Thursday, October 30, 2014

Progressive Rock Review: The Australian Pink Floyd Show-Chicago Theatre Oct 2nd

Release Date: 2014
Label: Indie

This was an interesting album to receive for review, Chicago Theatre Oct 2nd, by The Australian Pink Floyd Show, as, although I have not seen this bunch live, I have seen another world renowned Pink Floyd tribute band and I was very impressed. The band had its beginnings in Adelaide in 1988 when a local guitarist, who was obsessed by Pink Floyd, was looking to augment his band and advertised for a vocalist and a keyboard player with the proviso that the band played “only Pink Floyd.” The resulting 5 piece band honed their sound, but despite positive crowd reaction, they drifted apart until a refocusing and redoubling of their efforts moved them forward in 1992.

Their big break came when Think Floyd, as they were then, were considered as ideal for a Pink Floyd Convention at Wembley in 1993, and by the time this rolled around, the band had become The Australian Pink Floyd Show. They were then asked to perform at an event marking David Gilmour’s 50th birthday and were joined onstage by David and Rick Wright.

Fast forward to 2014 and The Australian Pink Floyd Show has evolved into one of the best tribute bands in the world. The show, as it is very difficult to keep referring to them as a band, comprises of a large number of members, at the last count, 11 of them. They are Steve Mac (guitar, vocals), Jason Sawford (keyboards), Colin Wilson (bass, vocals), Paul Bonney (drums), David Domminney Fowler (guitar, vocals), Alex McNamara (vocals), Lorelei McBroom (vocals), Laura Smiles (vocals), Emily Lynn (vocals) and Mike Kidson (sax).

The live album release, Chicago Theatre Oct 2nd, is a 9 track album with a running time of around 70 minutes. The longest track on offer is the opening track on the album, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” at 14:08 minutes, which is a curtailed version of the original, which is over 25 minutes long in its full version, and the shortest track is “What Do You Want From Me?” from the latest Pink Floyd release, The Division Bell, at 4:29 minutes.

The opening track, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (14:08), is performed immaculately, which isn’t surprising considering how long the band have been playing the Pink Floyd catalogue. As with all the tracks on offer here, you can easily imagine that you are listening to Pink Floyd and unfortunately, that is where my problem arises.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I have seen another Pink Floyd tribute band, who also tour the world, and while the live event was an amazing evening, I didn’t feel like purchasing a live CD of a previous show which was available at the merchandise stall. I would imagine that an evening watching The Australian Pink Floyd Show would be an unforgettable experience with the light show, the atmosphere and the amazing collection of musicians all gelling together, making those people unlucky enough not to have seen Pink Floyd live (and I include myself in that number sadly), live through an evening as close to the original evenings as possible.

That then brings me to my “problem,”, which is that as The Australian Pink Floyd Show are so adept at covering the material of Pink Floyd, why would I not simply buy the original Pink Floyd material? The Australian Pink Floyd sound like the original band and my own view is that the reason they have a huge following is the spectacle that they are capable of staging.

The Australian Pink Floyd Show cover material from several albums that include Meddle (1971), Dark Side Of The Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), The Wall (1979) and The Division Bell (1994) and if you have the chance to see the band live and want an audio reminder, then this release might be what you are looking for, but I cannot see where the wider market for this release lies.

The Australian Pink Floyd Show is a large group of skillful professional musicians presenting a spectacular evening of entertainment, which anyone attending will be blown away by, but a live covers CD, such as Chicago Theatre Oct 2nd, I am not at all sure about. This therefore makes any grading very difficult, but I have decided on the grade below on the basis of the excellent skill of the musicians involved.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Another Brick In The Wall, Wish You Were Here


Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Coming Back To Life
Time_Breathe (reprise)
What Do You Want From Me
Another Brick In The Wall
Wish You Were Here
One Of These Days
Comfortably Numb

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

October 30, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Featured Track: Fletch Towell Band-Its Just the Same

The Fletch Towell Band knows how to keep things simple and still make a point with their music.

