Celebrated British progressive rock band Big Big Train has announced the release of its new studio album, ‘Grand Tour‘. The release date is May 17th, 2019.
Inspired by the 17th and 18th century custom of the Grand Tour, where young men and women travelled to broaden the mind, Big Big Train have made an album of songs set in distant lands.
Grand Tour includes nine new tracks that will take listeners on an epic journey over land and sea and through time and space.
“There are songs inspired by the legacy of the Italian Renaissance genius, Leonardo da Vinci; songs telling the story of the rise and fall of Rome; of the beautiful mosaics of Ravenna, and of the shipwreck of a great poet, lost in a tempest off the coast of Italy,” says Big Big Train drummer, Nick D’Virgilio. “Along the way, the story of mankind’s greatest ever journey is told.’
Vocalist David Longdon adds: “Grand Tour is a celebration of the human experience, of science and art, and of what it means to be alive.”
Grand Tour will be available on double heavyweight gatefold vinyl (featuring a 24 page booklet), digipack CD (featuring a 52 page booklet), on standard and hi-resolution (24/96) download, and on streaming.
Big Big Train – Grimspound (English Electric Recordings, 2017)
Big Big Train is a third generation British progressive rock band (which also features American and Swedish members) that has matured to such a degree that it has become of the finest British progressive rock bands of all time. Grimspound came out in April 2017 and is one of the two albums released this year by Big Big Train. The other album is The Second Brightest Star (2017) released in June.
Grimspound was originally envisioned as an EP companion to 2016’s Folklore. However, as the band readied to release the EP, it grew into a fabulous full length album with state of the art progressive rock.
Big Big Train’s style draws from 1970s and 1980s classic progressive rock bands, but they also honor progressive rock pioneers by adding traditional folk, classical, jazz and even electronic elements. This makes Big Big Train a true delight to listen to.
On Grimspound you’ll find stellar musicianship, masterfully constructed musical pieces and lead vocals and exquisite vocal harmonies that immediately hook you. The listener is treated to memorable keyboard, guitar, flute and fiddle work, where moments of calm lead seamlessly to epic progressions.
Getting things right in terms of composition and arrangements in the complicated world of progressive rock is not easy, but Big Big Train are at a stage where the music flows perfectly.
Grimspound contains abundant folk music influences and references. The gorgeous voice of folk singer Judy Dyble (a folk singer with a prog rock soul) appears on “The Ivy Gate.”
The physical version contains beautiful artwork, lyrics and song descriptions.
The lineup on the album includes Nick D’Virgilio on drums, percussion and backing vocals; Danny Manners on keyboards and double bass; Rikard Sjöblom on guitars, keyboards and backing vocals; Rachel Hall on violin, viola, cello and backing vocals; Greg Spawton on bass guitar and bass pedals; David Longdon on lead and backing vocals, flute, piano, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, banjo, lute, melodica, celesta, synthesizers, percussion; Dave Gregory on electric 6 and 12 string guitars; Andy Poole on acoustic guitar, keyboards and backing vocals. Guests:
Judy Dyble on vocals; and Philip Trzebiatowski on cello.
Check out the videos for this album and get this band’s great albums. It’s one of the finest prog rock bands in the current scene.
Buy Grimspound in the Americas and rest of the world
Once We Were – Part One is the second solo album by British multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and producer Steve Hughes. He’s the former drummer of two essential second generation British progressive rock bands, Big Big Train and The Enid.
This is a very ambitious album that opens with a mammoth 33-minute suite about love, misguided politicians and war titled “The Summer Soldier.” Although Steve Hughes is best known in the progressive rock scene as a drummer, he shows his talent as a composer and performer of a wide-range of instruments. He uses keyboards to deliver synth-based high intensity classic prog rock as well as wonderful electronic atmospheres. Hughes guitar work is also impressive. On this composition he duels it out with two other guitarists on this track: J. C. Strand and Keith Winter.
“The Summer Soldier” progresses along with a series of sections where we encounter epic symphonic progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, hard rock and even electronic trip hop. Steve Hughes is like a 21st-century English version of Todd Rundgren.
After the fierce strength of “The Summer Soldier,” Hughes switches to a more relaxed mode. “A New Light” has some vocals, but most of the track sounds like melodic electronic music.
The beginning of “For Jay” has the feel of Big Big Train’s pop side. The piece later morphs into an epic progressive piece with memorable guitar.
On “Kettering Road” Hughes returns to powerful rock drums, bass and guitars. The second part features great harmony vocals that lead into a mesmerizing dreamlike section with spellbinding vocoder work and more outstanding guitar work. Along with “The Summer Soldier”, this song is one of the highlights of the album. Many current progressive rock bands totally ignore electronic music. Hughes, however, embraces it in a creative way.
“Propaganda, Part One” is a short and laid back keyboard symphonic piece.
Next is “Was I Wrong,” a vibrant song with a fabulous electric guitar solo by Dec Burke (Frost and Darwin’s Radio) and notable keyboard work as well.
“That could’ve Been Us” is a bittersweet love song with nicely-crafted vocal harmonies and a violin solo.
On “Second Chances” Hughes sings along with Angie Hughes. For some reason the dreamy vocals accompanied by guitars remind me of some of Michael Oldfield’s work.
The album ends with “Saigo Ni Moichido.” The best part is the instrumental second half of the song featuring epic guitar and violin.
The musicians featured in Once We Were – Part One include Steve Hughes on drums, percussion, keyboards, bass, electric, rhythm and acoustic guitars, and vocals; Angie Hughes and Katja Piel on vocals; Alex Tsentides on bass; Maciej Zolnowski on violin; Keith Winter, J.C Strand, and Dec Burke on guitars; and Richie Phillips on saxophone.
Additionally, Hughes produced, engineered and mixed Once We Were – Part One. The second part of this album will be released in December 2016.
The CD physical version includes a booklet with song lyrics, credits and paintings by Jim Trainer.
Once We Were – Part One is a truly impressive forward-thinking progressive rock album by the multidimensional British artist Steve Hughes.