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The Neal Morse Band: Morsefest

Live recording of spiritually charged progger’s 2014 shows.

For all his unabashed Christian leanings, Neal Morse proved long ago that his music can deliver to unbelievers just as effectively as the converted. Not least on his first two faith-influenced albums from the early 2000s, Testimony and One, which he performed in their entirety last autumn at his home church in Nashville.

The anthemic soft rock of the more immediate material works on a melodic, non-specific spiritual level, even if you choose to ignore the lyrics, while the more jagged, complex fare is as technically dazzling as ever, aided considerably by long-time acolyte Mike Portnoy on percussion.

And when they encore night two (and the last of this four-CD package) with Spock’s Beard’s Wind At My Back and Transatlantic’s epic Stranger In Your Soul, it’s head-spinning enough to thrill faithful and sceptics alike.

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock