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Artist News: Cast Celebrate 40th Anniversary

Posted by admin on Monday, September 03 @ 00:35:19 PDT (331 reads)

Mexico's Cast are celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year and celebrating in two ways. One, on October 20, 2018, Cast will perform live at CEART Mexicali - the concert is free. Visit their website for details.

Secondly, the band will this month release a live Blu-Ray, Sinfonico Live - Cast playing live accompanied by an orchestra. The band are taking pre-orders now.

Listening to the trailer (see below), I can say it sounds marvelous!

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Artist News: Frontiers Music Srl Announces Signing Of Alan Parsons!

Posted by admin on Sunday, September 02 @ 19:26:12 PDT (143 reads)

Alan Parsons (c) FrontiersAnother news item from Frontiers to note is their signing of the legendary producer/musician Alan Parsons.

Prog fans associate Parsons mostly with his work as engineer on Abbey Road (The Beatles) and Dark Side Of The Moon (Pink Floyd), aside from his own recordings under his name and the Alan Parsons Project banner. His list of credits is far longer and far broader.

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Artist News: Hansi Cross Passes Away

Posted by admin on Saturday, August 19 @ 16:04:41 PDT (1531 reads)

Sad news to report, as we learned the other day that guitarist and Progress Records owner Hansi Cross has passed away having been battling cancer.

While I didn't know Hansi personally, I had reviewed a few of his releases, under the bandname Cross, as well as a selection of titles by others that he released via his record label. There was even an occassion where Hansi asked if I would be interested in providing artwork for an upcoming album. While that that never came to fruition, I was honored that he thought I might have (even a smidgen) of talent for it.

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Artist News: Allan Holdsworth Passes Away At 70

Posted by admin on Monday, April 17 @ 21:23:06 PDT (1178 reads)

Sad news to learn that legendary guitarist Allan Holdsworth has passed away this past weekend at the age of 70. The folks at Prog magazine published a tribute, written by Malcolm Dome; you can read it here.

The family launched a GoFundMe campaign to help cover funeral expenses at: www.gofundme.com/allanholdsworthmemorial.

Holdsworth was part NEARFest 2007's Progressive Arts Showcase, where I saw him perform with Chad Wackerman (drums) and Jimmy Johnson (bass) - my recollection was a good but static performance. I do not have any anecdotes to add. Nevertheless, it is always sad when someone passes at any age; and in a year plus, it seems far too many music figures are passing.

[Photo: © 2007 Stephanie Sollow]

Artist News: While We Were Away.... John Wetton, Threshold, Riverside, more

Posted by admin on Saturday, April 01 @ 23:45:46 PDT (1362 reads)

While we were on another unintended sabbatical, we learned the sad news of John Wetton's passing this past January. In a year (or so) that saw the losses of Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, to lose another figure in the pantheon of prog is hard to take. I had seen Wetton perform live once, when UK played NEARFest Apocalypse in June 2012. While I might be forgetting something earlier, I'd venture to say that I first knew of John Wetton through Asia, and their monumental debut album, as "Heat Of The Moment" was inescapable in the early 80s (and I didn't want to). Of course, after starting this site some 20 years ago this month, there came to my attention (reviewed or not), solo material, dipping back to King Crimson, more Asia, etc. Anyway, I was sad to learn of his passing.

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Artist News: Saga's Story To End In 2017

Posted by admin on Saturday, January 21 @ 14:00:14 PST (1736 reads)

Canadian prog rock group Saga announced this past Thursday that 2017 would mark the end of their story as a band. The full press release is below. The band will tour during their "farewell" year, with dates already scheduled for February/March in Canada, April in Europe, and a quartet (so far) of festival appearances in June and August (dates shown below).

Saga's story started in 1977 with their first, self-titled, release coming out in 1978. Images At Twilight came out a year later. I recall in an article, published around 1991 in some magazine, the title of which that I no longer remember, that this album was listed as being recommended to prog fans. From there I became a Saga fan - though my reviewing activities have not kept up (I also used that list to further my prog explorations).

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Artist News: Greg Lake Passes Away At 69

Posted by admin on Sunday, December 11 @ 12:25:11 PST (1570 reads)

Thursday morning we - a univeral we - learned of the passing of Greg Lake - vocalist/bassist/guitarist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (and before that, King Crimson) at age 69. He was battling cancer. There are tributes and news articles to found elsewhere, and we will link to them below. I never saw ELP live, though I did have the chance to see Keith Emerson perform at NEARfest many years ago; I've never met any of the trio in person, so I cannot offer personal recollections along those lines. I can tell you that "Lucky Man," a Lake-penned track on the band's first album - has long been a favorite, long before I was aware of this whole world of "progressive rock." There was to me a Renaissance/Medieval feel to the story (not what was Lake's mind)* and medieval history has been an interest of mine (though my attraction to the song pre-dates that).

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Artist News: Astonishing News From Dream Theater

Posted by admin on Monday, November 28 @ 16:19:59 PST (1573 reads)

Well, news about The Astonishing of course, but we couldn't resist including a clever (to us) headline -- call it our Monday Madness. Nevertheless, Dream Theater's recent epic release The Astonishing will live a second life as a novel. From DT, author Peter Orullian and the publisher - Vault Books - here is the descriptive blurb:

"The Astonishing, the novel, builds on the story rendered in The Astonishing, the ground-breaking concept album by the kings of progressive metal, Dream Theater. The novel adds new plot lines and intrigue, additional characters and motivations, as well as explanations and ideas not explored on the album. ‚ÄčIt also has several exclusives [...].

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Artist News: Riverside Keeps Flowing...

Posted by admin on Saturday, October 15 @ 00:00:07 PDT (874 reads)

Catching up with Riverside they recently announced that they will continue as a trio without a permanent guitarist, using friends who are session guitarists - and are preparing to record a new album. In the meantime, the band are releasing the previously announced and featured (but not yet reviewed) Eye Of The Soundscape, which comes out on October 21 (listen to "Where The River Flows" linked below). According to the band, they intend to play their first gig in February 2017 (the one year anniversary of guitarist Piotr's untimely death.

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Artist News: Anette Olzon and Jani Liimatainen Explore New Frontiers

Posted by admin on Friday, October 07 @ 23:09:12 PDT (797 reads)

The second item "trapped" in our "hopper" is:

"Frontiers Music Srl is very pleased to announce the launch of a new musical partnership between singer Anette Olzon and producer/songwriter/guitar player Jani Liimatainen for a new studio album, which will see release on the label in 2017.

Anette is mostly known for being the immaculate voice on hit albums from Nightwish such as Dark Passion Play and Imaginareum. Jani has recently been busy in Cain's Offering Official alongside Stratovarius singer Timo Kotipelto, but left a deep mark on the minds of all power metal fans thanks to his time in Sonata Arctica. They are now working together on a record which promises to be a huge statement in the European metal scene for years to come!

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