"Its Just the Same" is a slow burner with elements of pop and jazz intertwined to tell the story.

There is something to be said for the simplicity of a ballad and being straightforward. The Fletch Towell Band get it done nicely on their new track. There is some nice rhythmic guitar placed just right and the addition of some sax makes it that much better.

MuzikMan Rating-4/5

More About The Fletch Towell Band:

Omnia est unum (One Is All)

Stylish, contemporary and fresh, with a broad range of influences and genres, one of the new breed of musician's collaborative breaking ground as the new millennium begins. With uninhibited exploration of technology, and dedication to perfection and originality, creating music with a unique combination of blues, jazz, pop and fusion. From ballads to high energy hybrids, remaining unencumbered by conventions and tradition.  Live large, break the mold.  You are looking for something real and tangible, its here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Neo Prog Review: Gandalf’s Fist-A Forest Of Fey

Release Date: 20th October 2014
Label: Indie
I was very pleased when this album, A Forest of Fey by Gandalf’s Fist, dropped onto my desk for review as I had reviewed the last album, A Day In The Life Of A Universal Wanderer, and was very impressed by the music. Initially formed in 2005, apparently when a mutual friend of the two founding members, invented a silly name to impress someone, and thus Gandalf’s Fist was formed by multi-instrumentalist Dean Marsh and lyricist/vocalist Luke Severn. The band has been influenced by classic bands such as Pink Floyd, The Who and Iron Maiden, then Porcupine Tree. The band has produced 4 albums prior to A Forest Of Fey, starting with The Master and the Monkey (2010), Road To Darkness (2011), From A Point of Existence (2012) and as previously mentioned, A Day In The Life Of A Universal Wanderer (2013).

For this latest album, the band has been expanded with the addition of 2 more members, so alongside Dean (vocals, guitar, mandolin, keyboards and additional bass) and Luke (vocals), we now have Chris Ewen (bass) and Stefan Hepe (drums). There has also been a glittering array of guests on the album, with John Mitchell from It Bites/Arena (vocals), Troy Donockley from Nightwish/Bad Shepherds (bouzouki and low whistles), Dave Oberle from Gryphon (bodhran), Clive Nolan from Pendragon (keyboards) and Matt Stevens from The Fierce and the Dead (ambient guitar). Two other vocalists also joined in the fun, Melissa Hollick (female lead) and Jennifer Pedersen (additional backing).

A Forest Of Fey is a 12 track album with a total playing time of around 51 minutes and follows the psychedelic folk tinged journey of a young girl trapped in a malevolent woodland, so, you might have guessed what we have here is a concept album. The shortest track included on the album is little more than a connecting segment and is track 4, “The Figure Speaks” at only 44 seconds, and the longest track is the title track, “A Forest of Fey (including Wisdom of the Reptile and The Lament for a Silent Verse)” at over 8 minutes. (8:33)
As already mentioned, A Forest Of Fey is a concept album and the opening track, “Childhood Ghosts” (2:22) is an amazingly atmospheric offering as it sets the scene of the young girl wandering too far away from her mother and drifting off into the woodland. A voice drifts in and out of the background followed by a squawking crow, a creaking gate and steps on a gravel path, before the haunting vocals of Luke lead the track on into “Gardens Of The Lost” (6:03). There is some stunning work on whistles by Troy Donockley and then the crystal clear vocals of Melissa Hollick continue the story. The initial folk prog sound merges into prog rock and there are several shifts and tempo changes. Troy then reappears adding an almost Tullesque sound to the proceedings. These opening 2 tracks certainly pull the listener into the story and when the tale moves into the title track, “A Forest of Fey” (8:33) you become aware that you are listening to a stunning piece of work. The vocals are mainly the responsibility of Luke and the track floats in and out of the light and dark, all the while drawing the listener further and further in.

The shortest track, “The Figure Speaks” (0:44) is a spoken monologue, linking what has gone before with what is about to happen. “The World We Created” (5:42) gently takes the storyline onwards and is firmly steeped in prog style with some superb hooks as the track ebbs and flows. Moving into track 6 “The Circus In The Clearing” (4:44), the keyboards get the chance to shine, painting a perfect aural soundscape to depict the title. The vocals are again by Luke, before the track moves into an almost dream-like section with eventually some intense work by all the band members.

