Every so often – pretty often, in fact – I find a stack of CDs has accumulated on my desk. They’ve made the cut as albums deemed worthy of sharing with my readers. In the space of just one hundred words, I endeavor to convey what’s noteworthy or even special about these releases. Each of
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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