Author Topic: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread  (Read 105881 times)

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Offline Jamesman42

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #35 on: August 10, 2010, 07:24:09 AM »
If I recall correctly, all the albums have Mike Portnoy on drums, and all but Testimony have Randy George on bass.

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #36 on: August 10, 2010, 07:25:48 AM »
Is it just Testimony, One and Sola Scriptura that features Mike Portnoy and that Randy George or w/e his name was?

Mike Portnoy is on all 5 of Neal's Post-Beard prog albums (Testimony, One, ?, Sola Scriptura, and Lifeline), as well as the covers compilation Cover To Cover. Randy George (bass) is featured on all of those albums as well with the exception of Testimony, which had Neal playing bass on that album.

However, Randy appeared with Neal on his tour for Testimony (along with Mike on drums), which probably ignited their working relationship and thus, he was brought in on the One sessions (Note: you can watch all three of them, plus 6 more amazing musicians, on the fantastic live DVD Testimony Live).

The three of them have also recorded a cover of King Crimson's "Starless", during the sessions for Lifeline, but was released through Neal's Inner Circle and not with the bonus covers found on the 2nd disc of the special edition.

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Offline bosk1

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #37 on: August 10, 2010, 03:15:38 PM »
Regarding Neal's lyrics as "hit you over the head"-type lyrics:  Yeah, they definitely are.  Yes, they are often subtle and symbolic.  But the message is still very overt and in your face.  That doesn't bother me in the slightest, and despite the fact that he has some strange doctrinal messages at times, I really like that.  But nobody should pretend the message is anything but blatant. 

As far as Neal working on a solo album, it would not surprise me if Neal wrote the next one with Colin instead of Mike on drums.  No, I'm not aware of any direct plan to do so, and I'm not aware of any sort of rift between Neal and Mike.  It just makes sense to me that having toured with Colin for three album tours now, and having Colin serve as tour manager with TA, I could realistically see Neal making the decisio that Colin should be on the next studio album. 
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Offline BRGM

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #38 on: August 10, 2010, 03:16:12 PM »
Okay, nice and interesting facts, Because I somewhat find One and especially Sola sciptura the bets albums by him, Nice with Gilbert on guitar instead of Neal  ::)

Offline aurorablind

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #39 on: August 10, 2010, 03:20:21 PM »
Okay, nice and interesting facts, Because I somewhat find One and especially Sola sciptura the bets albums by him, Nice with Gilbert on guitar instead of Neal  ::)

Isn't he just playing some solos?

Offline bosk1

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2010, 03:21:21 PM »
Yes, mostly.
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Offline The Letter M

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2010, 03:29:07 PM »
Regarding Neal's lyrics as "hit you over the head"-type lyrics:  Yeah, they definitely are.  Yes, they are often subtle and symbolic.  But the message is still very overt and in your face.  That doesn't bother me in the slightest, and despite the fact that he has some strange doctrinal messages at times, I really like that.  But nobody should pretend the message is anything but blatant. 

As far as Neal working on a solo album, it would not surprise me if Neal wrote the next one with Colin instead of Mike on drums.  No, I'm not aware of any direct plan to do so, and I'm not aware of any sort of rift between Neal and Mike.  It just makes sense to me that having toured with Colin for three album tours now, and having Colin serve as tour manager with TA, I could realistically see Neal making the decisio that Colin should be on the next studio album. 

I could see that happening as well, and perhaps him recording with his live band on the next album instead of having Mike and Randy. Collin did record drums on a bonus track for the special edition of Lifeline, so it sort of sets a precedent for Neal to allow Collin (or really anyone from his live band) to be a part of his upcoming studio work.

I wouldn't mind it, I would still love it if he keeps recording with Mike and Randy, but Neal has always done what he's wanted and I won't care much either way - I'll STILL buy whatever he puts out!

-Marc.
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Offline BRGM

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2010, 03:30:47 PM »
Okay, nice and interesting facts, Because I somewhat find One and especially Sola sciptura the bets albums by him, Nice with Gilbert on guitar instead of Neal  ::)

Isn't he just playing some solos?


oh...But the guitar is still a lot better sounding than in One

Offline Jamesman42

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #43 on: August 11, 2010, 04:56:29 AM »
As far as Neal working on a solo album, it would not surprise me if Neal wrote the next one with Colin instead of Mike on drums.  No, I'm not aware of any direct plan to do so, and I'm not aware of any sort of rift between Neal and Mike.  It just makes sense to me that having toured with Colin for three album tours now, and having Colin serve as tour manager with TA, I could realistically see Neal making the decisio that Colin should be on the next studio album. 

