Prog Royalty – Nad Sylvan Reimagines ‘Selling England by the Pound’ for Genesis Revisited Tour, Releases Enchanting ‘Vampirate’ Album Trilogy

Nad Sylvan will perform Genesis’ 1973 album, “Selling England by the Pound,” with Steve Hackett during the “Genesis Revisited” tour. Photo by Scott Saldinger

Tonight, a Grand Rapids, Mich., audience will travel through time to a majestic era filled with British knights, sailors, lovers and battles.

They will step inside the 20 Monroe Live “time machine” and sonically travel back to October 1973, when Genesis released their definitive prog rock album, “Selling England by the Pound.”

During their sonic travels, the audience will receive Nad Sylvan as their exquisite, effervescent and enchanting musical tour guide. Dressed lavishly in dark ruffled shirts, dark velvety capes and cloaks, slim riding pants, and tall black boots, Sylvan, a “vampirate,” will magically perform “Pound” in its entirety alongside legendary former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, keyboardist Roger King, bassist Jonas Reingold, saxophonist/flautist Rob Townsend and drummer Craig Blundell.

“I’ve done more than 500 shows with Steve now, and this is my seventh year with him. But I felt that this tour has been perhaps the most successful tour because people love ‘Selling England by the Pound.’ We go out and do the whole album without any words in between songs,” said Sylvan, a U.S.-born Swedish prog rock singer-songwriter and musician.

“We just play it like you play the record, and I take on these characters, and I do it in my own way. I’m not mimicking Gabriel at all, I do sound a bit similar to him sometimes because of my register. Everyone knows I’m a massive Genesis nut. I always have been, that’s why I got the gig.”

Sylvan, Hackett and the band are currently embarking on a 27-date North American “Genesis Revisited” tour through Oct. 20 and performing “Pound” as well as highlights from Hackett’s popular 1979 album, “Spectral Mornings,” and his latest release, “At the Edge of Light.”

The band previously performed a series of “Genesis Revisited” tour dates in 18 countries in seven weeks and will head back to Europe and the U.S. as well as Australia and New Zealand next year. Their next Michigan stop will be March 4 at The Fillmore Detroit.

Sylvan started touring with Hackett and his band in March 2013 in support of Hackett’s 2012 release, “Genesis Revisited II.” Hackett learned about Sylvan after he released a Genesis-inspired album with Bonamici called “Unifaun” in 2008 and a mutual friend suggested they work together.

“That’s why I did the ‘Unifaun’ album, that was just prestige of Genesis just for the hell of it, and that was long before I got to know Steve. I think that’s partly why I have the gig because he knew that guy sounds authentic, he sounds like a Genesis singer,” said Sylvan, who first saw Hackett perform with Genesis during the 1977 “Wind & Wuthering” tour in Stockholm.

“That’s how he felt about my singing, even though I have the ability to sing more soulful and go different ways with my vocals with different vibratos and what have you. But when I sing Genesis, I just sing it the way I believe I’ve heard them, but I put my own stamp on it.”

Continue reading “Prog Royalty – Nad Sylvan Reimagines ‘Selling England by the Pound’ for Genesis Revisited Tour, Releases Enchanting ‘Vampirate’ Album Trilogy”

Shining Through – Trey Simon Drops Hopeful New Single ‘When the Lights Turn On’

Trey Simon has released his latest single, “When the Lights Turn On,” today via all streaming platforms.

Trey Simon knows how to deliver the ultimate ray of hope in the darkest hour.

The soulful Rochester singer-songwriter sheds sonic messages of optimism and growth on his passionate new single, “When the Lights Turn On,” which dropped earlier today.

The brilliant single opens with emotionally intense guitars while pounding drums echo a nervous heartbeat and reflect an initial hesitation about a new road ahead. It’s reminiscent of mid-80s pop-rock with Phil Collins-inspired lyrics and Michael McDonald-esque vocals.

“For me, it’s a reflection song. It’s realizing that I have so much to give, and I have so much to love for somebody. Overall, it’s about waking up and realizing you’re not where you want to be yet,” Simon said. “I think that song was birthed out of places like, ‘Dang, I just want to be better than what I am right now, and I want to be better for that person I meet down the road.’”

The single also eloquently showcases “the dirt” Simon personally experiences as an artist and individual overcoming internal challenges while heading down a new spiritual path. For listeners, it’s fighting chance to escape their fears and use Simon’s new single as an emotional shield against uncertainty.

“I think the greatest thing about being an artist is really putting it on display because it’s a healing process for you, but in the same time, you can really help people in giving them the courage to go after the things they have going on, too,” Simon said.

Simon started crafting his latest single on stage a few years ago and later transformed it into a recordable version, thanks to a friend’s encouragement. He teamed up with Rochester producer and musician Josh Colyer to record “When the Lights Turn On” at Kensington Church’s studio in Troy.

“It was a changeup from the music I’ve recorded in the past, and it’s a little bit more of a rock direction since my stuff has been a little bit more of an R&B, sultry vibe. I was really ready to showcase more of myself musically, too,” he said.

