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The Dixie Dregs (cover story) – in-depth interviews with founding members Steve Morse (guitar) and Andy West (bass) on the classic American progressive act’s latest comeback and sporadic career. Says West, “Certainly, being able to play this music at the level we want to has been an effort. You have to really work at it; this isn’t something you just throw together. Going back and relearning these songs, even though for me I originally played on all of them, is very challenging. Also what’s very interesting is listening to this music again. We’re hearing it with new ears.”
Steve Morse – in-depth interview with the American guitar legend on his colorfully varied career, from the Dixie Dregs to Kansas, Deep Purple and Flying Colors. Says Morse, “I tend to write things I’m comfortable playing, so in the process of noodling around with ideas, yeah, I definitely come up with stuff that’s busier than it should be. If the No. 1 concern was having commercial success, pretty much everything I do is the opposite of that. It’s just one of those things I can’t help, I write stuff not destined for the mainstream.”
Pendragon – interviews with duo Nick Barrett (guitars/vocals) and Clive Nolan (keyboards) on the band’s creative philosophy and future plans. Says Barrett, “Our target is a new album and a big tour to go with it in 2019. And we’re thinking about doing something a bit different – two-dayers, with an acoustic show and a ‘meet & greet’ on the first night, where you get a copy of the album. Then the full electric show the next night because by then you’ll know the songs!”
Saga– in-depth interview with vocalist Michael Sadler looking back on the Canadian group’s 40-year history and decision to retire from touring. Says Sadler, “That’s it for the full-on, hardcore touring. But will we continue to do shows if they come up in the future, like one-offs? Sure. If we do record a new album, I want it to be one we’re proud of, like Worlds Apart. We lived and breathed the making of that record.”
The Sea Within – – the story behind progressive rock’s newest “supergroup” assemblage with observations from Jonas Reingold (bass) and Roine Stolt (vocals/guitar). Says Reingold, “It was really weird, because we settled on the money and everything before the record company [InsideOut] heard one single note. Gigs were lined up for us before we even entered the recording studio! We have tons of offers coming in for us to play, so we basically can play as much as we want. But we have to be a bit cool about it and find out what people think, because we don’t know what this will turn into. Nobody knows.”
Cuneiform Records – in-depth interview with independent label founder Steve Feigenbaum on music industry trends precipitating his decision to cease producing new releases. Says Feigenbaum, “This is the ‘money’ quote I’m using with everybody that’s talking to me: There is no business model that allows you to compete with ‘free.’ OK? That’s all I can tell you.”
Spock’s Beard – bassist Dave Meros and singer Ted Leonard discuss the band’s 13th studio album, Noise Floor. Says Meros, “Like with many of our albums, thinking up a title is sometimes the most difficult thing. We each throw in a list of clever ideas and the title that wins usually is not anyone's personal favorite. But it’s the one that was acceptable to all without any one person hating it, and that was the case this time as well. That's democracy in action, folks!”
Wobbler– an overview of this veteran Norwegian group as shared by leader/keyboardist Lars Fredrik Froislie. Says Froislie, “The dictionary explained [‘wobbler’] as something unstable, shaky. We thought that fit us quite nicely, also as a reference to the old analog keyboards which are quite ‘wobbly’ at times. We never heard it before and both thought it sounded rather good. Had we known it referred as well to a fishing hook and a disease, I’m not sure we would have picked the name!”
Jane Getter Premonition –interviews with guitarist Jane Getter and keyboardist Adam Holzman on the band finding its unique voice; also, the art of interpreting studio material on the concert stage. Says Getter, “My taste in music is very eclectic, though obviously coming out of a jazz place originally. I gradually got into music with backbeats and grooves and then found my way into more hard-hitting, edgy stuff. Once I got a solid-body guitar that changed things just a little bit more. So my music now is an assorted combination of all of that, with a rock foundation.”
RTFact – composer Yuri Volodarsky discusses the origin of his new recording project and plans for extravagant live performances. Says Volodarsky, “The live show should be amazing. My television production background will help me come up with visuals. I won’t be playing. I’ll write the script for the video, work with creative elements and special effects similar to Cirque du Soleil. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Alan Parsons Project, Pink Floyd all have amazing shows. That aspect is important to prog rock.”
Jerry King – interview with the Wisconsin-based independent progressive artist who has made a specialty of collaborating long-distance on multiple projects. Says King, “One thing leads to another; it’s an expanding spider web of communication. The threads are many. We’re all scratching each others’ backs via phone, Internet file-sharing and Skype! It’s a family of artists who have the same vision, pretty much.”
Dewey Gurall – the touching and intriguing story behind the late Progression writer’s lifelong love affair with music.
The surround-sound phenomenon – a primer on how best to enjoy recorded progressive music. Also included: an overview of the Jethro Tull boxed-set deluxe reissues featuring 5.1 surround-sound.
Cruise to the Edge 2018 – an in-depth look back at the most recent edition of this shipboard progressive music festival, including artist interviews.
ROSFest 2018 –a review of the longstanding progressive rock festival’s latest entry and last in Pennsylvania before moving to Florida for 2019.
Also in this issue – coverage of Robert Berry’s new album project featuring contributions from the late Keith Emerson, developments with the Kinesis progressive music mail-order service, an in-depth review of Jasun Martz’s new seven-disc boxed set, updates on forthcoming festivals plus more than 100 album and video reviews.