Nashville, TN—Coming off of a highly successful 2011 marked by the release of the critically acclaimed “Testimony 2” and an enthusiastically attended tour throughout the U.S., Mexico and Europe, Neal Morse could easily have justified going on a creative hiatus to catch his breath. But that would fly in the face of his convictions and the sense that he is being led to build upon the swell of success he is experiencing.
In January 2012, Morse was pondering the possibilities of a change in direction. After all, it had been a decade since he left the progressive rock stalwart Spock’s Beard to pursue a solo career that would allow him to write more freely about his personal faith. And in that time he had recorded 6 impressive studio records that were heralded for their unique hybrid of epic compositions that tested the boundaries of musicianship while maintaining a remarkable sense of melody through irresistible hooks and addictive choruses. He could have taken a break. Or gone in an entirely new direction. But he felt led otherwise, as summed up in the new record’s title track: “You’ve got some new momentum, you better keep going”.
Morse’s long time studio partner and friend Mike Portnoy had a small window in January 2012 when he could record. The only problem was, there was only one song and a few bits and pieces written. Taking a leap of faith, he scheduled a recording session with the drumming legend and longtime bass player Randy George in two weeks, hoping that the music would arrive before the musicians. And boy did it ever.
“Momentum” features five exceptional stand alone songs and one longer conceptual piece. In addition to the accessible title track, there’s the quirkily clever, Gentle Giant-inspired “Thoughts Part 5,” which follows in the footsteps of the previous “Thoughts” tracks penned by Morse with Spocks Beard. “Smoke and Mirrors” trods an introspective, acoustic path, while “Weathering Sky” offers a raucous cry for deliverance and renewal from a searching soul. Rounding out the shorter tracks is “Freak,” an upbeat, strings-charged song unlike anything Neal has recorded to date. Last comes “World Without End,” a near 34-minute, six-part epic that contains everything that defines Morse as a master of the genre.
Another highlight of this record is that, in addition to a masterful solo by guitar wizard Paul Gilbert, there are contributions from Adson Sodré, Bill Hubauer and Eric Gillette—three musicians who were selected as members of Morse’s new touring band through an exciting YouTube driven open audition process.
While “Momentum” propels Morse forward and further cements his standing as a prolific progressive rock icon, it steers clear of the potential “more of the same” trap, and features fresh musical angles and some of the finest performances to date by the Morse, Portnoy, George team.
The release of “Momentum” on September 11 will be quickly followed up by a North American tour that spotlights the fresh talent of his new live band, with stops in such cities as Nashville, Jacksonville, New York, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle and Mexico City.
Much to the delight of progressive rock fans around the globe, Neal Morse is moving ahead with “Momentum,” and there doesn't appear to be any kind of end to his unique creative talent in sight.
02.Thoughts Part 5 (7:51)
03.Smoke and Mirrors (4:38)
04.Weathering Sky (4:15)
06.World Without End (33:39)
ii Never Pass Away
iii Losing Your Soul
iv The Mystery
v Some Kind of Yesterday
vi World Without End
Total Length: 61:17
Written and Produced by Neal Morse
“Thoughts Part 5”—Written by Neal Morse and Randy George
“Smoke and Mirrors” and “The Mystery”—Music by Neal Morse, Lyrics by Chris Thompson and Neal Morse
Mixed by Rich Mouser
Neal Morse – Keyboards, Guitars, Vocals
Mike Portnoy – Drums
Randy George – Bass
Paul Gilbert – Guitar solo on “Momentum”
Adson Sodré – Guitar Solos on “World Without End”
Bill Hubauer – Clarinet, flute, guitar and additional keys on “The Mystery”
Eric Gillette – Additional vocals on “Thoughts Part 5”
Wil Morse – Additional vocals on “Thoughts Part 5”
Chris Carmichael – Strings
Rick Altizer – Additional vocals on “Weathering Sky” and “Smoke and Mirrors”
Neal Morse Tour Dates:
October 02, 2012 USA Nashville, TN
601 4th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37210
Tickets: COMING SOON!
October 03, 2012 USA Jacksonville, FL
Murray Hill Theatre
932 Edgewood Ave. South
Jacksonville, FL 32205
Tickets: Radiant Tickets
October 05, 2012 Mexico Mexico City Salon Jose Cuervo
Lago Andromaco #17 esq. Moliere,
Col. Ampliación Granada
México, DF 11529
Tickets: TicketMaster Mex
October 06, 2012 USA Los Angeles, CA The Center Theater
7630 South Washington Ave
Whittier, CA 90602
October 07, 2012 USA Seattle, WA Seattle Center
325 5th Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
Tickets: Stairway Press
October 09, 2012 USA Denver, CO
The Soiled Dove
7401 East 1st Avenue
Denver, CO 80230
Tickets:The Soiled Dove
October 10, 2012
October 11, 2012 USA New York City, NY
High Line Ballroom
431 W. 16th Street
New York City, NY 10011
Tickets: High Line Tickets
October 12, 2012 USA Chicago, IL Arcada Theater
105 East Main Street
Saint Charles, IL 60174