“I’ve got so much that inspires me, and I feel like there are different parts of me. I’ve only been showcasing one side of what I really do, and I’m ready to give a clearer vision of who I am as an artist and who I am as a person.”

Simon will drop a new video for his latest single Oct. 9 and allow the track to speak for itself visually. Filmed by a Chicago-based director, the video features Simon sitting on a stool in a large room giving a powerful performance of his latest single.

“We ended up getting a whole crew to come out, and we got all the lighting and everything,” Simon said. “It was my first big budget video with five crew members, and we used a film studio to cut it all in Troy. We were able to finish the whole thing in a day.”

Continue reading “Shining Through – Trey Simon Drops Hopeful New Single ‘When the Lights Turn On’”

Genesis Revisited – Steve Hackett Brings ‘Selling England by the Pound,’ Solo Gems to 20 Monroe Live Thursday

Steve Hackett will perform Genesis and solo classics at 20 Monroe Live Thursday in Grand Rapids.

Steve Hackett will breathe new life into a beloved Genesis album Thursday in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The legendary former Genesis guitarist will perform the band’s 1973 prog rock classic, “Selling England by the Pound,” in its entirety at 20 Monroe Live, a 2,600-seat music venue located in the heart of Furniture City.

“It happens to be my favorite Genesis album. That setting was 1973, and just as we were leaving New York desperately trying to find a gig anywhere else in the States, we heard that John Lennon gave an interview and said Genesis was one of the bands he was listening to, so I assumed he liked that album at the time, and we were all very proud of it,” said Hackett, who performed with Genesis from 1971-1977.

“I get to do it again in its entirety, which wasn’t possible with the technology we had back in the day, plus an extra track included like a deleted scene. Something that Peter Gabriel introduced to the band as an unfinished song. I finished it years later with his blessing, and we shared credits on it.”

That “deleted scene” of a song is “Déjà Vu,” a quiet, emotional track filled with deep synths, exquisite classical guitar strums and a haunting extended electric guitar solo. This time, Hackett will perform it live with singer-songwriter and musician Nad Sylvan, keyboardist Roger King, bassist Jonas Reingold, saxophonist/flautist Rob Townsend and drummer Craig Blundell.

Together, the prog rock quintet is embarking on a 27-date North American “Genesis Revisited” tour through Oct. 20 and playing eight other influential tracks from “Pound” as well as highlights from Hackett’s popular 1979 album, “Spectral Mornings,” and his latest release, “At the Edge of Light.”

The band previously performed a series of “Genesis Revisited” tour dates in 18 countries in seven weeks and will head back to Europe and the U.S. as well as Australia and New Zealand next year. Their next Michigan date will take place March 4 at The Fillmore Detroit.

Continue reading “Genesis Revisited – Steve Hackett Brings ‘Selling England by the Pound,’ Solo Gems to 20 Monroe Live Thursday”

Running Down a Dream – Nashville’s Jeremy Ivey Makes Blind Pig Debut Saturday

Jeremy Ivey will open for Ian Noe at The Blind Pig tomorrow night. Photo by Cal & Aly

As the everyday person’s troubadour, Jeremy Ivey will share thoughtful tales of the nation’s turbulent political climate mixed with personal diaspora and societal struggles at The Blind Pig tomorrow night.

The Nashville, Tenn., singer-songwriter will make his live debut at the legendary Ann Arbor rock club and open for Ian Noe, a Beattyville, Ky., singer-songwriter.

“It will be me and a harmonica and a guitar, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been on enough hectic production tours that I’m ready to be by myself for a little bit,” said Ivey, who kicked off his tour Sept. 12 at Nashville’s AMERICANAFEST. “I’ll definitely play some songs from the record, but I’ve already recorded a second record and have the third one already written.”

Interpreting ‘The Dream and the Dreamer’

For his intimate Saturday night set, the prolific Ivey will feature homespun, deeply introspective tracks from his brilliant nine-track debut, “The Dream and the Dreamer,” which dropped earlier this month on Anti-Records.

Recorded in a small Nashville home studio with producer and wife Margo Price, Ivey’s album beautifully weaves elements of classic folk and gently-frayed psychedelia with Southern rock and Americana pop-tinged sensibilities. Price encouraged Ivey to write and record a batch of his own songs during a brief tour break.

“I co-write a lot with her, but I had been writing stuff that I was pretty sure she wasn’t going to sing. It only took me a couple of weeks, maybe a month tops, to write the whole thing,” said Ivey, who initially played with Price in the country-soul group Buffalo Cover as well as Secret Handshake.

“Everyone always says you take your whole life to write your first album, and I’ve been writing since I was 15, so that’s not necessarily true for me. I went in to record, it was supposed be demos, and it turned out pretty good. Anti had heard them, and then it all started to happen. I never really planned for it to be a record.”

Continue reading “Running Down a Dream – Nashville’s Jeremy Ivey Makes Blind Pig Debut Saturday”

Jam-packed – Desmond Jones Mixes Multiples Genres for Latest ‘Hello, Helou’ Album

Desmond Jones’ “Hello, Helou” album features longtime friend and fan Antoine Helou on the cover.