I don't know, it could really go either way, though all of this is totally possible and cool. However, to me, I would think he would keep that part of the studio albums recording process untouched, since he has done so many albums with Randy and Mike.

Collin did record drums on a bonus track for the special edition of Lifeline, so it sort of sets a precedent for Neal to allow Collin (or really anyone from his live band) to be a part of his upcoming studio work.

Paul Bielatowicz, the guitarist from the SSAB DVD, is also on Fly High (unless I am mistaken), and has been a huge help to Morse's live band. Hmm. Who knows? Either way, they're all great musicians and I'm sure good music will be made!


Fake Edit: Holy crap! I just saw the tracklisting for NM's new worship album on Wikipedia, and it appears to have a good handful of covers. Maybe they're all covers, I don't know...but all the covers that I do recognize are songs that I love. I'm going to get that for sure now.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2010, 08:41:14 AM »
Neal's music, whether with SB, TA or solo, is always much better when anyone but him plays lead electric guitar.  As great as Neal is on keys and acoustic guitar, he is a pretty average electric guitar player, and when he plays it, the difference in the quality of playing between the electric guitar and everything else stands out too much at times. 

Offline Jamesman42

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #45 on: August 11, 2010, 09:14:25 AM »
I agree. He shines on the acoustic and keyboards.

Offline Durg

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2010, 10:20:59 AM »
Yep.  Big fan.  I own "One" and "Sola Scriptura".
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Offline The Letter M

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #47 on: November 02, 2010, 10:58:42 AM »
So with Mike out of DT, is it possible that Mike could do another TA or Neal Morse solo album very soon?

I look forward to whatever Mike and Neal may do in 2011. I think Neal likes to keep pretty busy (not as much as Mike, but almost as much), and last I heard, Neal's working on a book, so maybe after that, he'll reunite to record?

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Offline yeshaberto

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #48 on: November 02, 2010, 11:02:21 AM »
either would make me a happy man

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #49 on: November 02, 2010, 11:10:18 AM »
either would make me a happy man

Oh me too! I think it lands largely on Roine and Pete if Mike and Neal want to do another TA record. AFAIK, Roine will likely be touring the "Power Of Two" show, or with just Agents Of Mercy next year, and Pete will have the Marillion Convention shows. I also think Marillion are working on their next album as well. And who knows what else Roine has cooking up in his studio.

I think maybe a Neal-solo record would be a good outlet for Neal, but I can't deny the possibility that doing another TA album so soon after The Whirlwind would do the album some great justice because, IMO, Bridge Across Forever was an AMAZING follow-up to the already fantastic SMPT:e.... so who knows.

-Marc.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #50 on: November 02, 2010, 12:20:57 PM »
I think it is a given that if Neal does another solo album, Portnoy will be there to do the drums on it.

However, you have to wonder if the creative musical juices aren't flowing as much right now in Neal, without input from anyone else (like with TA). When you look at the bonus TA disc, Roine's two songs were new songs that were completely different from the main disc, while Neal's one song was basically a slight reworking of a melody from "The Whirlwind," so maybe he doesn't have as much new music on the brain all ready to go, if you know what I mean.  Roine's two songs basically came across to me as songs that probably would have ended up on a Flower Kings album if they were still an active band, while Neal didn't really come up with anything that new, which I would have thought he would have.  Just thinking out loud here...

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #51 on: November 02, 2010, 12:34:17 PM »
I think it is a given that if Neal does another solo album, Portnoy will be there to do the drums on it.

However, you have to wonder if the creative musical juices aren't flowing as much right now in Neal, without input from anyone else (like with TA). When you look at the bonus TA disc, Roine's two songs were new songs that were completely different from the main disc, while Neal's one song was basically a slight reworking of a melody from "The Whirlwind," so maybe he doesn't have as much new music on the brain all ready to go, if you know what I mean.  Roine's two songs basically came across to me as songs that probably would have ended up on a Flower Kings album if they were still an active band, while Neal didn't really come up with anything that new, which I would have thought he would have.  Just thinking out loud here...

