Friday, January 1, 2016

A gentle start to the new year: Nad Sylvan's Courting the Widow

Steve Hackett, Genesis Revisited, Cropredy 2014
Nad Sylvan
The first time I heard Nad Sylvan was in 2014, on stage at Fairport Convention's Cropredy festival, in the green English countryside, where Steve Hackett was performing Genesis Revisited, and Nad was the vocalist. Never having been a crazy-mad-in-a-prog-way Genesis fan, I was able to listen without comparing his style to either Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins, and what I heard and saw, I liked. So when Nad Sylvan's solo album, Courting the Widow, was released recently, I wanted to hear. And it's playing again today, the first day of the new year. 2016 begins in my home with some really excellent, haunting, beautiful progressive rock.

The title track, Courting the Widow, is a classic prog-rock song: the closing song, Long Slow Crash Landing is beautiful, starting with snare drums and growing to a crescendo with a soaring guitar solo from Steve Hackett, and each song in-between is worthy of many replays. There are other great guest musicians contributing too, but the album is Mr. Sylvan's alone. It is NOT Genesis!!!

Anyone who loves the sound of the rock that was considered "independant" and meaningful and thoughtful and deep, prior to indie-rock being a genre label, should listen to this album. There are plenty of five-star reviews on Amazon that suggest it sounds like "early Genesis", but I think some these reviewers are listening with their Genesis ears on, rather than taking a fresh listen to an entirely-different band. With all due respect to Genesis, this is Nad Sylvan. This is Courting the Widow.
And despite how some reviewers are praising this album--as a throwback to 1970's prog--to me it also has meaning for today's listeners who enjoy bands like Coheed and Cambria, or local Sacramento bands Journal and Zeroclient. (And vice-versa: if you enjoy Courting the Widow, check out Omnia.)

Courting The Widow deserves a Roger Dean sleeve, poster, and mural. Just sayin'.

(And talking of prog, let me know if you have a vinyl copy of Gravy Train's Staircase To The Day gathering dust anywhere... I'm missing that one!)

Steve Hackett, Genesis Revisited, Cropredy 2014
Nad Sylvan
The photos above are from Nad Sylvan's performance as part of Steve Hackett's Genesis Revisited tour, Cropredy Festival in England, 2014.

(And before any Genesis fan goes on a rant about my review, you guys are the best out there for assuming that "you like insert prog band name here, then you must LOVE Genesis". Yes fans come second. I'm calling you both out on that assumption.)

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree fantastic album looking forward to the next.well done Nad.