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Thread: Neal Morse-Sola Gratia

  1. #1
    Member rickawakeman's Avatar
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    Neal Morse-Sola Gratia

    Thought there had been a thread about Neal's new "solo" album Sola Gratia but couldn't find it. I picked this up on Friday at Newbury and three spins in, it's a tremendous release! I found all the quotes from Sola Scriptura lend the release a nice sense of continuity to that earlier (and a favorite at Chez Rick) release. Would love to hear this played live but as there is no plan for releasing next week's Morsefest performnace guess that is not to be. On a related note, was there ever a physical release of the Great Adventour CD/DVD set (not Blu-Ray) which was slated for March?

  2. #2
    Iím looking forward to this release big time!

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    Just had a chance to listen to it all the way through today. I don't know how this guy does it. Another very strong album that serves as a companion piece to Sola Scriptura.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by rickawakeman View Post
    ...Would love to hear this played live but as there is no plan for releasing next week's Morsefest performnace guess that is not to be.
    it's going to be played live on this Friday.
    I got the mp3 version of the album since the physical cd was delayed. I did not finish it but noticed few things:
    - It seems to me that too much compression was used, too high volume and not breathing room in the sound.
    - He is repeating himself too much (this something that was already discussed many times here).
    - I think he is losing his voice, making too much effort to sing.

    still I need to finish the album... it seems I lost interest in the middle of it.

    Now waiting for Friday/Saturday concerts... though they are not going to be true live, a pity & something that I do not get why he wanted to not do it live as many other artists.

  5. #5
    Member rickawakeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickm View Post
    - He is repeating himself too much (this something that was already discussed many times here).
    - I think he is losing his voice, making too much effort to sing.
    I need a few more listens, but I think there's at best a couple of minutes of themes repeated from Sola Scritura. gain, a nice continuity.

    I'm pleased Neal is doing all the lead vox. He sounds good and I'm not a big fan of Bill H.'s singing.

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    The recent live Flying Colors and one particular cut* on the new covers disc demonstrated the increasing strain in Morse's voice, which is regrettable to me because I've always been a fan of his singing.

    *The Squeeze medley exhibits some actual "pitchiness" in Neal's voice, and vocal intonation has never really been a problem for him before. At least it proves he won't use auto-tune. On the other hand, it also confirms he isn't gifted with relative pitch, as the occasional out-of tune guitars reveal. But I wonder why the people around him don't tell him about these issues, especially when they surface on studio records where re-takes are possible.

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    I love it. The album has space and room to breathe - unlike most of the NMB stuff.
    Prog's Not Dead

  8. #8
    ALL ACCESS Gruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickm View Post
    - He is repeating himself too much (this something that was already discussed many times here).
    - I think he is losing his voice, making too much effort to sing.


    Quote Originally Posted by rdclark View Post
    The recent live Flying Colors and one particular cut* on the new covers disc demonstrated the increasing strain in Morse's voice, which is regrettable to me because I've always been a fan of his singing.

    *The Squeeze medley exhibits some actual "pitchiness" in Neal's voice, and vocal intonation has never really been a problem for him before. At least it proves he won't use auto-tune. On the other hand, it also confirms he isn't gifted with relative pitch, as the occasional out-of tune guitars reveal. But I wonder why the people around him don't tell him about these issues, especially when they surface on studio records where re-takes are possible.
    A lot to dissect here between many lines.

    The bold section I highlighted -- First, you are assuming others (studio related) have issue with Neal's voice or range. While that might be the case, you are also assuming whoever these people are did not notify Neal of these issues. Are you sure no one has ever mentioned the problems you indicate? What if others pointed these issues out, while Neal ignored their pleas and released the album(s) as-is? What if he is in denial? What if he doesn't hear what you hear? Gotta look at all possibilities when speculating.

    These issues raised are ones that seem to come up each time Neal Morse has a new album out. From my vantage point, the amount of complaints appears to be growing with each new release. Interesting times ahead, for sure.

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    I won't complain about it because I haven't heard it but I can guess for sure exactly how it sounds

  10. #10
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve983 View Post
    I won't complain about it because I haven't heard it but I can guess for sure exactly how it sounds
    Zing
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    ...These issues raised are ones that seem to come up each time Neal Morse has a new album out. From my vantage point, the amount of complaints appears to be growing with each new release. Interesting times ahead, for sure.
    Well, In my case I'm not complaining and not my intention. I'm noticing these things that were pointed many times but now noticing much more. I like Neal's records, I went to Morsefest and ready for this weekend.
    I hope NMB can record something new soon.

  12. #12
    Anyone on Morsefest 2020 today?

