Tom Woods, Roie Avin, Prog. People. . . what more do you want!!!

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This week, I had the great and grand pleasure of speaking with Tom Woods and Roie Avin about the state of progressive rock music.  As you all should know, Tom Woods is an absolute genius–especially on all matters political, cultural, and economic.  That’s his razor-sharp logic side.  But, he’s also a romantic and a huge prog fan.

avin book
A must own.  It belongs on the shelf of every progger.

Roie Avin, as you all should know as well, is the founder of one of the best prog sites on the web, Prog Report, and the author of one of the best books ever written about rock or prog, Essential Modern Progressive Rock.  

If you don’t own it, you must.

Ok, so a bit of bias here.  Tom is one of my three or four closest friends, and, though, Roie and I have never met, I have been following him rather closely for the past five years.  The three of us, I think, had a blast.  So, here’s hoping you do as well.


Some Random Prog Thoughts

Press play.  Repeat.  Thank you, Glass Hammer.

My apologies for being so quiet for a bit now.  After the great visit by the Reverend John Simms and his beautiful bride, Jude, I’ve been working on tons of things not directly related to music or to progarchy.  Mostly classes and lecturing, but quite a bit of traveling as well.

Yet, at the back of everything, prog keeps reminding me what matters most in the world–hearth, home, kids, my students, beauty, truth, and goodness.

I’ve been rather obsessed with a few albums through the first third of this academic semester: Glass Hammer’s VALKYRIE; Marillion’s FEAR; and SAND’s SLEEPER.  If you’ve not gotten these yet, please do so.  They have  been in constant rotation.

Continue reading “Some Random Prog Thoughts”

An Apology to Mr. Steven Wilson

Steven Wilson
Steven Wilson, The LONDON GUARDIAN.

I will admit, I find it hard to believe that Steven Wilson’s HAND.CANNOT.ERASE. is now fourteen months old.  It arrived on my doorstep—courtesy of—on the day it was released, and I played it immediately, of course.  At the time, however, I had become truly skeptical of anything Wilson was doing at that moment.  My dislike and distrust had not come on me suddenly, but, rather over a relatively long period of time.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I didn’t come across his work until a random turning on of album rock radio in Fort Wayne played an incredible song—“Trains” if I remember correctly—just as Porcupine Tree had released IN ABSENTIA.  I not only purchased that album that day at a Fort Wayne Bestbuy, but I also searched out an independent CD/record store, and purchased much of PT’s back catalogue.  To say that a decade of obsession (in the healthy, fan sense; not in the psychotic sense) with Wilson and all of his art set in.  I was certainly a completest.  If it had Wilson’s name on it, I owned it.

Continue reading “An Apology to Mr. Steven Wilson”

Tom Woods Promotes Steven Wilson!

A great show by a great man.

Famed American commentator, historian, economist, and man of letters, Tom Woods, is promoting Steven Wilson’s latest album, HAND.CANNOT.ERASE.  What a great thing for the prog world to be given this kind of place of prominence!  Woods has had such greats as Ian Anderson and Steve Hogarth on his show.  Let’s hope he gets Wilson next!

The Woman Who Erased Herself

When Joyce Carol Vincent died in December 2003, no one noticed for over two years.

Was she a lonely old lady nobody knew? Not even close. She was an attractive young woman with friends and family. And slowly but surely, she simply melted away in the anonymity of the city (London, in this case).

Steven Wilson, a musician I like very much (and who has worked closely with Tom Woods Show guests Ian Anderson and Steve Hogarth), was struck by her, and based his 2015 release Hand. Cannot. Erase. loosely around her life.

When I first listened to it, I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t think there was anything there.

Was I ever wrong.

I can’t stop listening to it now. It’s beautiful, brilliant, and emotionally captivating. I’m listening to it as I write this.

The character in Wilson’s story makes the deliberate decision to disappear from society by moving to London. Sounds strange: you’re going to move to a big city to disappear? But as Wilson notes, the strategy makes sense. You could never accomplish this in a small town, where everyone knows you and someone would check in on you.

On the other hand, with masses of people all around, you can simply…disappear.

If you’re intrigued, grab yourself a copy.

Be warned: you’ll need to devote some time to this. These aren’t pop songs you hear on the radio. At first you just won’t see it — well, if you’re like me, anyway. But suddenly you’ll become aware of the beautiful melodies, the evocative turns of phrase, the emotional intensity, all of it.

In the past I’ve given out free CDs of music I like. As a surprise, I told my supporting listeners they could have an album of Tom-approved music if they just asked for it. I sent a $20 double album out last year.

Wilson’s album is selling for just under $10 on Amazon as an mp3 download. If you’re a Tom Woods Show supporting listener at the Silver, Gold, or Platinum levels, just use my contact form to send me your mailing address if you’d like one.

This offer expires March 15, 2016.

If you become a supporting listener at one of those levels between now and then, you’re eligible, too. Just send me your address.

The way forward:

Tom Woods and Brad Birzer: The Best of 2014

Tom Wood Logo

This afternoon, I had the great privilege of speak with famed author and talk show host, Thomas E. Woods Jr., about the best of 2014 in rock/prog.

Our conversation included Salander, newspaperflyhunting,Fractal Mirror, Tin Spirits, Fire Garden, John KingBathmat BassettAndy Tillison, and Robin Armstrong. And, of course, we praised Greg Spawton and David Longdon.  Some Marillion as well.

47 minutes of prog talk.…/ep-310-the-year-in-progressive-rock/

Tom Woods and Progressive Rock: A 30-minute Chat

Tom Woods is one of the foremost political philosophers and commentators.  He's also a proud progger.
Tom Woods is one of the foremost political philosophers and commentators in the United States today. He’s also a proud progger.

I had the great privilege of speaking with one of America’s foremost political commentators yesterday, Tom Woods, about progressive rock.  It turns out that Tom is a huge progger.  I shouldn’t be surprised.  I think we’re both the younger brothers of Neil Peart.  We really had a field day talking about CLOSE TO THE EDGE, SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND, THICK AS A BRICK, PASSION PLAY, IN ABSENTIA, and THE FINAL CUT.

We talked “third wave prog,” too.

Tom was especially interested in the founding and purpose of progarchy.  And, for what it’s worth, Tom is as smart and insightful as he is kind.  A true gentleman.  Here’s a link to our show yesterday.  Enjoy.

“The Episode of the Year”: Woods and Birzer talk prog.

Also, in September, Tom talked with Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson.  Also worth checking out.

Here’s the link to Tom’s website: