finest album artwork of the last twenty years.

As writers, of course their lyrics, but also the liner notes they have included with some of their albums. The original issue of English Electric: Full Power is particularly wonderful in this regard, in addition to having some of the finest packaging of any CD released in the last decade. They showed us how even the humble CD could be presented in a beautiful form one would be proud to display on their shelf.

And dreamers… how could a band that writes about everything from King Alfred the Great to a hero carrier pigeon be anything but dreamers of the highest order?

In doing all this, Big Big Train have inspired us listeners to do the same. I’m inspired to be a better writer when writing about them or any other band. I’m inspired to practice watercolor painting. I’m inspired to dream about the good, true, and beautiful. Few other bands draw me into the sublime the way Big Big Train routinely does. For that, I name them the finest band of not just the decade, but this century.


Rick Krueger

Despite Prog Magazine’s consistent championing of Big Big Train, I managed to resist their appeal until 2016.  Searching for a musical mood enhancer one afternoon at work, I came across From Stone and Steel on Spotify.

Any number of things about that set were appealing: the bracing tightness of the band, David Longdon’s adventurous vocals, the scenarios and soundscapes BBT conjured up.  But it was the brass that got me.  When they slammed into the choruses of “The Underfall Yard” and the lead trumpet soared heavenward at the end of “Victorian Brickwork”, I was hooked!  I had to hear more.

Folklore was just out, so I grabbed it ASAP and loved it.  Ditto for the back catalog, including my favorite to this day, English Electric: Full Power.  And to cap it all off, I ordered the Stone and Steel Blu-Ray via BBT’s website.

Only when I got it, the thing wouldn’t play – due to technical issues with my Blu-Ray player that had already caused fellow fans in the USA headaches aplenty.  What to do?  Enter Big Big Train’s amazing Facebook group, better known as the Passengers.  With an enthusiastic welcome and all the kindness in the world, they steered me toward both a downloadable version of the video and a Blu-Ray player that would play S&S.  I was so moved, I figured out how to burn the download version to DVD and shared instructions for doing so with the group – gathering kudos even from band members!  

This was a band and a fandom where you could feel at home, and I started proclaiming the wonders of BBT to anyone who would listen.  When a friend saw Sarah Ewing’s Folklore-era band portrait functioning as my laptop’s background screen, he said, “I need to introduce you to another friend of mine – he writes for this website called Progarchy.”

Which is how I started here, five years ago.  Since then, I’ve followed the ups and downs of Big Big Train’s career with all of you. I’ve delighted in hearing them break new musical ground with every release; my wife and I were thrilled to get BBT tickets in early 2020, then disappointed when that trek became The Tour That Never Was; I had the privilege of interviewing the late David Longdon in the summer of 2021, as he touted Common Ground and eagerly anticipated the long-delayed Stateside tour.  In the wake of his death, even as that interview reached a worldwide audience via a link from The Guardian, all of these thrills , ever so briefly, seemed completely hollow.

But in line with Longdon’s wishes, Big Big Train perseveres, and we are the better for it.  Their unique blend of pastoral atmosphere, historical narrative, mellifluous harmony and hypermodern groove is moving forward, with Alberto Bravin fronting the band onstage this fall and new music promised for 2023.  Saluting them as Progarchy’s Band of the Decade, I can only say, long may their journey continue!

Rick’s Quick Takes for September

Another month of thoroughly enjoyable releases across the progressive spectrum from quiet to loud, from controlled to anarchic — often all in the same album! As always, order links are included in the artist/album title listing, and streaming audio or samples follow the review.

