DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN
While the music of NAZARETH is hot it would seem strange to ask them for a composition dedicated to winter sports. Yet the Austrian Ski Federation adopted the quartet’s new cut, “God Of The Mountain”, as its official song for the 2012/2013 season including the World Championships. For the band, though, 2013 will present another challenge. First off, they’re releasing one more new track. “Clean And Clear And True” in order to raise awareness for a “We Just Help” charity whose aim is to provide safe and clean water for people in third world countries. The operation will be launched in the summer, when NAZ should be deep into recording a new album. Barking!
As their fans were eagerly waiting for a Kickstarter-helped new album, “Grandine il Vento”, to be out soon, and enjoying the “Turn Of The Cards and Scheherazade And Other Stories Live 2011” DVD that documented RENAISSANCE‘s recent tour, tragedy struck. Michael Dunford, the band’s guitarist, main composer and, since the original line-up demise, a leader, have suffered a brain haemorrhage and passed away on November 20th. A musician of highest caliber and a master of enchanting melodies, Dunford easily came up with romantic ballads such as “Ocean Gypsy” and pop tunes like “Northern Lights”, the ensemble’s only hit, and for many years worked on turning “Scheherazade” into a musical. Having had two versions of their group for some time, Michael and singer Annie Haslam got back together to deliver "Tuscany" in 2001, and have continued to take RENAISSANCE to new heights until now. Rest in peace, maestro.
LEAVE YOUR HAT ON
In recent years, many wondered what happened to Jess Roden, a golden voice of ALAN BOWN and BRONCO and a leader of his own band. Looks like after an anthology of his best cuts, the singer grasped the public interest and came up now with “Hidden Masters”, a 6-disc anthology compiled by fan Neil Storey and feauturing a lot of previously unreleased material. To make it all worthwhile and add some more goodies to the fire, they took it to Pledge Music for a crowd founding. A successful effort, now the ultimate limited edition, priced at L150, is gone but cheaper versions are up for grabs. Time to hurry up.
“Genesis Revisited II” has brought some unexpected chart action for Steve Hackett, and his shows are so in demand that the guitarist keeps adding up tour dates. Either it’s stress or variety reasons, but he’s also added a standalone vocalist for the first time since early ’80s, to sing most of the songs that Steve himself or his drummer Gary O'Toole don’t sing. It’s Nad Sylvan who’s on the aforementioned album as well.
A FAB VISION
With a whole lot of good-quality concert footage of THE BEATLES making rounds in bootleggers’ circles, Apple Corps Ltd. don’t plan to release them for all the hellish reasons but supports the OVOW Productions intent of doing a feature film about the Fabs’ tours. “The Beatles Live!” project set about a global quest to find the fans’ own tapes and use these. Ending soon, it can be accessed via a special site.
AN ATOMIC MASS
One of the most powerful art rock trios, QUATERMASS‘s legacy is limited to only one album and a brace of outtakes, but that only LP – containing “Black Sheep Of The Family” that made Ritchie Blackmore leave DEEP PURPLE who didn’t want to cover it, and form RAINBOW who cut it – has been kept in high esteem by many. With John Gustafson on bass and vocals and Mick Underwood on drums, both of whom would join Ian Gillan’s group’s later, and organist Peter Robinson, the record is a real gem. And now it’s to shine anew, as Robinson, who went to compose for films, remixed the album, added some new tracks that were not on the original and is currently in the UK mastering it in 5.1 surround. So, with a slight delay, a 40th anniversary of “Quatermass” will be marked in style, in the spring of 2013.
BOW TO THE VETS
Ron Eckerman has seen it all: a tour manager for LYNYRD SKYNYRD, he survived that horrendous plain crash that killed Ronnie Van Zant, and told many stories in his book, which he offers now to some special people. In Ron’s own words,
“To all active duty military and veterans. My thanks and a present for you – get a free digital copy of the book, “Turn It Up” – it’s the least I can do for the people that place their lives on the line for mine. There is a 25 cent charge to help cover my costs but you don’t have to pay it if you don’t want to. Instructions at the website. This giveaway is good up until Xmas day. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!”