There then follows a short atmospheric piece, “Blood For A Royal Pardon” (1:37) with more dream-like vocals, which then flows into “Drifter On The Edge Of Time” (6:37). Some gentle piano starts this track with some subtle guitar work in the background, provided by Matt Stevens, before the sound builds slowly to herald the entrance of Luke and a continuation of the story which switches the vocals to Melissa and then both voices swap the lead before some excellent harmonizing. A classic keyboard passage, courtesy of Clive Nolan, builds up just prior to 6 minutes and the track meanders to a finale.

“Forest Rose” (4:36) harks again to the Jethro Tull sound with a Celtic slant and slightly different style of vocal, but the excellent high standard of both music and lyrics continue onward effortlessly. Track 10, “Return From The Tournament” (2:04) has the added contribution of Troy (Cumbrian bouzouki) and the vocals and bodhran playing of Dave Oberle. This is a very simple but effective rock ballad and leads the storyline into “Stories Old and Stories Told” (6:05) which is another superb piece of music involving John Mitchell on vocals and Matt Stevens on ambient guitar. This is a slow burner of a track, supremely melodic, which takes flight a couple of times. There is some great harmonizing between male and female voices towards the ending.

The final track “A Poison Tree” (2:37) is heralded by woodland sounds and a ringing bell and a breathy but powerful vocal which brings the story to a conclusion. This is another track which builds in intensity before returning to the plaintive sound of the mother crying out for her child.

A Forest Of Fey is best listened to in its entirety, as all concept albums should be. From the aural soundscape introduction to the return of the same as the story concludes, the listener is drawn into this majestic piece of work. I was very impressed with the previous album, A Day In The Life Of A Universal Wanderer, but Gandalf’s Fist has raised the bar by several notches. This album certainly sports both “One To Buy” and “The Experience Will Last Forever” stickers on the cover and my simple advice would be to go and get a copy as soon as you possibly can, as you will not be disappointed.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Gardens Of The Lost, A Forest Of Fey, Stories Old and Stories Told


Childhood Ghosts
A Forest Of Fey
The Figure Speaks
The World We Created
The Circus In The Clearing
Blood For A Royal Pardon
Drifter On The Edge Of Time
Forest Rose
Return From The Tournament
Stories Old And Stories Told
A Poison Tree

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

October 27, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

Swedish Composer and Keyboard Virtuoso Pär Lindh Releases New Classical Christmas Album 'Three Christmas Concertos'

¨Classical Rock Keyboard Legend Pär Lindh goes all the way and releases his first Concerto in Classical style!¨

Sweden - Possibly one of the most talented composer and keyboardist to emerge from Sweden, Pär Lindh will be releasing a new classical CD titled 'Three Christmas Concertos'. For those in the progressive rock community Pär Lindh is considered a keyboard wizard – so much so that he was chosen to play keys for the reunion of the legendary Nice (a prestigious position only held by keyboard visionary Keith Emerson). With the release of several highly acclaimed albums, Pär Lindh has garnered worldwide acclaim. And now, for the first time, he has released a purely classical Christmas album!

Says Pär, “I have every Christmas since my youth been listening to the 'Arcangelo Corelli' concerto (as well as Greg Lake's 'I Believe In Father Christmas') so it became a natural idea once I had my own Christmas piece. When I rewrote my concerto 2011 and extended it from the three movements I composed 1979-1981 to four movements. I found then that the third movement had a distinct Christmas carracter. And since my idea is to write four concertos to form a modern version of the four seasons suite by Vivaldi. This Christmas concerto would then have the nickname 'The Winter'. So in the future there will be the spring, summer and autumn.”

This is the first release by Pär's new record label based in Sweden called NORDVERK CLASSICAL MASTERWORKS. Next release is due for early 2015. You will find on this album a new work, which has been predicted to become a future classic, as well as two well-known classical Christmas concertos played in such a way as to give listeners who are familiar with this music a possibility to hear it performed in a new light. 'Three Christmas Concertos' includes the first ever recording of Pär's concerto 'Then Svenska Julkonserten', which was recorded winter 2013/2014. 

The premiere which took place in Sweden on December 4, 2011 was a huge success. Says Pär, “The work recieved thunderous applause after each movement and on one occasion even during a movement. I realised then that this work had the quality to go directly to the hearts of an audience. In November 2013, we recorded the three concertos. Kennet Boman oboe, Anders Lagerqvist kapellmeister and the orchestra has beautifully captured the mood of my work. Manfredini, having written several Christmas concertos, we choose this lovely work to be the sweet balacing piece in C-major between two concertos both in minor keys and of greater length. It has also been a pleasure to record this version of 'Corellis' famous concerto.”

Three Christmas Concertos including a new concerto by Pär Lindh

1. Pär Lindh Concerto grosso in a-minor for oboe, violin, celesta, tubular bells and string orchestra
2. Francesco Manfredini (1680-1748) Concerto grosso per il Santissimo Natale in C-major
3. Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) Concerto Grosso i g-minor Fatto per la notte di Natale

Pär Lindh celesta & harpsichord
Kennet Bohman oboe
Anders Lagerkvist violin (known from Pär Lindh project album Time Mirror)
Kern Westerberg 2nd violin
Torbjörn Helander viola
Natalia Goldman cello
Per Björkling bass
Urban Grip tubular bells

Produced by Pär Lindh
Artistic director Pär Lindh
Kapellmeister Anders Lagerqvist
Recorded by Crimsonic Label Studios
Engineered by Pär Lindh
Mixed at Recordia by Fredrik Larnemo & Pär Lindh
Cover Artwork by Davide Guidoni (
Special thanks to Mr David Hoyland
NORDVERK/Crimsonic Label 2014

Here's what the press have been raving about Pär Lindh:

¨Pär Lindh is the Mozart of our time!¨

“A brilliant renaissance for Swedish classical music!¨

“Pär Lindh is the Scandinavian king of the keyboards!”

¨The music was filled with pure magic, beautiful harmony and of such beauty that Pär Lindh should be called the greatest composer of Sweden. He surpasses the world-famous composer Arvo Pärt by far!¨ 

¨Lindh's tonal language goes directly to the heart. Like the music of the great Jean Sibelius!¨ 

¨This unique piece is really a musical gem. Nothing like it has ever been written in Sweden before!¨

¨A storming success! After the last movement the applause just would not stop and the orchestra had to play the last movement allegro moderato once again as an encore!¨

¨A Swedish masterpiece without equal!¨

¨The Vivaldi of Sweden!¨

In closing, Pär has this to impart, “Well the message is that since we unfortunately live in a very dark and seemingly hopeless reality today I just wanted to give people a very positive and beautiful message of hope and goodwill and to help us all meet our tomorrows in a cool, progressive and positive way.”

To purchase Pär Lindh's 'Three Christmas Concertos':

For information & booking: ; ;

Press Inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158 (USA),

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Progressive/Alternative Rock Review-The Pineapple Thief-Magnolia

Release Date: September 16, 2014
Label: Kscope

The music of The Pineapple Thief’s Magnolia is as refreshing as a cool breeze on a hot and humid day.  There is a good chance that it not quite anything that you have heard so far this year.  The music has an emotional and enduring power in a way that only great music can.  Magnolia is one of the few instances where, when the last song finishes, you will think that this could be one of those rare perfect albums that stay with you for life.

Hailing from Yeovil, Somerset, England, The Pineapple Thief formed in 1999. Consisting of Bruce Soord (guitar, vocals), Dan Osborne (drums), Jon Sykes (bassist), and Steve Kitch (keyboards), Magnolia is there tenth album and it is one for the ages, “representing the best of everything that The Pineapple Thief have achieved to date.”  Front man Bruce Soord said that “All I ever wanted was to write catchy songs that stay with people” and he does that and more on Magnolia.

