NAD SYLVAN – Courting The Widow (2015)
Singer NAD SYLVAN has been the lead voice in recent Steve Hackett’s Genesis Revisited project, and now he is pleased to reveal his new solo album titled “Courting The Widow“, released today October 16.
The former Agents Of Mercy vocalist has been hanging around the Prog community for years but it seems he is finally ready to take center stage on his own with his this album.
With an impressive array of musicians including, of course, Steve Hackett, Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard, Big Big Train), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings, Transatlantic), Jonas Reingold (Flower Kings, Karmakanic, The Tangent) and other Prog-related great names, “Courting The Widow” bares a uncompromising resemblance to the classic ’70s progressive era, but with Sylvan’s unique vocals and updated musical elements, the record comes across as an album long time Genesis and Prog fans will find they have been waiting for.
The results are quite spectacular and make for a great listening experience, starting with the uptempo “Carry Me Home,” a track that could easily find a home on Selling England by the Pound. The song features the prerequisite changes and dives into a slower grand ending, which is more than appropriate.
Sylvan has an almost weathered storytelling quality to his voice, at times running through lyrics quickly and at other times being overly deliberate with his delivery. This gives the songs an added element that otherwise would be sorely missed here.
Song number two, the title track, kicks off in a somber tone with a haunting piano refrain, but quickly evolve into a great memorable chorus. There are some signature Tony Bank’s style keyboard sounds throughout, again not shying away from the singer’s influences.
There are 2 long tracks, one being “Echoes of Ekwabet” a piano based that evolves into a heavier, midtempo number and features some lovely, creative Moog work in the middle.
The other is the 22 minute epic “To Turn the Other Side.”, divided into 8 wonderful parts / tracks. This easily the most progressive composition on the CD with tons of guitar solo sections, keyboard interludes, drum fills and more.
Sylvan threw everything he could into this one, from soaring leads to haunting whispers.
The second half of the album is where Sylvan explore some modern territories close to Neo Prog with fantastic results, like the slow, almost poppy “Ship’s Cat”.
One of the highlights on the album is the closing track, “Long Slow Crash Landing.”, where the main melody, played by a distant horn in the beginning, is truly brilliant and is only elevated with Steve Hackett’s interpretation as the song builds. Hackett’s guitar soloing here is masterful and tasteful in a manner only he is capable of producing.
There are some other stellar performances on the album as well, such as Nick D’Virgilio exquisite drumming and Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson) expressive bass.
Nad Sylvan should finally be recognized as one of the best voices in Prog with “Courting The Widow”, which showcases not only his incredible vocals but his impressive songwriting as well.
All in all, this is a surprisingly enjoyable collection of songs driven from an era long gone, but when done right, is still as great as ever.
01. Carry Me Home
02. Courting the Widow
03. Echoes of Ekwabet
04. To Turn the Other Side
– I – Premonition
– II – The Divine Source
– III – Dreaming Of Afar
– IV – Marvels Through An Aural Fire
– V – Villain Of The Future World
– VI – On The Other Side
– VII – Lavender Fields
05. Ship’s Cat
06. The Killing of the Calm
07. Where the Martyr Carved His Name
08. Long Slow Crash Landing
Nad Sylvan (Steve Hackett Band): Vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Guitars
Steve Hackett (Genesis): Guitars
Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings, Transatlantic): Guitars
Lars Drugge: Guitars
Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett): Bass, Backing Vocals
Jonas Reingold (Flower Kings, Karmakanic, The Tangent): Bass
Roger King (Steve Hackett): Piano
Nick D’virgilio (Spock’s Beard, Big Big Train, Kevin Gilbert): Drums
Gary O’toole (Steve Hackett): Drums
Doane Perry (Jethro Tull): Drums
Rob Townsend (Steve Hackett, Family): Flute, Tenor Sax
Annbjorg Lien: Violin
Jade Ell (Xanima): Backing Vocals
BUY IT !