Dear “The Gift”: An Ode to Bruce Springsteen

by Stephen Klugewicz

Springsteen from TEAMROCK
Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s.  Photo borrowed from Teamrock.com.

Dear “The Gift”

An Ode to Bruce Springsteen

 

In a world of oaths forsaken,

In a time of prophets bought and sold,

To the faithful along the avenue

You offered a gift of the purest gold.

 

Politician declares, “So help me God,”

Priest proclaims, “Let no man put asunder.”

But your whispered sweet sounds,

Were a bond sealed with thunder.

 

At once a stranger and yet a friend,

At once young and always old,

Singing the silent song of our souls,

Like that between mute lovers in the cold.

 

Now years are dissolved into dust,

Into the wind, into the mist.

Meaning made deep by memory,

Like a lover long and tenderly kissed.

 

You might have gone forever home,

You might have instead quietly slept,

Leaving us alone, betrayed and broken.

But you proved the gift a promise kept.

You proved the gift a promise kept.

Progarchy Radio, Episode 14

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Part I, 2010.

Our first show since Halloween!  Lots of great music on this one.  Four thirty-minute sets with only minimal talking on my part.  A restrained DJ am I!  Promise.

Set I

  • The Fierce and the Dead, Parts I-III

Continue reading “Progarchy Radio, Episode 14”

If it carries on like this I’ll be moving to the sea

I seem to have spent most of the last few months catching up with a backlog of album reviews that have landed either on my door step or in my inbox which built up during a traumatic move, (I am never spending two weeks sleeping in the living room again!!) and so I fear this latter part of the year has been chasing my own tail, as whilst I’ve reviewed older albums, never ones have appeared!

My new Years resolution is to be more organised (honest!)

This is my first word on Bad Elephant Music this year, wrapping up some of their fine releases last year.

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The Fierce and the Dead: If it carries on like this we’ll be moving to Morecambe

This is where it all began, and what better place for a shiny new remastered edition of TFATD debut long player to be released, complete with new artwork by Mark Buckingham, than their new home. BEM and TFATD have become synonymous with adventurous and eclectic music, and as some one who previously bought the original release from band camp, the remastering is absolutely superb, and does make a difference to the sound. Not that there was ever anything wrong with the production originally, but it’s like the difference between watching your favourite TV show on a normal telly and then switching to HD, it highlights certain nuances and little pieces of music on the album that you might have missed originally.

Continue reading “If it carries on like this I’ll be moving to the sea”

Donate to Jerry Ewing and PROG/Merry Christmas

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Dear Progarchists,

One of the only (well, probably the ONLY!) good things about PROG being shut down is seeing the amount of support being shown for our beloved friends.  On Facebook, everyone from Greg Spawton to Matt Cohen to Mike Portnoy and beyond has offered great words for Jerry and everyone at Prog.

Mike Morton of The Gift has taken this to the next level.  He’s set up a link to help donate to all of those who just lost their jobs.  Remember, they had no idea this was coming at work.  Not only were they let go this afternoon, they were denied pay for the previous three weeks as well.

Continue reading “Donate to Jerry Ewing and PROG/Merry Christmas”

Best Prog of 2016, Part IV (and Final)

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One of the many Steven Wilson remixed albums.  And, one of the best.  Beat.

Well, I must admit, I am a bit sorry to have taken so long to get all my “best of 2016” out.  Four parts is outrageous, even by prog standards.  Too much music, too little time, too many keys on my keyboard!

So, the final part of 2016 list is nothing less than a bit of cleanup, an attempt to give coherence to a number of disparate things.

First, I want to offer a huge thanks to all of you for reading Progarchy and also to all of our writers.  Obviously, we do what we do for love, not profit.  But, it’s truly a community effort.  Again, a profound thank you–to all members of the progarchy community.

Second, I’d like to single out three companies for making reviewing so much easier than it might otherwise be.  An amazing slap on the back to Roie Avin and Jeff Wagner at Insideout!  Incredible guys, incredible company.  Another loud and hearty shout out to Brian Rocha of Fresno Media not only for his wit and friendship, but also for all of his excellent support.  And, again to Steve Babb of Sound Resources (Glass Hammer).

Third, there are a few musical releases from 2016 that don’t fit easily into the lists I’ve offered thus far.

One album I’ve thoroughly enjoyed but have not had long enough to offer it a place within my lists is The Gift’s latest album, WHY THE SEA IS SALT.  It’s extraordinary, and I very much look forward to spending more time with it.

I must also recognize Steven Wilson’s ep, 4.5, and The Tangent’s single, “A Few Steps Down the Wrong Road.”  Each is simply outstanding.

Finally, this year’s progarchy audiophile award goes to Steven Wilson for his work remixing so many classic albums.  Indeed, Wilson has remixed so many, it’s becoming hard to keep track of them all.  But, I’d like to single out the ones that meant so much to me this year: Jethro Tull’s STAND UP and AQUALUNG; XTC’s SKYLARKING; King Crimson’s BEAT; and Yes’s TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS.

A Proper Awe: The Gift’s WHY THE SEA IS SALT

The Gift, WHY THE SEA IS SALT (Bad Elephant Music, 2016).  Tracks: At Sea; Sweeper of Dreams; Tuesday’s Child; The Tallest Tree; All These Things; and Ondine’s Song.

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From: Bad Elephant Music, 2016

Talk about mythic.  The Gift has given us a love song to the vast world of the oceans.  Well, “love” might be too strong.  There’s love here, to be sure, but there’s also fear and mystery and more than a bit of properly understood awe.

Finding myself quite taken with this most recent release, I keep feeling waves of nostalgia for the first time my great friend, Craig Breaden, introduced me to real Procol Harum—not the Procol Harum of the top 40, but Procol Harum in all of the band’s art rock glory.  Yes, The Gift talk about “Salty Dogs”, but it’s far more than this lyrical reference that calls me back to my first moments with that Procol Harum album, more than a quarter of a century ago, now.

Partly, it’s the flow of the album.

Partly, it’s the intelligence of the lyrics.

And, partly, it’s the whimsy that mixes so well with gravity—not an easy skill for any lyricist.

And, there’s another fantastic aspect to this album—the flow of the music perfectly follows the flow of an ocean journey.  How The Gift accomplished this so ably, I’m not sure.  But, every instrument—whether the keys, the bass (love the bass playing on this album; absolutely love it), the voice, or the guitar—leads to the next one, always playing nicely as it trades off the focus, one to the next.  The effect is an usual and compelling flow for the listener as he (or she!) journeys from one wave to the next.

Continue reading “A Proper Awe: The Gift’s WHY THE SEA IS SALT”