Catchy, melodic, harmonious, emotional, and lasting are some of the words that I would use to describe the music on Magnolia, and this is no more evident than on the opening track, “Simple as That.”  It is simply beautiful sounding music with the right touches of light and heavy to make for some amazing progressive/alternative rock that will be running through your head all day and night.  “Alone at Sea” is another vibrant song that encompasses The Pineapple Thief’s breathtaking sound.  It is a relaxing song that really hits its stride with the chorus and instrumental parts.  Also, the vocals are just absolutely pleasant and soothing.  “Don’t Tell Me” slows things down a tad and brings the album to a different emotional height.  The music has the type of power that will just sweep you away, much like the song that follows it, “Magnolia.”  The title track is catchy as a pop song and as awe-inspiring as a great painting.

Heavy on the emotional side of things, “Season’s Past” is as serene as a day dream.  The lyrics paint a pretty picture, but there is a hint of melancholy behind it all.  Starting off slow and brooding, “Coming Home” has a cool rock vibe and a great atmosphere.  “The One You Left to Die” kills it with its sick riffs and moving vocals.  It has that hypnotic quality that will have you rushing to hit the repeat button.  It is one powerful and enchanting song.  “Breathe” is a decidedly stellar rock song with short, intense moments between long, calmer sections.   

“From Me” weighs heavy on the heart with its depressing lyrics and is like a sad lullaby.  “Sense of Fear” brings things back up to a livelier pace with roaring drums and wailing guitars.  It is another example of The Pineapple Thief’s catchy and memorable rock sound.  The penultimate song, “A Loneliness,” is a light, emotional song that has an uplifting atmosphere.  “Bond” brings the album to a close on an emotional and harmonious note.

If The Pineapple Thief’s Magnolia was a painting, then it would be hanging in the Louvre, because it is a masterpiece.  There has not been an album all year with music that makes an impression like this. It is the type of music that gets better with each listen. There are about two months left in 2014 and Magnolia is my top album of the year. 

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Simple as That, The One You Left to Die, Sense of Fear

Brian McKinnon

October 23, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk


01.Simple As That
02.Alone at Sea
03.Don’t Tell Me
05.Season’s Past
06.Coming Home
07.The One You Left to Die
09.From Me
10.Sense of Fear
11.A Loneliness

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Instrumental New Age Review: Richard Theisen-Mayan Stars

Release Date: 2014
Label: Indie

Richard Theisen is a Grammy award winning composer and performer. His new release Mayan Stars was inspired by the lost civilization of the Maya. The tracks presented on this release
are a smooth blend of new age, classical and world. It’s an enticing musical stew of instrumental pleasures.

Each track is like a brush that paints all the notes on a broad musical canvas. Within each song are stories that unfolds and words are not necessary. Theisen knows how to shape the music into a creation that is a reflection of each title.

What I found most impressive is the range of music on display and the number of instruments played by the artist. With the exception of a solo guitar on “Blood Moon” he does it all on Mayan Stars. The title track drops the curtain appropriately ushering in the age of a people long since passed. The wonder we still hold for that highly advanced civilization is present to this day. The track is as majestic as their legacy. When “Jungle Zen” starts you know that it’s going to be an adventure…a musical tapestry that unfolds before your senses and leaves you tingling and excited to explore more. Perhaps it is time to go on your own private adventure and let the music lead the way? This music has the ability to take you there in a matter of minutes.

The music all seems to fall together so nicely and each track has a different feel and overall atmosphere of intrigue and beauty. Whether it’s a simply placed acoustic guitar or building layers of keyboards the music invites a sense of wonder that is within us all. 

“The Red Queen” is so perfectly picturesque I found it easy to see the Maya in their ancient world in my mind’s eye. While all of the music is developing and enveloping my soul I was at peace and one with it all. I can see this entire album being a soundtrack to a special on a History Channel program or used for relaxation and or meditation as well. This music heals and allows the portal of your soul open to the exquisite vibrations that the sounds provide.

