The Neal Morse Band, featuring singer/guitarist/keyboardist Neal Morse, drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist Randy George, keyboardist Bill Hubauer and guitarist Eric Gillette, will release their latest album, The Similitude of a Dream, on Friday, November 11.
The epic double-disc concept album clocks in at over 100 minutes and will give fans of progressive music plenty to enjoy.
Popdose is pleased to present an exclusive video premiere which goes behind the scenes of the tracking sessions for the new album which took place earlier this year.
“We got together to write, the four of us without Mike in January, because Mike was too busy and then we got together to write and record the whole album in March,” Morse tells Popdose, adding that it was again a collaborative experience with everybody adding their input regarding the songs.”You know, it’s kind of like there was a canvas and I began to paint on it and I only had one color and everybody else had all of the other colors to make it all come together. But a lot of times, what would happen is that we would come to a place where we weren’t sure where we wanted to go and then we’d all kick around ideas until we found like we felt was the right way to go.”
The concept itself was one that emerged gradually when Morse began working on songs for what would become this new album.
“What happened was that I had some ideas one day. I came in to write and I was really feeling inspired. I had some good musical ideas and a few little song bits, I think and I was looking for some direction,” he explains. “I need an idea sometimes to make the little bits come together and give me some direction. So I remembered that somebody had, I think, posted on Facebook at some point, “Hey Neal, have you ever thought about doing a concept album based on Pilgrim’s Progress?” That stayed in the back of my mind. I get those kind of requests every now and again, because I’m sort of known as the progressive rock concept album guy and particularly, the Christian progressive rock concept album guy — talk about a niche within a niche, right?”
Morse hadn’t read the book, which was written by John Bunyan, so he turned to Google and started to get some ideas from the basics of the story. He ordered a copy of the book and dug further into the project recording rough song ideas using his phone to capture them.
“I actually sent the little audio files from my iPhone to the guys in the band when we were going to get together to write. I didn’t actually even make demos out of it,” he recalls. “I just sent them the rawest of the raw stuff that I had on my phone. That’s how we began working on it. I wasn’t really sure if that was the direction the band was going to want to go or not. I just said, “Well, here’s some of these ideas and this is all kind of based on this book. What do you guys think?” It seemed at first like the band was a little ambivalent about it, but as it all began to come together, all of their ideas just made it all come together in this beautiful orchestrated way. It was amazing.”
The band will hit the road for the most extensive U.S. tour they’ve ever done on January 14 beginning in Morse’s hometown of Nashville, TN and will play the new album in its entirety. They will also perform on the annual Cruise To The Edge and will subsequently head overseas for additional tour dates beginning in March.