Short album reviews by The Prog Yak. No puffery here, just a simple review and score from 1 to 5 yaks! Have a new album you'd like The Prog Yak to review? Let us know.
Stones from the Garden
While Kurt Michaels might not be a household name, his distinctive talent shines through his musical collaborations with revered prog rock stalwarts such as Chris Squire, Alan White, and Billy Sherwood. After over a decade's hiatus, Michaels is back with an original album that skillfully melds an array of rock influences, replete with intriguing prog touches.
This album is a testament to Michaels' prowess at crafting diverse rock music. It showcases an eclectic mix of prog rock, blues, and subtle hints of jazz across eight captivating tracks. The complex musical structures and unforgettable melodies draw the listener in, revealing Michaels' extensive experience within the broad tapestry of the American music scene. Each composition is thus engaging, leaving an indelible impression.
An instrumental strength of the album lies in Michaels' superb guitar craftsmanship. His ability to build expressive guitar solos and melodious lead lines harks back to the early days of Dave Gilmour. Further enhancing the album's allure are the harmonious backing vocals and notable contributions from Billy Sherwood and Amanda Lehmann.
In a surprising twist, the album concludes with "The Road Beyond," a 17-minute ambient guitar/keyboard piece featuring Jim Gully. This tranquil sonic voyage, reminiscent of early Tangerine Dream, is best appreciated in a relaxed setting free from distractions.
To sum up, this album is a refreshing addition to the current year's music landscape, presenting an exquisite fusion of traditional and progressive rock elements. It's akin to receiving an album and an EP rolled into one, with "The Road Beyond" bringing the journey to a fitting close. A highly recommended listen for all rock aficionados. Here's to hoping that we won't have to wait another decade for Michaels' next offering!
Tune in to Prog Radio to hear several of these tracks currently featured in our New Music rotation.