I'm thinking "For Such A Time" was part of his original demos from "The Whirlwind", or part of the demos they made while writing the album? Perhaps it was a song left out of the original album and he wrote/expanded it into a full song for the bonus disc? Then again, you have to realize he had a 45-minute demo for "The Whirlwind" and less than half of that got used on the final album, so I am sure Neal has some demos laying around that haven't been used - melodies, chords, verses, choruses, etc.etc. that could be used on an album.

As for Roine, I think he probably writes very often when he's not busy recording or touring, so it's quite possible that he had those demos laying around, unused TFK session stuff or solo stuff, and decided they'd be good for TA.

If Neal doesn't have a lot of material to work with, I think teaming up with Roine and Pete would be a great option - what he has could be reworked by them and they could put in their demos as well and make another album. I think that'd be a more realistic possibility, and more well received, IMO. I'd rather see another Transatlantic album in 2011 than wait, til possibly 2012, for a Neal Morse solo album.

-Marc.
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Offline The Letter M

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #52 on: November 02, 2010, 10:44:55 PM »
Heads up to Neal Morse Fans here, in a week or two, I will pick up and continue the Neal Morse Survivor, over in the Polls/Survivors forum! Since Quadrochosis already did Testimony, I'll pick up where he left off and start with One, probably one of my favorite albums by Neal! I hope to see some of you guys there voting, especially since the albums from One on are all less than a dozen songs/tracks each, so voting should go by quickly (rather than the mammoth Testimony with it's 29 tracks).

I wonder how voting for Testimony would have gone had it been the 5 large parts instead of the 29 tracks... it definitely would've been a bit shorter, that's for sure! If there's any interest in doing that, I may consider it, but I will start with One as planned, then move chronologically up to Lifeline, then if there's interest in doing the 5 parts of Testimony, I'll do that.

-Marc.
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Offline Ħ

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #53 on: November 03, 2010, 07:01:32 AM »
I own Testimony, as well as the Transatlantic stuff, and from what I can see, he is a very natural musician.  He's also crazy live.  :lol

There are some incredibly emotional moments on the Live version of Testimony.  The crowd really gets into it to.  Everyone's clapping and cheering after Wasted Life, and Neal's like, "All right, guys, this is just part one."
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Offline Quadrochosis

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #54 on: November 03, 2010, 07:26:38 AM »
I think it is a given that if Neal does another solo album, Portnoy will be there to do the drums on it.

However, you have to wonder if the creative musical juices aren't flowing as much right now in Neal, without input from anyone else (like with TA). When you look at the bonus TA disc, Roine's two songs were new songs that were completely different from the main disc, while Neal's one song was basically a slight reworking of a melody from "The Whirlwind," so maybe he doesn't have as much new music on the brain all ready to go, if you know what I mean.  Roine's two songs basically came across to me as songs that probably would have ended up on a Flower Kings album if they were still an active band, while Neal didn't really come up with anything that new, which I would have thought he would have.  Just thinking out loud here...

Yea, but he wrote the majority of the main piece. I don't think he's running out of ideas.
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Offline j

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #55 on: November 03, 2010, 07:57:19 AM »
I own Testimony, as well as the Transatlantic stuff, and from what I can see, he is a very natural musician.  He's also crazy live.  :lol

There are some incredibly emotional moments on the Live version of Testimony.  The crowd really gets into it to.  Everyone's clapping and cheering after Wasted Life, and Neal's like, "All right, guys, this is just part one."

Brother, I don't know if you've heard them or not, but get ahold of One and ? if you can.  Both are miles ahead of Testimony, IMO, which I consider one of his weakest releases.

And although I think I mentioned it before, I've really been digging Sola Scriptura over the past few weeks.  Despite the crappy lyrics, there is some great music on that album.  The solo at the end of The Door is totally unbelievable!  I know that isn't Morse; is that a Paul Gilbert solo?

-J

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #56 on: November 03, 2010, 08:05:11 AM »
I own Testimony, as well as the Transatlantic stuff, and from what I can see, he is a very natural musician.  He's also crazy live.  :lol

There are some incredibly emotional moments on the Live version of Testimony.  The crowd really gets into it to.  Everyone's clapping and cheering after Wasted Life, and Neal's like, "All right, guys, this is just part one."

Brother, I don't know if you've heard them or not, but get ahold of One and ? if you can.  Both are miles ahead of Testimony, IMO, which I consider one of his weakest releases.

