If there’s one thing you can be sure about Neal Morse, it’s the fact he never stays still for long. First emerging onto the progressive rock scene in 1980, since then he’s played with more bands than we can list with one hand, left more crowds than we can ever hope to mention staggered at the depth of his music and quality of performances, and changed guises at least twice. Not that anyone is counting.
Well, OK, maybe some people are counting, such is the cult following this American multi-instrumentalist has garnered for himself. From Spock’s Beard- the outfit he formed in 1995 alongside his own brother, Alan- to Transatlantic, something of a prog supergroup composed of Dream Theater man Mike Portnoy, Roine Stolt of Flower Kings, and Marillion’s Pete Trewavas, trying to summarise the breadth of experience in Morse is pretty difficult. In fact, scratch that, it’s very, very difficult indeed.
This is before we come to mention his sizable solo back catalogue, of course, which runs from 1999’s self-titled effort, to 2014’s Songs For November , or the reinvention of himself that saw him become a born again Christian circa 2002 (with several subsequent releases subtitled The Worship Sessions ), at which point he parted ways with the aforementioned Spock’s Beard, an act that, by that point, had become amongst the most successful prog rock bands of their era.
Enough background checking, then. Cutting to the chase, as it were, Morse is about to release a brand new live album in the form of Neal Morse – Morsefest 2014 Testimony And One Live , which was recorded in Nashville during November 2014 and showcases two of his most acclaimed LPs; Testimony and One . Long time collaborators Mike Portnoy and Randy George, along with Neal Morse Band mainstays Bill Hubauer and Eric Gillette all make appearances, as does a four-piece horn section, cellist, violinist, full percussion orchestra, six-member female vocal section and a host of dancers and special guests.
The result is, without question, Morse’s most elaborate offering to date, spanning either two Blu-ray discs or a two DVD-four CD special edition box set, with a host of extra features including a Name That Prog Tune game, behind the scenes documentary featuring footage from an exclusive acoustic concert, and more. Perfect for any fan, thankfully the artist in question isn’t short of a few, meaning this should sell rather well. Act fast then.
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