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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Rob Massard

Thousand River Sun

Review by Gary Hill

I'm sure most of you are familiar with folk prog. Well, here's an artist that sometimes comes across as more pure folk, but at other points (sometimes even in the same song) shows that he is pure progressive rock - well, perhaps less rock, but definitely progressive. This set is impressive and even includes a cover of a Yes song.

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Track by Track Review
I Hang on Every Moment
Acoustic guitar brings a pretty standard folk music sound to the table as this gets underway. There are hints of country and lots of 1970s soft rock built into this piece. Around the three-and-a-half-minute mark this shifts into prog rock based music with a killer melodic exploration. As this continues there is a return to more pure folk music, but it also makes its way into more of a dreamy prog journey, too. At around 12-and-a-half-minutes long, this is the epic of the piece, but quite a few of these tracks are pretty long.
I Am You
This cut makes me think of what you might get if you merged The Association with the band America and told them to create a progressive rock song. This has a dreamy quality, some really soaring moments and more. It's just so cool. It's almost nine-minutes long and at different points features symphonic elements, nature sounds and more.
Can't Go Forward Looking Back
I dig the symphonic strings on this. This number is reflective and moody. Yet it also has some solid energy.
I Let It Come to Me
There is a great dreamy texture to this. While this has more pure folk music than some of the stuff here does, it's still more of a soft prog rock piece than anything else.
We Can't Afford the Answers
Now, this comes in with a much purer folk sound. It grows and has a lot of different layers and textures. The female backing vocals bring something special with them.
Here Massard covers a Yes song. This version comes in with piano and it works out with a pretty proggy concept. I like this different arrangement on this piece. It captures much of the magic of the number, but also brings it into a bit different flavor. I think most people reading this know that I am a Yes fanatic, and I think this is done very respectfully. I bet Chris Squire (who wrote the song) would love it were he still with us to hear it.
Illuminations of Day Break
This instrumental has a lot of folk music and world music in the mix. It is dramatic and beautiful. There are plenty of prog and dreamscape type elements at play, too.
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