Cosmograf, Heroic Materials: Robin Armstrong’s latest concept album speaks softly and hits home hard. As a World War II fighter pilot recalls the challenge he rose to as a young man and laments the passing of his golden era, he also sounds the alarm about the challenges the generations who’ve followed have inherited. Throughout, Armstrong’s lyrics are simply stated yet deeply affecting, sung with real gravity and soul. And as the music patiently unreels, it becomes impossible to pick out a standout track; each brooding acoustic interlude, each stinging electric solo, each cinematic ebb and flow leaves its indelible mark. Elegiac in its evocation of past glories, urgent in its call to action today, breathtaking in its poised blend of fragility and strength, Heroic Materials is a riveting listen and a thing of beauty, already on my list of favorites for this year.

Dim Gray, Firmament: a Norwegian band that’s getting a broader push courtesy of Kingmaker Management, with an opening slot on Big Big Train’s recent tour (to say nothing of Oskar Holldorf’s filling BBT’s keyboards/backing vocals slot live) and their second effort released through the English Electric label. Kingmaker knows how to pick ’em; Holldorff, guitarist Hakon Høiberg and drummer Tom Ian Klungland whip up a mighty noise on Firmament’s 12 succinct tracks, with Holldorff and Høiberg’s ethereal, evocative singing launched above one swirling, quasi-orchestral crescendo after another. From opener “Mare” to finale “Meridian”, middle-aged farts like me might hear echoes of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, Brian Wilson’s pocket symphonies and Avalon-era Roxy Music, while younger listeners may catch hints of Fleet Foxes’ seamless, potent vocalises and Sigur Ros’ relentless ensemble builds. Whatever Dim Gray’s influences, the trio’s pin-sharp ensemble and pacing, thrilling sense of dynamics and undeniable gift for melody make for an arresting sound, with impressionistic lyrics that complement the sweep and yearning of the music. Here’s an album that not only dreams big, but actually delivers.

Steve Hackett, Genesis Revisited Live – Seconds Out & More: by my count, this is Hackett’s sixth live set since the Genesis Revisited concept revived his worldwide touring mojo a decade ago, beating out even Rush’s late career live output. Too much of a good thing? Arguably — but on the other hand, both Bryan Morey and I raved about this tour when it hit the Midwest this past spring, so I can also argue that more is better! With Amanda Lehmann complementing his usual merry men on second guitar, Hackett and band rip through a set of solo classics (and I wholeheartedly include Surrender of Silence tracks “Held In the Shadows” and “The Devil’s Cathedral” in that description) that climax with Lehmann’s floating vocals and Craig Blundell’s jaw-dropping drum workout on the vintage “Shadow Of The Hierophant”. Then it’s nirvana for Hackett-era Genesis fans, with the entirety of their 1977 live masterwork reprised (and sometimes gently, sometimes deliriously reimagined) in one go. Gorgeous sound whatever the format, and nicely hi-def visuals on the BluRay; it all does what it says on the cover, with Hackett’s usual flair and panache. See you next year for the Foxtrot At Fifty set?

King’s X, Three Sides of One: “Calling all saviors/And I’m shouting at God/Oh won’t you come and save us/Don’t you think we need you now/So let it rain, to wash the fear away.” dUg pinnick’s vocal testifies while his bass thunders, Ty Tabor’s guitars chime and howl like lightning, Jerry Gaskill’s drums crack open the earth and sky. And the apocalyptic “Let It Rain” is only the start for a trio that’s lost none of its power. King’s X’s first album in fourteen years, Three Sides of One’s rock is thick, gnarly, punchy and unbelievably tough no matter the tempo or texture, always locked into a sweet groove that carries you along. With Pinnick’s gospel-rooted shouts complemented by Tabor and Gaskill’s spindly, psychedelic harmonies, the band prowls the waterfront of life today, calling out the hucksters of “Festival” and the digital overlords of “Swipe Up”, commiserating with “all the lonely people” of “Give It Up” and “Holidays”. Stir in the drained cynicism of “Flood Pt. 1” and the dystopian parable “All God’s Children” and you have a compelling vision of societal despair. Human love (“Take the Time”, “She Called Me Home”) offers respite, but there’s no closure in sight; as pinnick preaches on the final track, “The whole world is crying for love/Every everywhere.” Lighting candles and cursing the darkness with alternate breaths, King’s X rocks on regardless — and I consider that heartening in and of itself.

Continue reading “Rick’s Quick Takes for September”

Big Big Train Update – A Note From Gregory Spawton

A Note From Gregory Spawton

Following the announcement last week about the HRH festival in Leeds being moved to Sheffield in April 2023 (when Big Big Train will not be appearing) and the necessity for us to re-schedule our German, Swiss and French shows until 2023, I would like to thank all listeners for their wonderful support. We entirely understand how disappointing and frustrating this news has been. I am pleased to say that I have some more positive news in this update.

Free Passengers Club Memberships/Extensions

If you hold tickets for any of the HRH, German, Swiss or French shows, please contact stationmaster@thepassengersclub.com with a photo of your ticket or the ticket attached to the email for a free three month trial of our digital fan club  – The Passengers Club.

If you are already a Passengers Club member with a one or two year subscription and holding tickets for one of these shows, please contact stationmaster@thepassengersclub.com with a photo of your ticket or the ticket attached to the email for three month extension.

Please be patient as it will take a while to add everyone who applies.

All existing BBT Passengers Club Patrons (whether HRH or German/Swiss/French ticket holders or not) will receive an exclusive download of a live song from the September 2022 tour. This will be a different song to the ones being made available to Tour Patrons.

2022 Tour Patron Packages

Given our touring plans for 2023 (about which more news below), 2022 tour patron packages have been converted to 2022/23 tour patron packages. You do not need to take any action in this regard.  T-shirts have been sent out, tour programmes and laminates can be collected from the September 2022 shows if you are attending; if you are not attending a show, programmes and laminates will be sent out after 7th September.

The September 2022 Tour

Over the last few months we have all spent many hours preparing individually before we convene for rehearsals next week for the shows in September. While we’re thrilled to be bringing Big Big Train back on stage after almost three years, of course we remain enormously saddened that David Longdon is no longer with us.

David’s explicit wish was that BBT should continue and we’re excited about moving forwards and what we can achieve with Alberto Bravin fronting the band. Our shows will celebrate the band’s past and look ahead to the future. Our live set will include one new song. More on this below.

While we’re obviously disappointed that the tour next month will only be brief, we are very much looking forward to these shows. A last few seats remain available for our “family and friends” warm up show near Southampton. Tickets are also available for our shows in Aylesbury and Zoetermeer. We will be filming the  Zoetermeer show with a view to releasing it in the future. Details of the September 2022 dates plus ticket links are here: www.bigbigtrain.com/live

From Wednesday 7th September we will be making September 2022 tour merchandise (tour programmes and T-shirts) available online via Burning Shedand The Bandwagon USA.

Big Big Train on tour in 2023

Prior to the news last week about HRH and the rescheduling of the German, Swiss and French shows, we had already been working on organising some shows for 2023.

2023 looks set to be BBT’s busiest year ever, both recording in the studio (including in Italy) and playing live shows. Currently we are expecting to play up to 20 shows across the UK and continental Europe in autumn 2023, including countries that were not on the original September 2022 tour schedule. We are delighted that this will include the band playing in Italy for the first time. We hope to be able to announce full details of the autumn 2023 tour later this year.

New Music

In parallel with preparing for next month’s shows, we have been working on a number of new songs since appointing Alberto as our lead vocalist. Today we are delighted to share with you the first of these songs. Written by me, Last Eleven features the BBT September 2022 live band – Alberto Bravin, Rikard Sjöblom, Nick D’Virgilio, Dave Foster, Clare Lindley, Oskar Holldorff and myself.

We’re really excited about this song – it’s very personal to me lyrically and the band have put in an amazing performance, including a beautiful vocal arrangement from Alberto and a stunning keyboard solo from Oskar.

The video was created by Steve Cadman.

