prog Archive

Dream Theater: The Path That Unites

When dazzling keyboardist Jordan Rudess joined Dream Theater in 1999, the progressive metal band had already been together for nearly 15 years. Through a combination of superb musicianship, thoughtful songwriting and hard work, the group had built a dedicated following. But with Rudess on board, Dream Theater made a significant leap forward on all fronts.

Album Review: Cary Grace – ‘Lady of Turquoise’

Cary Grace has carved out a fascinating niche in the world of music. Though she got her start in the Nashville singer-songwriter community (she even had Vince Gill play on one of her early albums!), her chosen musical idiom couldn’t be farther from all that. An American expat currently living in the UK, Grace has

Hundred-word Reviews for December 2019, #3

Here’s the final installment of the year (and the decade!) of my quick, condensed album reviews. Ten titles, 100 words each. Seven are new releases; the remaining three are archival and/or reissue releases. There are some SERIOUS gems in here. Sweet Lizzy Project – Technicolor When most people think of Cuban music, their thoughts turn

Album Review: Bask — III

For a small city, Asheville is home to musicians representing a staggering array of musical styles. In an era that many see as post-album, post-rock and post-all other manner of things that make music special, it’s surprising that there’s a small but solid heavy rock scene in and around the city. A vivid testament to

Emotional Content is Dream Theater’s Secret Ingredient

Over the course of its three decades, progressive metal band Dream Theater has periodically created albums centered about thematic concepts. 1999’s Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory was the band’s first concept album, and also marked the debut of Jordan Rudess and the group’s keyboardist. In 2002, the Boston-based band released Six Degrees of

Patrick Moraz and the Poetry of Creation

Swiss keyboard virtuoso Patrick Moraz was one of the earliest musicians to explore the sonic possibilities of the synthesizer. He combined those explorations with more conventional instrumentation – grand piano, organ – as a member of Refugee (with former members of the Nice) and then with Yes, and later still with the Moody Blues. He

Rhapsodizing with Rick Wakeman

Legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman is perhaps best known for his work with Yes, a group he has joined and quit at least five times since the early ’90s. But the classically-trained musician also has a staggeringly large catalog of solo albums. Beginning with his debut release (1973’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII) and continuing

For Example: A Look Back at ‘The Nice’ at 50

It’s unfortunate that when the Nice come up in conversation today, they’re too quickly summed up as “the band that Keith Emerson was in before ELP.” That’s a true enough description, but it has the effect of dismissing the contributions of the band’s other members, and overlooking the power of the group as a whole.

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Fun: the Men and the Journey of RPWL

German keyboardist/vocalist Yogi Lang first encountered guitarist Karlheinz “Kalle” Wallner in 1988 when the latter was playing in a band called Incubus. Eventually renamed Violet District, the group released its sole album, Terminal Breath in 1992, with Lang producing. Based 40 km north of Munich in Freising, that group met with only modest success, disbanding

Album Review: Moraz & Friends – Random Kingdom

In 1976, Swiss keyboard virtuoso Patrick Moraz released his debut solo album, The Story of I. In the midst of a successful run as keyboardist for Yes – he’s all over Relayer – and a few years after leading Refugee with former members of the Nice, Moraz crafted an album that combined what we might