Tag Archives: Big Big Train

Gracefully Elegant Big Big Train

Big Big Train – Grand Tour (English Electric Recordings, 2019)

On the album Grand Tour, British progressive rock band Big Big Train provides a musical representation of the grand tour. This was a European 17th and 18th century tradition carried out by young upper class men, and sometimes women. The idea was to travel throughout Europe to get exposed to other cultures.

Although Big Big Train present songs about ancient history, sailing ships and conventional journeys, they update the customary trip with space travel as well.

Big Big Train – Grand Tour

Big Big Train has become one of the finest progressive rock acts in the current scene, with outstanding musicians and some of the best male vocals well, including lead vocals and their signature, beautifully constructed choruses.

The album opens with a short song, Novum Organum” with a magical feel that sets the tone of the album. It’s followed by “Alive” the most commercial track on the album, destined to be a sing along song.

Track 3, “The Florentine” begins with a folk-style acoustic and electric guitars and harmony vocals that progresses into marvelous symphonic rock with fine guitar, exquisite violin by Rachel Hall, creative drumming and synths.

“Roman Stone” is a progressive rock gem, an epic showcasing fantastic lead and harmony vocals, the band’s signature classical brass ensemble sound, intricate guitar, more delightful violin, majestic mellotron, sections where Big Big Train intertwines classical, jazz and progressive rock elements masterfully and with ease. And of course, a grand finale with synthesizer goodness.

Next comes the virtuosic “Pantheon.” It starts with bewitching mellotron and violin stars followed by brass, synths and on to the full band, delivering state of the art symphonic progressive rock.

Track 6 contains the album’s second single “Theodora in Green and Gold.” Here, the piano, string synths and vocals take the lead. It’s a beautiful ballad with memorable vocals and guitar work.

“Ariel” highlights more of the band’s masterful intertwined lead and harmony vocals along with genuinely lovely violin. The song builds uptempo with superb guitar and harmony vocals that amusingly sound like a tribute to Queen’s harmonies.

Track 8 is dedicated to the “Voyager” spacecraft. It’s an instant classic, a superb set of first class vocal work, symphonic brass, dancing violin. It grows into full blown epic-form progressive rock. There is a section with mesmeric violin and guitar that is truly electrifying.

The album ends with an engaging song where the full band’s vocals, drums, guitar, electric organ, brass and violin stand out.

Buy Grand Tour in the Americas

Buy Grand Tour in Europe

Artist Profiles: Big Big Train

Big Big Train

Big Big Train is a British progressive rock band formed in Bournemouth in 1990. Until 2009, Big Big Train was active primarily as a studio project led by multi-instrumentalists Greg Spawton and Andy Poole.

In recent years, Big Big Train has built a substantial and passionate following for their music. Noted for their story-telling songs and progressive rock influences, their 2017 album, Grimspound, reached number one in the UK Official Rock Album Chart. After selling out a three gig residency at London’s Cadogan Hall in 2017, the band headlined the Night of the Prog festival at Loreley, Germany in 2018.

Big Big Train released the “Swan Hunter” single on July 13th, 2018. The single set includes a remix of the studio album version and a live performance of “Swan Hunter,” together with two previously unreleased tracks. Swan Hunter is an elegy for the shipbuilding communities of England’s north-east.

Vocalist David Longdon said: “Imagine being a child who grew up within this community, seeing these huge vessels grow daily until their launch. Imagine the relentless sound of machinery and construction workers. Your father most likely would have worked there and probably his father before him. It must have been almost impossible back then to imagine a time when this way of life would come to an end. This is what you knew and it defined you.”

Andy Poole left the band in 2018.

Big Big Train

Inspired by the 17th and 18th century custom of the Grand Tour, where young men and women traveled to broaden the mind, Big Big Train made an album of songs set in distant lands and beyond.
Grand Tour features nine new tracks which take listeners on an epic journey over land and sea and through time and space.

The 2019 line-up includes band founder Greg Spawton on bass, guitars and keyboards; Nick D’Virgilio on drums; Dave Gregory on guitars; Rachel Hall on violin and vocals; David Longdon on vocals, flute, keyboards and guitars; Danny Manners on keyboards and bass; and Rikard Sjöblom on keyboards and guitars. Robin Armstrong (guitars and keyboards) joins the band for live performances.

Discography:

From The River To The Sea (Least Peculiar Music, 1991)
The Infant Hercules (Least Peculiar Music, 1993)
Goodbye To The Age Of Steam (Giant Electric Pea, 1994)
English Boy Wonders (Giant Electric Pea, 1997)
Bard (Treefrog, 2002)
Gathering Speed (Treefrog, 2004)
The Difference Machine (English Electric Recordings, 2007)
The Underfall Yard (English Electric Recordings, 2009)
Far Skies Deep Time, EP (English Electric Recordings, 2010)
English Electric Part One (English Electric Recordings/Giant Electric Pea, 2012)
English Electric Part Two (English Electric Recordings/Giant Electric Pea, 2013)
Make Some Noise, EP (English Electric Recordings, 2013)
Wassail, EP (English Electric Recordings, 2015)
Folklore (English Electric Recordings/Giant Electric Pea, 2016)
A Stone’s Throw From The Line, live (English Electric Recordings, 2016)
The Second Brightest Star (English Electric Recordings, 2017)
Grimspound (English Electric Recordings/Giant Electric Pea, 2017)
Merchants Of Light, live (English Electric Recordings, 2018)
Grand Tour (English Electric Recordings, 2019)

Big Big Train to Release New Album ‘Grand Tour’

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.

Previous albums include Merchants Of Light, Grimspound, Second Brightest Star, English Electric: Expanded Edition, Folklore, Far Skies Deep Time and Stone’s Throw From The Line.

Epic Grimspound

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

Buy Grimspound in Europe

Multidimensional Musician Releases Epic Prog rock Album

Steve Hughes – Once We Were – Part One (Progressive Promotion Records, 2016)

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.

Buy Once We Were – Part One