Summer Shall Not Fade/Door One

In case you missed it, we have recently released a short trailer for the forthcoming Blu-ray/2CD Summer Shall Not Fade, which documents Big Big Train’s show in July 2018 at the Night Of The Prog festival in Loreley, Germany.

Here’s the trailer:

Both Summer Shall Not Fade and David Longdon’s solo album Door One will be released on 14th October. Full details of both releases and purchasing links can be found here: www.bigbigtrain.com 

NDV with Steve Hackett

Congratulations to NDV who will be drumming for nine shows on Steve Hackett’s North America tour in November and December this year, deputising for Craig Blundell.
Details here: www.hackettsongs.com/tour.html 

Gregory on Butterfly Mind by Tim Bowness


I appear on the new wonderful new Tim Bowness album Butterfly Mind on the track ‘After The Stranger’.
More info on the album here https://timbowness.komi.io/

We look forward to seeing listeners at our shows next month.

Best wishes

Gregory Spawton

Big Big Train

Big Big Train Cancel Some (Not All) Upcoming Shows

Some sad news for our European friends from Big Big Train. Due to the rescheduled HRH Leeds festival, Big Big Train have had to cancel that show plus shows in Switzerland, France, and Germany due to financial burdens. They will still be playing shows in Aylesbury and Zoetermeer as well as Southampton in September. More from the band:

Following HRH’s announcement on Wednesday about their postponement of the September 2022 festival, please note that Big Big Train will not be appearing at the re-scheduled HRH event in April 2023.

Please hold on to your tickets for now while we discuss the next steps with the festival.

Due to the loss of the HRH Leeds festival, combined with increased tour related expenses, the scheduled shows in Germany, Switzerland and France are now financially unviable this year.

To continue after the festival cancelation would have resulted in financial losses that would have seriously threatened the band’s existence.

We are extremely sorry for the significant disappointment and inconvenience that this news causes.

The German, Swiss and French dates will be rescheduled to 2023. We encourage ticket holders for these shows to retain their tickets and we will provide more news as soon as we can.

Our shows in Aylesbury and Zoetermeer will proceed as planned as well as a “family and friends” warm up show near Southampton. Tickets are still available for all three shows.

An updated list of September 2022 dates plus ticket links can be found here: www.bigbigtrain.com/live.

We look forward to seeing everyone at our remaining shows next month and are extremely grateful for your continuing support, particularly in the light of the difficult news this week.

We will be issuing a further update next week, including news of more exciting touring in 2023 as well as releasing a new song to give you a taste of things to come!

Kind regards,

Big Big Train

The Big Big Book Review: “Big Big Train – Between The Lines: The Story Of A Rock Band”

grant-moon_big-big-train–between-the-lines_bookGrant Moon, Big Big Train – Between The Lines: The Story Of A Rock Band, Great Britain: Kingmaker Publishing, 2022, 271 Pages. 

It seems fitting that a band that has taken such an unusual path to success as Big Big Train should have a book detailing the route they took. Few other artists in progressive rock, apart from perhaps Kate Bush, have reached the successes Big Big Train have accomplished without a heavy grind of international touring.

Grant Moon’s Between The Lines: The Story Of A Rock Band tells in detail how their story unfolded, but it is clear this story is not a roadmap for other bands to follow in their steps. Rather Big Big Train has been a labor of love from the outset, and if it weren’t for the longtime commitment of founders Greg Spawton and Andy Poole, the band never would have arrived where they are now. With that said, to reach beyond the obscure world Big Big Train inhabited pre-2009, a little (or a lot) of luck had to roll their way. David Longdon joining the band for The Underfall Yard, along with Nick D’Virgilio joining as a permanent member after playing on the previous record and Dave Gregory guesting on TUY, poured the requisite coal into the firebox. Members have come and gone throughout the band’s long history, as Moon covers in intense detail, but these three helped provide the signature sound that helped break Greg Spawton’s musical and lyrical ideas to wider audiences.

