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Neal Morse - Life And Times album review

A day in the life

Cover art for Neal Morse - Life And Times album

Some people keep a diary. Neal Morse writes songs. And Life And Times is just what it says: a series of snapshots from Morse’s life as it is playing out right now.

Some of it is domestic stuff – helping his son going through a break-up (JoAnna). Some of it cuts deeper, including the issue of soldier suicides (He Died At Home). There are postcards from his travels on tour (Selfie In The Square, Manchester), and the thoughts that can pop up at any time (Lay Low, Wave On The Ocean, If I Only Had A Day).

Musically, Life And Times is at the other end of the spectrum from last year’s double-album prog epic The Similitude Of A Dream, best summed up by the title of the opening track, Livin’ Lightly. The songs are acoustically driven, close-up and intricate. The lyrics are, not surprisingly, faith-driven but seldom obtrusively so.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.