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Artist News: Hansi Cross Passes Away

Posted by admin on Saturday, August 19 @ 15:04:41 PDT (1375 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 @ 20:23:06 PDT (1066 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]
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Artist News: While We Were Away.... John Wetton, Threshold, Riverside, more

Posted by admin on Saturday, April 01 @ 22:45:46 PDT (1240 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 @ 13:00:14 PST (1567 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 @ 11:25:11 PST (1411 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 @ 15:19:59 PST (1398 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. ​It also has several exclusives [...].

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Concerts: Ayreon To Perform Live In 2017 (Already Sold Out!), Plus New Album Planned

Posted by admin on Saturday, November 26 @ 16:19:23 PST (1389 reads)

While the tickets have all sold out in the short period of time between announcement and our posting of this news item, Ayreon will perform live for the first time ever as Ayreon Universe, performing the best of Ayreon (presumably new material as well, as there is a new album being recorded; more on that below).

The now sold-out dates are: September 15, 16 and 17, 2017 at the Poppodium 013 in Tilburg, NL.

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Concerts: Haken Announce 10th Anniversary 2017 European Tour; "Aquarius" & "Visions" R

Posted by admin on Saturday, November 26 @ 15:02:26 PST (1352 reads)

Haken celebrate their 10th anniversary in 2017, hot on the heels of the release of their critically acclaimed fourth album Affinity. Coinciding with this, the band will go out on a headline tour of Europe in March & April. Tickets went on sale November 23.

InsideOutMusic will also be reissuing the band’s first two albums, Aquarius & Visions, on the 3rd February 2017 in new remastered 2CD editions, as well as vinyl for the very first time.

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Concerts: Glass Hammer To Perform In Europe For First Time Ever

Posted by admin on Saturday, November 26 @ 10:37:12 PST (1364 reads)

As reported earlier this week via Prog and Glass Hammer themselves: "US proggers Glass Hammer will perform their first ever European live show when they headline Italy's 2 Days Of Prog + 1 Festival in September 2017.

"This will be band's first European dates in their near quarter century existence. 'We are approaching the twenty-fifth anniversary of Glass Hammer in 2017 and headlining the Veruno Festival seems a very good way to celebrate,' bassist Steve Babb told Prog. 'The band is planning to perform our new release Valkyrie in its entirety, along with other songs from the back catalog that have never been performed live. We’re also headlining Quebec’s Terra Incognita Festival in May, and hope to add more dates in the near future.' [Prog]

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Concerts: Rhapsody To Reunite On Tour In 2017

Posted by admin on Friday, November 25 @ 14:26:19 PST (1443 reads)

If you recall, some years ago there was a band called Rhapsody. They changed their name to Rhapsody Of Fire in 2003 due to some sort of name-conflict with the Rhapsody music service. Then the band split in 2011 ... but in the unusual way of splitting into two, not just all going their separate ways. Rhapsody Of Fire continued with some members, Luca Turilli's Rhapsody with others (noticeably, of course, Luca Turilli, Rhapsody's/ROF's main composer). That's the rather spotty "Cliff Notes" version of the "story so far." Each thread has released music since the cleaving -- ROF with Dark Wings Of Steel (2013) and Into The Legend (2015); LTR with Ascending To Infinity (2012) and Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus (2015) (a reissue called Prometheus, The Dolby Atmos Experience + Cinematic And Live is due on December 9, marking the first studio album remixed in Dolby Atmos - we'll talk about that later).

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