Since the purpose of the book is to provide you with the juicy details, I’ll spare you any further plot summary and rather speak to the qualities of the book itself. For starters, it’s a beautiful product. Rather than being a simple paperback or even traditional hardback book with maybe an insert of color or black and white photos somewhere in the center, Between The Lines is a large coffee-table style hardcover book. The cover features a lovely dusk photograph of the band playing at Night of the Prog in Loreley, Germany, in 2018. Each page is printed in two columns, and the book is filled with both color and black and white photos from the band’s history and digging even deeper into certain member’s pasts. There are also some great photos of Sarah Ewing’s album artwork in process. Put simply, the book makes an attractive addition to a progressive music fan’s collection. Certainly any diehard Big Big Train fan will have already purchased it.

As a relatively longtime fan of the band (since 2013), I have followed Big Big Train very closely for close to a decade. I’m not on Facebook, so I’m not a part of the band’s public facebook group, although I’ve perused it before. I’ve also never attended any of their live concerts, but with the exception of Bard and the band’s first two demo CDs, I have all of the band’s albums on CD, including the rare English Electric: Full Power, my first Big Big Train purchase. I also have all of their Blu Rays and even the digital video download of the Kings Place shows. I have all of the band’s recordings (including Bard and the early demos) in my iTunes, and I’m a proud charter member of the Passengers Club. I signed up as soon as it was announced. All of that to say, even though I’ve followed the band more closely than any other band of which I am a fan, there was a lot for me to learn within the pages of Moon’s book. For instance, the band experienced growing tensions both internally and externally during their intense period of growth. While seemingly at the top of the world, Longdon underwent a difficult collapse of his marriage as the band continued to expand. As the group sought to push into live performances, tension mounted between founders Spawton and Poole, which eventually ended in the latter being pushed out of the band. The band kept many of these tensions away from the public eye, yet they still managed to create some of the finest music the genre has ever known. Moon shines a light on both aspects of the band’s career.

Moon seemingly hides nothing in this book, which is comprised heavily of edited interviews with the band’s members, both past and present. The nice thing about that is we get both sides of the stories, with Moon doing his best to present the truth somewhere in the middle. Additionally we get detailed explanations about how each member came to board the Train, and we even get a look at David Longdon and Nick D’Virgilio’s involvement with Genesis during the Calling All Stations sessions, including input from Tony Banks himself. The book also gives hints at some of the band’s future plans, even teasing a reissue of Bard. Between The Lines ends on the sad note of Longdon’s passing and Sarah Ewing encouraging the band to keep going.

Since Moon is a journalist, the book, his first, is written in a very journalistic style. The prose is often very informal and sometimes grammatically incorrect, which is common in journalistic writing. It is also very British, which is to be expected. Some of it can be a bit jarring. It’s one thing to repeat expletives or phrases like “cock-up” in a quotation, but it’s another thing to use them in narrative prose. Even if that is more common in UK English, to my American eyes I found it unnecessary. Such language works fine in a quotation – I always keep it in place when I transcribe my own interviews with artists. For a book, especially one covering such serious and top tier music, it would have been better to have more formality in the non-quotation parts.

With that said, I found the book to be a very enjoyable read. I read most of it this weekend on the couch as I’ve been sick with a cold. The narrative drew me onwards as it filled in the gaps in my already pretty expansive knowledge of Big Big Train’s history. I particularly enjoyed reliving the energy of band’s triumphant rise following English Electric. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed. I remember so many of the events as they happened, even if I experienced them from afar. I remember closely following social media the weekend of the King’s Place shows in 2015, and it was exciting to read a well-crafted narrative of the preparation for and execution of those shows, as well as the other live shows the band have performed since.