For their latest release, Desmond Jones has fans at “Hello, Helou.”

The Grand Rapids funk-rock-jazz fusion quintet masterfully mixes multiple genres across seven tracks on their second full-length and latest album, “Hello, Helou,” which dropped in July. It includes an eclectic batch of captivating tracks from Desmond Jones’ expansive catalog of more than 40 original songs.

“These songs were already written before we went into the studio, so it wasn’t a collective effort to write all of the music for an album,” said John Nowak, drummer, guitarist and vocalist for Desmond Jones. “Since all of the songs already existed, it was really a matter of choosing which ones we wanted to go on the next album.”

Nowak and bandmates Chris Bota (guitar, vocals), George Falk (saxophone, vocals), Isaac Berkowitz (guitar, drums, vocals) and John Loria (bass, vocals) spent eight months recording “Hello, Helou’s” tracks with manager Kevin McKay of Innovative Music Solutions in Webberville. The band also recorded a few tracks in the band room at East Grand Rapids High School where Nowak and Berkowitz attended.

In typical Desmond Jones fashion, all the tracks from “Hello, Helou” received initial live improvisational treatment before being reimagined as studio versions. With a fun, upbeat sound, the album features a collection of shorter songs compared to tracks from the band’s 2017 self-titled, full-length debut.

Four of the five band members also penned tracks for the album, which include spatial, culinary, relational, existential and fantastical themes. Listeners encounter a dynamic sonic journey while venturing from one track to another.

“In our live shows, we definitely take the liberty to extend songs as long as we want. Some songs are a better platform for that, but songs like ‘Split Again,’ ‘Sylvia’ or ‘Instructional Dance Song’ are similar to how we play them live,” said Nowak, who formed the band in 2012 while attending Michigan State University. “With streaming and attention spans, we want songs that are easily digestible for people to listen to before they come see us.”

Continue reading “Jam-packed – Desmond Jones Mixes Multiples Genres for Latest ‘Hello, Helou’ Album”

Medicinal Music – Nikki and The Human Element Cure Everyday Struggles on Debut Album ‘Elemental’

Nikki Neretin of Nikki and The Human Element

For Nikki Neretin, music is the best medicine for coping with daily life.

The New York City indie rock singer-songwriter and frontwoman for Nikki and The Human Element eloquently depicts relatable themes about everyday life on her catchy debut album, “Elemental,” which dropped in June.

“For me, it’s really writing about the daily stuff I see. I’m not writing about love and love lost because I’m not falling in love every day. I’ve got two kids, and I think people just want to hear about life and things they can relate to,” said Neretin, who’s also a physician with the Institute for Child and Family Health in New York City.

“I don’t think they want to hear about the tumultuous relationship that went awry. I’m just writing about the people that I meet, the experiences that I have and the experiences that they have.”

Through “Elemental,” Neretin has become a modern-day troubadour for women, especially mothers raising a family, dealing with aging and working to improve local communities. In a sense, it’s a deep look into the thoughts, feelings and struggles of a fiftysomething wife and mother who balances personal and professional ambitions.

“I’m looking to speak to women in that way, and there’s group that still goes out, sees music and loves rock and roll are my age if not older,” said Neretin, 54, who grew up in The Bronx and cited her opera singer-actor father as her biggest musical influence. “I’m a new rock and roller coming out at this age as opposed to somebody who started in their 20s and worked their way up. This shows that I can still do this.”

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Remnose to Open for Josiah Johnson at Detroit’s Creaky House Sunday

Marlon Morton and Remnose will open for Josiah Johnson at Detroit’s Creaky House Sunday.

Remnose will share their haunting indie folk with an intimate Detroit crowd Sunday night.

The Motor City indie folk-rock quartet will perform an opening set for Josiah Johnson, co-founder and former member of The Head and the Heart, at Creaky House, a Woodbridge neighborhood do-it-yourself (DIY) music space.

“It’s a really cool old house with a beautiful backyard and an old fireplace. We played a release show there when we put out our EP, ‘What We See in Our Sleep,’ so it’s been one of our favorite DIY venues in Detroit,” said Marlon Morton, Remnose’s vocalist and rhythm guitarist. “It’s really nice for Sunday nights because you don’t have to ask everybody to go out to a bar.”

During their Sunday night set, Remnose will include introspective tracks from their latest album, “Waiting on the Wind,” which dropped in June, as well as past gems from previous releases.

“We’ll do a full band show because the majority of our sets are pretty laid back, and they suit that sort of setting like a backyard show. There will be a sound system there, too,” Morton said. “They bring over a pretty nice sound system, at least they have for shows we’ve played there in the past. It gives it a real venue sound in a backyard, so you get the best of both worlds.”

Remnose has played a growing roster of local, regional and national shows since forming in 2013. Led by Morton and his older brother Carson Morton (drums, banjo, backup vocals), the band includes Sam Sparling (lap steel guitar, synth, keys) and Alex Wildner (bass, cello, violin, piano) and features a breathtaking sound built around inspirational melodies and highly-personal lyrics.

Continue reading “Remnose to Open for Josiah Johnson at Detroit’s Creaky House Sunday”