And although I think I mentioned it before, I've really been digging Sola Scriptura over the past few weeks.  Despite the crappy lyrics, there is some great music on that album.  The solo at the end of The Door is totally unbelievable!  I know that isn't Morse; is that a Paul Gilbert solo?

-J

It is indeed Paul Gilbert! He does the lead guitar "The Door" and the opening solo in "The Conflict". He also contributed flamenco guitar in "Two Down, One To Go". I really hope Neal decides to have Paul on his next solo album again!

-Marc.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #57 on: November 03, 2010, 08:22:53 AM »
I think it is a given that if Neal does another solo album, Portnoy will be there to do the drums on it.

However, you have to wonder if the creative musical juices aren't flowing as much right now in Neal, without input from anyone else (like with TA). When you look at the bonus TA disc, Roine's two songs were new songs that were completely different from the main disc, while Neal's one song was basically a slight reworking of a melody from "The Whirlwind," so maybe he doesn't have as much new music on the brain all ready to go, if you know what I mean.  Roine's two songs basically came across to me as songs that probably would have ended up on a Flower Kings album if they were still an active band, while Neal didn't really come up with anything that new, which I would have thought he would have.  Just thinking out loud here...

Yea, but he wrote the majority of the main piece.

No he didn't.  

Roine had said this last August:

Quote
As for writing, it's a fair mix - perhaps a few % more of Neal - but you get plenty of everyone's ideas and
lots of jamming went into the second part of that 77 min piece - some of it started from the power trio format
and Neal added stuff later - so it's a LOT of everyone - and I might add some
very cool stuff.

And then Portnoy said this last November:

Quote
Of Neal's original 45-minute "Whirlwind" demo, the only bits that made it to the final Transatlantic version are:
-- II. The Wind Blew Them All Away
-- III. On The Prowl
-- (the ending instrumental section of) XI. Is It Really Happening
-- XII. Dancing With Eternal Glory

Essentially, that's about 20 of 77 minutes....

Everything else stemmed from other demos that Roine & Pete brought in or evolved in the studio once we were all together....

So, Neal definitely did not write the majority of the main piece.  It truly was a collaborative effort, which is a big reason why, I think, it is so good. We got the best of all of them.

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #58 on: November 03, 2010, 08:34:26 AM »
And then Portnoy said this last November:

Quote
Of Neal's original 45-minute "Whirlwind" demo, the only bits that made it to the final Transatlantic version are:
-- II. The Wind Blew Them All Away
-- III. On The Prowl
-- (the ending instrumental section of) XI. Is It Really Happening
-- XII. Dancing With Eternal Glory

Essentially, that's about 20 of 77 minutes....

Everything else stemmed from other demos that Roine & Pete brought in or evolved in the studio once we were all together....

So, Neal definitely did not write the majority of the main piece.  It truly was a collaborative effort, which is a big reason why, I think, it is so good. We got the best of all of them.


That is correct, but if you watch the Making Of DVD, you'll know "Rose Colored Glasses" was pretty much entirely Neal's song too, but not necessarily part of "The Whirlwind" as Neal demoed it, so that's another 8 minutes of music or so. Also, he wrote most of the lyrics, as least it seems that so, so it's understandable why one would think he wrote most of the music, but lyrically is mostly him - musically I do believe it was a band effort, just with major contributions from Neal (his original "Whirlwind" demo and RCG).

-Marc.
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Offline Tick

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #59 on: November 03, 2010, 08:39:17 AM »
Their in no bigger Neal fan than myself! I approve this thread greatly! :tup
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Offline juice

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #60 on: November 03, 2010, 12:45:03 PM »
Neal is awesome! I got into his music through Transatlantic and now I have some Spock's Beard and some of his solo stuff as well.  :tup

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #61 on: November 03, 2010, 01:03:42 PM »
Don't Try This At Home - out of this world performance.  Anyone who isn't a Neal fan after listening to that version of "The Light" should have their head examined.
     

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #62 on: November 03, 2010, 01:06:43 PM »
Fair enough, Marc, but that still doesn't constitute a majority. ;)  I think it goes without saying, based on the words of both Stolt and Portnoy, that the majority of the main piece was written by the whole band.  Neal might very well have had the most parts in it of those written by himself (compare to parts Stolt wrote by himself, etc.), but that still doesn't automatically mean a majority.  I hope that made sense. :lol

Back to Neal's solo, I continue to insist that his self-titled first solo album is highly underrated, and that "Everything Is Wrong" and "Emma" are two of his best solo songs to date.