The insights the band members, past and present, give to their roles in the band is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book. Big Big Train’s music is densely layered, and it is all too easy to get lost in the complexity and appreciate the sound as a whole. Having the members explain how and what they contributed helps break things down, giving us fans a peak into the band’s writing process. The book also gives loud voices to members of the band who may have been quieter around the press, particularly Andy Poole, Rachel Hall, Dave Gregory, and Danny Manners. I found the well-rounded approach Moon took in representing the members to be very refreshing.

Between The Lines proved to be an enjoyable and engaging read about one of my favorite bands. It is clearly oriented towards the already-engaged fanbase, but anyone with a strong interest in the current wave of progressive music will find this book an interesting read. Beyond that, the book tells the story of a band’s non-traditional rise to success quite separate from the record label establishment. As such anyone interested in that aspect of the music industry should certainly give the book a read. There’s more than one way to set a course for the stars.

Bryan Morey

Purchase the book here: https://burningshed.com/store/bigbigtrain/grant-moon_big-big-train–between-the-lines_book

Upcoming Live Big Big Train Album and David Longdon Solo Album

gr0k6A bit late to the news on this one, but in case you haven’t heard, Big Big Train recently announced they will be releasing a live Blu-ray/2CD set from their 2018 show at Night of the Prog in Loreley, Germany. The live album will be called Summer Shall Not Fade

The band have also announced that David Longdon’s solo album, Door One, will be released. The record was 90 percent finished at the time David Longdon Door Oneof David’s tragic passing back in November. Both the live BBT album and Door One will be released on October 14, and they are available for pre-order individually and as a bundle from Burning Shed (UK/Europe/worldwide) and Bandwagon (USA) [embedded links are for the bundle].

Some additional info from the band (also available at their website: https://www.bigbigtrain.com/door-one/):

Door One was recorded with a core of four musicians: drummer Jeremy Stacey (King Crimson, Noel Gallagher, Sheryl Crow, The Finn Brothers), bassist Steve Vantsis (best known for his work with Fish), saxophonist Theo Travis (Steven Wilson, Soft Machine, Gong) and David’s longstanding friend and former 1990s Gifthorse band mate Gary Bromham (Bjork, Sheryl Crow, George Michael) who contributed guitar, backing vocals, keyboard parts and textures.

Door One, borrowing the nickname for a recreation ground in Nottingham near where David grew up, has a musical personality that is distinct from his work within Big Big Train even though Gregory Spawton plays acoustic guitar on two songs. Gregory Spawton: “David was aware of my passion for 12-string guitar and said he had a song called Love Is All which he wanted me to play on. I recorded my parts for the song a few days after David died. Although he was gone, it felt like it was one last precious moment of making music together.

The album’s eight songs are highly personal and follow a lyrical journey from darkness to enlightenment, from the intense and raw first single ‘Watch It Burn’, channelling David’s love of The Who, to the folk inflected ‘There’s No Ghost Like An Old Ghost’, which recalls David’s Dyble Longdon album with the late Fairport Convention singer Judy Dyble, and ‘Love Is All’, the gorgeous ballad which closes the album.

Gary Bromham: “Having worked with David on and off for over 35 years, we talked extensively about the influences for the album. He was very interested in the sonic textures created by David Bowie and Brian Eno in his Berlin Trilogy of albums. The atmospheres and use of ambience were a huge source of inspiration and a big factor in the making of Door One. My brief was to add what David termed ‘aural dimensions’ to the album. He said, ‘You know the brief.’ I subsequently had to take on a wider role with David’s passing, but Patrick Phillips and I were definitely on the same wavelength when it came to manifesting some of this at the mixing stage, with these goals in mind.”

The album’s stunning artwork is by Sarah Louise Ewing with graphic design by Steve Vantsis. Sarah’s cover portrait of David is from a photograph by Sophocles Alexiou.

In The Times, Dominic Maxwell said of David “Having taken a long time to get where he wanted to be, Longdon tried not to waste his precious time.” Door One is a testament to a very special artist whose creativity was continuing to flourish.