Richard Theisen has created an aural masterwork of history, humanity and music all into one beautiful package with Mayan Stars. The goal of any artist is to captivate and engage their audience and I think Richard Theisen answered the call brilliantly on Mayan Stars.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Jungle Zen, Mayan Stars, The Red Queen

01.Mayan Stars
02.Jungle Zen
04.Return of the Jaguar
05.Magia Luna
06.La Premiere Lumiere
07.The Red Queen
08.Blood Moon
10.A Dolphins Dream

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 22, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rockin' the Wall – 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Announcing US Theatrical Tour & DVD and Digital Release!

Featuring David Paich (Toto), Robby Krieger (The Doors), Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge), Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), and Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot)

Studio City, CA - Lightyear Entertainment and Specialty Studios, in association with Rockin' the Wall Studios announce the Consumer release of “Rockin' the Wall” on November 4th, 2014. And a US Fall 2014 Theatrical Tour in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The feature length documentary offers an entertaining exploration of the power of rock music as a force for social change & liberation.  

The film by Larry Schweikart and Marc Leif is based on Schweikart's book “Seven Events That Made America America.” It shows how music become a liberating force  behind the Iron Curtain and helped give strength to the anti-communist revolution.

The documentary features interviews with several well-known rock musicians, including David Paich (Toto), Robby Krieger (The Doors), Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), and Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot), and Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge), as well as individuals who experienced life behind the Soviet controlled side of the wall.

The official motion picture soundtrack for “Rockin' the Wall” includes more than a dozen original or newly performed songs, featuring powerful re-makes of 60's and 70's classics “Ball of Confusion,” “People Got to be Free,” and “Train Kept a Rollin'” as well as original songs by Mark Stein of Vanilla Fudge, Peter Rivera, and Mother's Finest, as well as all songs performed in the film.

“Music has the power to change the world!” -  David Paich (Toto) 

Schweikart is going 'on tour' with the film and will be participating in post screening discussions providing audiences with a rare opportunity to get an even better understanding of this monumental moment in history.

Since September, the “Rockin' the Wall - 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall” tour has been in Dayton, Cincinnati, Greenville, Ohio, Toledo, Atlanta, Asheville, N.C., Greensboro, N.C, Raleigh, N.C., Cullowee, N.C., Danbury, CT,  Winter Garden, FL, Ave Maria, FL

Future USA Fall 2014 Tour dates below: 

10/14, Wheeling, West Liberty University
10/30, Eureka, IL, Eureka College
11/4, Tacoma, University of Washington
11/6, Los Angeles, Luxe Hotel Sunset
11/7, Seton High School, Mesa, AZ
11/8, Chandler, AZ, Chandler Center for the Arts
11/9 (pending) Scottsdale, AZ, Shea Harkins Theater
11/14, Fulton, MO, Churchill Museum/Westminster College
11/20, Grand Rapids, MI, Acton Institute
12/1 (pending) Chicago, Theater of the Arts/Polish American Film Society

2/2015 (pending)  Notre Dame and a Dallas showing.

(All dates and locations are posted on the film's website:

Schweikart is available to add more Theatrical screenings, but will need the public's help. Visit the film's website to learn how you can be a part of this amazing opportunity and get free tickets to your screening for family & friends at


“Rockin' the Wall” will be released on DVD and digitally by Lightyear Entertainment, a distributor of independent films and music founded in 1987 (, through eOne Distribution, in association with Specialty Studios, a fully integrated media, content and distribution studio that harnesses the power of socially conscious media to touch hearts and engage minds (

Consumer DVD and Digital distribution will commence next month with a street date of November 4, 2014. To learn more contact Lightyear: Sky Spooner, 917-407-2771,

View trailer here.

To pre-order:

Larry Schweikart, Filmmaker : 937-231-8387,
DVD & Digital Sales:   Margaret Poindexter,  415-382-1459, and Lightyear: Sky Spooner, 917-407-2771,
Educational Licensing:  Kelsey Smoot,  415-981-9710,
Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, 828-350-8158,