Offline Ħ

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #63 on: November 03, 2010, 02:43:21 PM »
Hey Marc,

If you're still gonna do the survivor, I think Testimony would be way easier if we broke up the parts.  Vote the best songs on each part separately, and then merged the winners.  That way, we could have a copule threads open at once--much faster.
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Offline The Letter M

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #64 on: November 03, 2010, 03:12:40 PM »
Hey Marc,

If you're still gonna do the survivor, I think Testimony would be way easier if we broke up the parts.  Vote the best songs on each part separately, and then merged the winners.  That way, we could have a copule threads open at once--much faster.

Well, Quadrochosis already did the survivor for Testimony, and the top 2 songs (Finalists) were "Oh To Feel Him" and "The Storm Before The Calm", with "I Am Willing" landing in the Consolation spot, so I think I am going to use those. Unfortunately, the way it was run, any of the songs that got votes, period, in the first couple rounds, were voted off, even with 1 vote, so the whole survivor only ran 5 rounds. It did manage to cut out 20 songs in 2 rounds, though, between the 3 people who voted (which were at least me, Quadrochosis, and another person).

Personally, I think those three songs are worthy of being the winners, and I feel no REAL need to re-do the survivor for that album unless there is demand to do so, but only if i have more than 5 dedicated voters, which is why I planned on doing the other albums first, gain attention and voters for albums that have far less choices to make (12 or less tracks per album from One to Lifeline).

-Marc.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #65 on: November 03, 2010, 10:53:13 PM »
"Oh, to Feel Him" finished in the top two?  That surprises me.  I mean, it is a good song, but I guess I am just a bit surprised it outlasted "Wasted Life," "Somber Days" and "Break of Day."  Then again, was this one of those survivors that had like six people voting? :lol :p

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #66 on: November 03, 2010, 11:02:04 PM »
"Oh, to Feel Him" finished in the top two?  That surprises me.  I mean, it is a good song, but I guess I am just a bit surprised it outlasted "Wasted Life," "Somber Days" and "Break of Day."  Then again, was this one of those survivors that had like six people voting? :lol :p

Six?! That would have been a blessing! We had like 3 every round... which is why I'm thankful for the 4-5 I get with my Spock's Beard Survivor! :biggrin:

-Marc.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #67 on: November 12, 2010, 10:28:22 PM »
Upon further review, I can safely that ? and One are undoubtedly his two best solo records. 

Also, assuming Neal does more solo albums, I'd love for his next one to be proggy as usual, but with all individual songs, as opposed to having any type of concept or theme, musically or lyrically.  As much as I like his stuff, he goes overboard with the musical reprises way too often, and going for an album that is all different songs, like he usually did with SB prior to Snow, could bring out the best in him again, I think. 

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #68 on: November 12, 2010, 10:40:46 PM »
Upon further review, I can safely that ? and One are undoubtedly his two best solo records. 

Also, assuming Neal does more solo albums, I'd love for his next one to be proggy as usual, but with all individual songs, as opposed to having any type of concept or theme, musically or lyrically.  As much as I like his stuff, he goes overboard with the musical reprises way too often, and going for an album that is all different songs, like he usually did with SB prior to Snow, could bring out the best in him again, I think. 

Two questions for ya, Kev:

1- Do you own the Special Edition of One with the bonus tracks? And if so, do you listen to the album with the restored 11-song tracklist?

2- What did you think of Lifeline? It's not any type of concept or theme, and as you said, is full of different, and individual songs. Infact I liken the album to more along the lines of SB's V, especially in that it opens with a 14-15 minute epic (and even aspects of "Lifeline" are similar to "At The End Of The Day"), and contains a lengthy multi-part epic that is based on Neal's life ("The Great Nothing" and "So Many Roads"), and between them are sandwiched 4 shorter songs of varying styles and ranges (loud and heavy, to soft and acoustic).

-Marc.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2010, 11:15:28 PM by The Letter M »
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Offline faemir

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Re: Official Neal Morse Appreciation Thread
« Reply #69 on: November 13, 2010, 09:22:22 AM »
I really don't get the disliking of Lifeline, it's superb.