Well, 2013 has been and gone. What i predicted to be a great year of Prog did not disappoint. In what has been a very difficult year for me personally on so many levels i have found solace in music as opposed to alcohol and mind numbing sedatives. With a very troubled and emotional year i give my humble thanks to the talent and warmth of the Prog commuity for their support and encouragement. Above all to the mega talented artists who blessed us with some fine musical feats in 2013.
I pay homage to the many gifted people who brought so much joy to so many people this year and left them with so much more to covet than a mere download, bless you all. I hope to contribute a little more to Progmeister next year when i hope to have a little more time and energy so please stick with me. Amidst the myriad of diamonds bestowed upon us in the year of Prog were many albums that were sent to us for review though featured only a few tracks worthy of praise and in a bid to avoid negativity and the harm that such energy can bring we decided not to post the reviews. I do have to site some rather dismal releases sent to us as harmful to the genre though. Foe legal reasons i will take the fifth! Though one in particular should remain the property of Star Treck fans and nobody else.
Live performances this year hit a high for me with Camel live in Harrogate. I had my doubts for many years whether we would see Andy Latimer back on a stage but he and the latest morph of the band surpassed all expectations. Without doubt my gig of the year. Both Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson staged amazing shows with all the bells and whistles one can expect from artists of their status and reputation, the memory of which will stay with me for many years to come. For shear seat of the pants enjoyment though Spock’s Beard show at the Academy in Newcastle blew my socks off. meeting Ryo after the show was an accolade in itself.
Another highlight for me was recently meeting 10cc, Jethro Tull and more importantly ex Camel drummer Paul Burgess. I chatted at length with him about his days with Camel some of which i could not include in the interview i subjected him to whilst he was playing a gig in North Yorkshire, but let me tell you Progsters,it was very enlightening.
So there you go, a very brief synopsis of an amazing year in Prog. Forty years on from the release of the most ground breaking albums that shaped the genre which thanks to the amazing skills and talents of some gifted and special people still survives to the present day. Below are my top albums of the year and well deserved too. What of 2014? Well, the things i am excited about are the Northlands project which i have been very fortunate enough to be privy to, the new album by Nick Magnus and hopefully a new Combination Head album. It does my heart good to knw that IQ may also have a new album out and hopefully some shows. Andy Tillison is also hard at work on a new projest and that will be worth keeping your ears to the rails for. So there is already some great things to look forward to on the horizon. That and concerts by Yes, Camel, Steve Hackett and Rick Wakeman to name but a few.
Earlier this year i very nearly wrapped things up as my time became filled with other life filling matters and to a point became very disillusioned with some aspects of what was/is going on in Prog and of course my own self doubts. I have some people to thank for the encouragement and kind words that inspire to keep things going a while longer. My partner Helen Jane for her patience and understanding, Sally Collier whom i still believe to be the first lady of Prog, My very good friend and Prog guru Brendan Eyre who always manages to talk me round and my daughter Jenni for telling me that i simply can’t wrap the site up because she has bought me a man bag with Progmeister written on it.
To all of the above and many more a very happy new year and hey, lets keep on progging.
Progmeister’s top albums of 2013.
1. Big Big Train/English Electric Part two (Vinyl)
2. The Tangent/La Sacre Du Travail
3. Steven Wilson/The Raven That Refused To ing (all formats)
4. Spock’s Beard/Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep (Vinyl)
5. Magenta/The Twenty Seven Club (Vinyl)
6. Gordon Giltrap & Oliver Wakeman/ Ravens & Lullabies.