CD Review: Neal Morse Testimony and One Live

Scan0003Neal Morse
Testimony and One Live
Morsefest 2014
Radiant Records

Released on 2 Blu-Ray or Special Edition 2 DVD/4CD Set

 

This is a musical equivalent of a T.V. series Box set; the advantage is you can dip in and out across the four albums and the music still has a form and a narrative or you can sit back, feet up a glass of your favourite tipple and let the two nights of concerts flow from your speakers for just over five hours.

 

The long-time rhythm collaborators drummer Mike Portnoy and bassist Randy George plus the anchors of the musical pictures being painted are the Neal Morse Band, the keyboard delights from Bill Hubauer and Eric Gillette’s guitar magic joining Neal Morse.  In then the addition of layers of sounds that fill out the textures and add a velvety lushness of sound from 4 piece horn section, 6 member female background vocal, strings and full orchestral percussion the sound is progressive and full of enchanting moments some loud whilst others take on a more subtle hue.

 

Across the four CDs is a Prog-Rock show for everyone to enjoy with the added bonus of DVDs to see the full stage show spectacular. This is music that is full of melodies and hooks of choruses that catch the ear and then the complexity of different instruments meeting through clever arrangements so that the show is a celebration of everything that is Prog-Rock as the tempos ebb and flow, the level rises and falls and the cadences of the guitars squeal as the six-strings take centre stage.

 

Neal Morse’s career whether in bands including Transatlantic and Spock’s Beard or as a solo artist this is an undertaking that takes the confidence of being a respected musician and the faith that bringing a project of this size to stage will deliver the music that has a purpose and entertains – this has been achieved whether you listen to the whole or parts of the collection the music paints for you pictures in the music mind.

 

Yes, in this length of music there are moments of self-indulgence but that can be overlooked as the sum of the whole is progressive rock that pours from keys, strings and the percussive nerve will hold the structure together it is a roller-coaster ride of delight. The vocals when used are another musical instrument as the harmonies flow around the words and then the guitar picks up the lead from the voice. This is a journey of Neal Morse’s life and challenges having left the band Spock’s Beard and finding Christianity. This is a true Prog-Rock concept journey that finds you taken on a road trip that allows you to explore the emotions, changes and challenges we all meet on the road.

 

This is for the collection of all lovers of Prog Rock and his ever growing fan base who must be delighted and at times it is like playing Name That Tune as there are snippets of tunes we all recall. The energy of live music is live and well on Morsefest 2014.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

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