ON THE MARQUE
It’s been 14 long years since British neo-proggers LANDMARQ released their last studio work. Which turns out to be not so last, as the band are finally putting out a new album, the highly anticipated “Entertaining Angels”, a pride of vocalist Tracy Hitchings who shines there alongside drummer Dave Wagstaffe, guitarist Uwe D’Rose and bassist Steve Gee, all contributing to the songwriting process. Some of the pieces are familiar to the fans, as these were present on the group’s live records but are given a proper treatment now. And there are guests including ELO’s cellist Hugh McDowell. Available in special edition, with a bonus disc, as well as a regular one, “Angels” has the art community buzzing.
|1. Entertaining Angels
2. Glowing (pt.I – Friends)
3. Glowing (pt.ii – Lovers)
4. Mountains Of Anglia
5. Personal Universe
6. Prayer (Coming Home)
7. Turbulence (Paradigm Shift)
8. Calm Before The Storm
i. Strange But Beautiful
iii. From The Abyss
1. Walking On Eggshells
MILLER TALES HIS TALE
Billy Sherwood continues the work on another of his all-stars tributes, this time to Steve Miller, and reports that he roped John Parr from ST. ELMO’S FIRE for the most popppiest of Miller’s hits, “Abracadabra”, where the ivories are tinkled by Rick Wakeman who’s also on “Take The Money And Run” with XTC’s Colin Mouldingon vocals. More details to come.
HEART OF THE MATTER
Known as part of CPR, where he plays alongside David Crosby and James Raymond and having recorded with many stars, it’s amazing that Jeff Pevar hasn’t had a solo album before. Yet now the guitarist’s ready to share it with the world, writing this:
“I am excited to let you know that my debut CD, “From The Core”, recorded in the Oregon Caves National Monument, is now available for pre-order. The music on this CD began as 12 improvisations I recorded on acoustic guitar and mandocello for the PBS documentary “The Marble Halls Of Oregon”. After the National Park Service heard this music, they asked if I would consider releasing it as a CD of its own. I decided to take artistic license and bring the tracks I recorded i the caves back to my home studio and overdub various instruments. As the project evolved, I invited some very special guests to add their unique flavor to select pieces, including
Jon Anderson, the voice of YES, who co-wrote lyrics and sings on our song, “River Of Dreams”. I had no idea when I was creating this music what I would play or where the songs would end up harmonically, never mind it end up being my debut solo CD, but it all comes “From The Core”.
ON THE ANGEL WINGS
As announced by Steve Ellis, in 2013 Angel Air are putting out a reissue of the album by WIDOWMAKER, a heavy band the “Love Affair” singer had with ex-RAINBOW Bob Daisley, HAWKWIND’s Huw Lloyd-Langton and Ariel Bender who’d left MOTT THE HOOPLE before that, and before that playd in SPOOKY TOOTH under his birthname Luther Grosvenor. Augmented by three live cuts, it’s a good addition to any collection. Plus, there’ll be more releases from Ellis’ archives, and also Steve’s going to do a new album with very special guests.
The same label has another newbie in the can, “Love You & Leave You” by Verden Allen’s SOFT GROUND. This follow-up to 2009’s "My Masochistic Side" is comprised by both old and new tracks that the former HOOPLE organist laid down afresh with a full band.
|1. Love You And Leave You
2. On The Rebound
3. Find Yourself
4. Knocking On Those Old Back Doors
5. Wine Ridden Talks
6. Hold On To This
7. Soft Ground
8. Son Of The Wise Ones
9. Do You Want Me 2?
10. Long Time No See
11. Two Miles From Heaven
12. Fine Time To Love
13. A New Way