Gravity by Anton Roolaart

Anton Roolaart Website
I first heard Anton’s song “On To The Afterglow” from his debut album “Dreamer” in 2007 on ProgRock Radio. I was immediately taken by the retro Pink Floyd “Echoes” type soundscape and sought out the Dreamer record. You can hear touches of influences in Anton’s music, enough to evoke a nod or a reference but not too much that you miss the infusion of his own style and voice into the work. In listening to Anton’s recently released single “Gravity” I hear the same characteristics that attracted me to his earlier work but there is also a substantial layer of growth. This tune still has the elements of “Pink Floyd” but with the modernistic production and “feel” of a Porcupine Tree tune. There are parts of the orchestral keyboard sounds and arrangements that will remind you of Yes, Genesis or The Moody Blues ~ guaranteed to satisfy proggers like myself that dig those big keyboard sounds.
You can hear the growth and maturity in the songwriting, arrangement and production. I suggest everyone check this out! It sits well along side “Flying Colors” (reviewed below) in my iPod player. Kudos to Anton, I can’t wait to hear the completed album. Check out Anton’s website above and give a listen to the “Dreamer” album while you are at it ~


Flying Colors by Flying Colors

Flying Colors Website
I received my pre-ordered copy of the long awaited record from the modern prog supergroup Flying Colors on the March 27th release date as promised and don’t even know where to begin because I am still trying to process this thing. What a monster, but in an amazingly great, creative way. I will admit that I am somewhat biased as I am a huge Steve Morse fan and had the great fortune of assisting Chuck Allen (Steve’s live engineer/tech at the time) with some of the live sound on Steve’s very first solo tour in 1983/84. Steve is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and I will be forever grateful for his hospitality and guitar lessons. Only a few years later Dave LaRue and Van Romaine became what has appeared to be the Steve Morse band rhythm section for well over 20 years now. Anyone familiar with Steve knows he formed the Dixie Dregs, has been lead guitarist for Kansas through several records and in the mid 90’s signed on as lead guitarist for Deep Purple all the while touring and releasing Dregs and solo records. Steve has brought along long time bassist Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs, Joe Satriani). Of course everyone (at least drummers) know about Mike Portnoy’s ability being a founding member of Dream Theater and Transatlantic. Neal Morse (no relation to Steve) was founding guitarist, keyboard player & lead vocalist for Spocks Beard as well as Transatlantic (along with Portnoy). Casey McPherson from Alpha Rev is the young kid on the block at lead vocals, guitar and keyboard as well. Take this mass of american prog talent then add british producer Peter Collins (Rush, Queensryche, Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi) – and wait!! If that is not enough, bring in new millennium mix wizard Michael Brauer (McCartney, Rolling Stones, U2, Coldplay, Dream Theater, Alpha Rev). The most surprising thing to me was how Neal Morse takes a backseat on lead vocals apparently concentrating on keyboards and backing vocals (along with Portnoy). A surprise considering what a strong vocalist he is. In doing this, Casey McPherson truly shines as a great lead singer adding a youthful and more “poppy” voice. In a way this band is similar in its approach to 80’s prog supergroup Asia. There is the true prog instrumental flexing of musical muscle but with strong, melodic and catchy lead vocal lines on top. Combining the best of prog and pop is clearly what the plan was here and they really have succeeded. From the kickoff of “Blue Ocean” all the way to “Infinite Fire”, this record will have you repeatedly checking out everything in between (clocks in at around 1 hour). There is so much musical information on this thing it would take many listenings to give a true comprehensive review. I hear elements of The Dregs, Kansas, Spocks Beard, Transatlantic and a few keyboard flourishes are “Asia” like as well. There are also a few Dream Theater type moments (of course there would be) and there is also a very “Beatlesque” tune called “Love is What I’m Waiting For” which makes me want to add that Portnoy and Neal Morse were also in a Beatles cover band together called “Yellow Matter Custard” which is well worth chasing down and giving a listen. I could go on forever but again, this record is HUGE, any serious musician or prog fan needs to spend some time with it…and if you are a musician, take notes, many, many notes….!!