    I'm not able to access their portal site (I was earlier but not now), I'm getting:
    MORSEFEST 2020 PORTAL
    Only clients who purchased following product(s): Morsefest 2020 Merch Store, Morsefest 2020 - Live VIP ticket, Morsefest 2020 - Virtual VIP - 1 VIP bags, Morsefest 2020 - Virtual Double Night ticket, Morsefest 2020 - Virtual VIP - 2 VIP bags, Morsefest 2020 Tickets, Morsefest 2020 - Virtual Double Night ticket, Morsefest 2020 - Live VIP ticket can access this content.

  13. #13
    From what I've heard I'm liking it, but as some of the people complain about Neal sounding too much like Neal, and that the Flower Kings sound too much like the Flower Kings I'm afraid to say it's good. IMHO it's good YMMV.
    Last edited by fiberman; 1 Week Ago at 06:39 PM.

  14. #14
    I was on the 2 nights for the Morsefest 2020 virtual concerts and I have to say that I liked a lot. More than 400 watchers on internet and I heard that around 50 people were on the venue.
    As usual horns and violins as additional musicians. It was really great.

  15. #15
    I was on the 2 nights for the Morsefest 2020 virtual concerts and I have to say that I liked a lot. More than 400 watchers on internet and I heard that around 50 people were on the venue.
    Was actually just wondering this the other day, do you know what sort of attendance they had in previous years?

  16. #16
    - I think he is losing his voice, making too much effort to sing.
    Being a singer myself I'm VERY picky with vocals and don't hold back criticism on aging singers trying to push themselves beyond what they're capable of, but I have to say to me it doesn't sound like his voice or range has changed much over the years, which is pretty impressive considering he is now 60. I guess it helps that he was never a very technical singer hitting stratospheric notes, so there was less to lose. He has of course sounded pretty rough live many times in the past. I definitely still enjoy his singing on Sola Gratia.

    Didn't listen to the new covers album but I did think he did a great job on Hymn 43.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by DarthVander View Post
    Was actually just wondering this the other day, do you know what sort of attendance they had in previous years?
    Well, I went to the Morsefest 2019 last year for first time and the place (which is big) it was full packed. They said that they were much surprised by how much people attended. It seems that each year the event was growing in attendance.
    I do not know the max occupancy of the place but easily there were 300 or 400 people all squeezed in the benches. You could not say if some were Christians or not. The atmosphere was really great, in fact I was hesitant to go because the church thing but I regret now going to other Morsefests.
    I think the COVID put in evidence that he can reach even more people for this event with the streaming.

  18. #18
    The setlist:
    Night 1:
    Where the Streets Have No Name (U2)
    Hymn 43 (Jethro Tull)
    Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty)
    Come Sail Away (Styx)
    Lido Shuffle (Boz Scaggs)
    Maybe I'm Amazed (Paul McCartney)
    Live and Let Die (Wings)
    What Is Life (George Harrison)
    It Don't Come Easy (Ringo Starr)
    Let Love Rule (Lenny Kravitz)
    Pleasant Valley Sunday (The Monkees)
    Rikki Don't Lose That Number (Steely Dan)
    Runnin' Down a Dream (Tom Petty)
    The Letter (The Box Tops)
    Crazy Horses (The Osmonds)
    I'm Free / Sparks (The Who)
    Feeling Stronger Every Day (Chicago)
    25 or 6 to 4 (Chicago)
    Starless (King Crimson)

    Night 2:
    Thoughts Trilogy
    Thoughts
    Thoughts Pt. 2
    Thoughts Pt. 5
    Sola Scriptura (medley)
    The Door / The Conclusion
    Sola Gratia

  19. #19
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    I find Neal's voice in fine form on the new album. In fact, songs like Never Change are some of the most powerful I've ever heard him. He sounds great.

    Live he does lose his voice a bit, which happened a little this Saturday night at Morsefest. But it happened plenty on Spock's tours, too, that's nothing new. I don't know if he consults vocal coaches who can give him tips, but he should.

    I don't know the exact capacity for Morsefest, but they certainly reached it last year in 2019. If I can find out, I'll post it here.

  20. #20
    Finally listened to it and it's pretty much what I expect from a Neal Morse album. For me it falls under the "comfort prog" category - it's familiar, no surprises and highly listenable. As always, I can do without the evangelizing but that wasn't my branch of the religion when I was a believer. His albums do have moments where there are cringe-inducing or corny lyrics, but overall, it's a Neal Morse album. If one likes his work, they'll like this one.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  21. #21
    One more thing: Morse's lyrical content seems to me a string of albums about a man struggling with his faith - constantly trying to convince himself that he really has reached some level of faith.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splicer View Post
    One more thing: Morse's lyrical content seems to me a string of albums about a man struggling with his faith - constantly trying to convince himself that he really has reached some level of faith.
    This album tells the story of the apostle Paul from the bible who persecuted early Christians, so kind of tells a story.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    This album tells the story of the apostle Paul from the bible who persecuted early Christians, so kind of tells a story.
    Oh, that dude. OK.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

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