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Artist News: Neil Peart of Rush Dies At Age 67 After 3 Year Battle With Brain Cancer

Posted by admin on Saturday, January 11 @ 16:26:58 PST (84 reads)

Neil Peart (c) 2009 Andrew MacNaughtonBy now, you have all heard the devastating news that Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart passed away at the age of 67 after a 3 year battle with brain cancer. Any lover of music will surely know his name and the music of Rush, if only for their signature hit "Tom Sawyer." But there were Rush albums before Moving Pictures and many after (all worthy of checking out). All of these albums marked by the three unique talents of Geddy Lee (bass, vocals, keys), Alex Lifeson (guitars, backing vocals) and Peart. Considered by many - including yours truly - to be one of the best drummers in the world, Peart also had a very personal take on the world. Influenced by Ayn Rand, among others, his lyrics were always literate and insightful. And, of course, his drumming - dynamic, powerful, subtle and always tasteful. He was not one for flash for the sake of flash. He didn't have an enormous drumkit because it looked impressive - though it did - but to bring life to tones and textures, moods...

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CD/DVD Releases: Talisman Reunite For Song In Memory Of Marcel Jacob

Posted by admin on Sunday, January 05 @ 17:57:01 PST (74 reads)

Single Released In Cooperation With Suicide Zero Organization

Talisman, the band founded and created by the late Marcel Jacob in 1989, have written, produced and recorded a new song entitled “Never Die (A Song for Marcel)” for their fallen brother who took his own life 10 years ago on July 21, 2009. Get the song here: orcd.co/talisman.

The video fo 'Never Die - A Song for Marcel Jacob' can be viewed here (and below): youtu.be/qUh0lcTC1I0.

Surviving members Jeff Scott Soto, Jamie Borger and Pontus Norgren penned the song as a tribute to Jacob as well as the legacy of music they created from 1990 - 2007.

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Artist News: Ex-Angra, Shaman Vocalist Andre Matos Passes Away

Posted by admin on Thursday, June 13 @ 11:23:52 PDT (312 reads)

Andre Matos circa 2000It was reported yesterday that André Matos, one time vocalist with Angra and Shaman, passed away on June 8, 2019, the result of a heart attack; he was 47.

Matos is probably best known for fronting Angra, the Brazillian classically-influenced progressive/speed metal band. Their recording debut came with 1993's Angel's Cry, followed by 1996's Holy Land (my personal favourite). A couple of EPs and album later, three-fifths of Angra had left, including Matos.

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Artist News: Cast Celebrate 40th Anniversary

Posted by admin on Sunday, September 02 @ 23:35:19 PDT (1028 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 @ 18:26:12 PDT (830 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 @ 15:04:41 PDT (2600 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 (1795 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 @ 22:45:46 PDT (2051 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 (2655 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 (2379 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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