Tag Archives: Saga

SIX BY SIX – Debut album featuring members of Saga, Saxon, and GTR.

SIX BY SIX is the new trio consisting of Canadian guitarist Ian Crichton (Saga), British drummer Nigel Glockler (Saxon), and American multi-instrumentalist & vocalist Robert Berry (Hush / 3 ) . An interesting combo, with progressive and metal backgrounds. As a fan of early Saga and in later years Saxon (and years ago I interviewed Robert Berry for something), so I am keen to hear this. As with Saga, what is first noticeable is the distinctive guitar sound of Crichton from song to song. But where Crichton’s guitar usually shares the songs or is overshadowed by keyboards in Saga – that is not the case here. This is a ‘heavy’ guitar album, not ‘metal’, just a big sound, heavy rock, and progressive, with some fine vocal arrangements. Fave picks are melodic rockers “The Upside Of Down” and “Save The Night”. Plenty of solid tracks here like “The Last Words On Earth” (awesome big organ intro), and more progressive cuts like “Casino” and “Battle Of A Lifetime”, and the short ballad “Live Forever”. A cool sounding album, well worth checking out. The album is due out August19 (CD & LP!), and there will also be a graphic novel – The Journey Internal to be published on September 30th 2022, as a companion. *check out the bio/press release below

The term six by six can conjure various images. It could be something of large and impressive stature or perhaps the dimensions of a newly discovered space on the planet. For some, it may be the exponential potential of those numbers. For others, it might bring to mind the rhythmic pulse of sound waves. 

Now, for the initiated, for those in the know, SiX by SiX is perhaps all of those things. It’s also the name for an exciting new band. It’s a sizable collaboration filling a massive sonic space and driven by three renowned and diverse musicians of international origin. The anticipation is palpable as the group is about to release its eponymous debut album on the InsideOutMusic label, part of Sony. 

SiX by SiX is composed of three hugely accomplished and highly acclaimed, musicians hailing from disparate corners of the globe and each with the pedigree to back up the claim. They are guitarist Ian Crichton from the acclaimed Canadian prog rockers Saga, recognized as one of the top rock players in North America, powerhouse drummer Nigel Glockler of English heavy metal masters Saxon, and U.S. based Robert Berry, perhaps best known for his association with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer in their group ‘3’ on bass, keyboards and vocals. 

The roots of SiX by SiX can be traced back decades to a time when Glockler and Berry were together as part of Yes guitarist Steve Howe’s continuation of the band GTR. Then there’s the Asia connection, where Crichton and Glockler contributed to sessions and recordings, while Berry was the link for his guitarist friend Pat Thrall joining that band. Time marches on, paths cross and fate brings these three musicians together, born from a conversation with an industry insider in the UK who connected Ian Crichton in the Toronto area with Robert Berry outside San Francisco, who in turn reached Glockler at his home on the south coast of England.

While the chemistry of the band transcends audio speakers and their sound is distinctly their own, comparisons to other power trios past and present will likely be inevitable. SiX by SiX boldly say, “Bring it on!” Certainly, discerning listeners will hear an expansive guitar-driven pallet, paired sonically with the unique flavor of the Crichton/Berry songwriting collaboration. If you don’t already know Ian, Nigel, or Robert individually or collectively as SiX by SiX, you’ll likely know them soon. Management is in place; the record company has assembled an enthusiastic support team and a tour is in the works. All in all, the SiX by SiX equation adds up to winning numbers. And that’s good news for everybody.

SiX By SiX 
“SiX By SiX”
 Playing time: 46 min 48 sec 
1. Yearning to Fly 
2. China 
3. Reason to Feel Calm Again 
4. The Upside of Down 
5. Casino 
6. Live Forever 
7. The Last Words on Earth 
8. Skyfall 9. Battle of a Lifetime 
10. Save the Night 

About The Journey Internal :

THE JOURNEY INTERNAL, A Graphic Novel is based on the songs of SiX By SiX, and is the result of a collaboration between the band and renowned Chicago-based artist J.C. Baez. It will be available for purchase through www.StNicksPicks.com for customers in North America and through Burning Shed www.burningshed.com worldwide.

Though not conceived as a concept album, the band and the artist have woven the songs into a compelling tale of one man’s adventures and struggles. THE JOURNEY INTERNAL is a poignant and captivating story of his quest to find beauty and peace. Drawn in dramatic graphic detail, it chronicles the journey of Reign searching for sunlight in a very dark world. Following him from the highest highs to the lowest lows. The pages turn from battles of fire to demons in dungeons, from the confines of Reign’s inner mind to the realities encountered on the streets. From his solitude in battle to finding inspiration from a dream not yet realized.

Ian Crichton comments: “This graphic novel is amazing. The way that J.C Baez has blended the lyrics and captured the emotion of each song into a visually stunning graphic interpretation is simply amazing.

Nigel Glockler comments: “One word sums up this incredible visual feast: stunning!!!

Robert Berry comments: “When J.C. approached us we were intrigued to see what he would come up with based on our songs. The results are masterful.”

J.C. Baez, a Chicago-based artist has collaborated with Jon Anderson of Yes, Steve Hackett of Genesis, and Walter Koenig, of Star Trek fame, and now Six By Six.

J.C. Baez comments: “I am fortunate to be working with Ian, Nigel, and Robert, bringing their amazing musical ideas into the visual realm. The process has been very much a collaboration and I’ve been made to feel like part of the Six By Six family. This story is dynamic and exciting and I’m thrilled to work on this graphic novel which is in the vein of Genesis’s ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and other classic albums.”

SiX By SiX, featuring Ian Crichton, Nigel Glockler & Robert Berry, launch third single ‘China’

With the release of the record only two weeks away, the band are releasing one final track prior to fans getting to hear the album in full. Watch the video for ‘China’ now here: https://youtu.be/stTEYLiTYWQ

Robert Berry comments: “The song China came about differently than most of our songs. Ian had sent me a very cool finger picking type riff, which was playing repeatedly in my head as I tried to go to sleep one night. Earlier that evening the television news ran a story about China, including the appalling oppression of the Uyghur Muslims. I couldn’t get that out of my head either. I have many Chinese friends who do not agree with what the government of China is doing. Suddenly, inspired by Ian’s finger picking, this heavy riff came to mind. Then, as I paired it with the news story, the lyric just poured out. Born from anger and disbelief but also with respect for my Chinese friends, this song came to me in one big flash. When Ian heard the basic writing demo he immediately headed into new territory with the guitar solo. It’s angry, edgy, and totally psychotic in nature – a perfect fit!  And of course we all must say ‘goodnight’ and good riddance to any government that treats its people so harshly.”

Links:

http://sixbysixband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Sixbysixband/

nigelglockler.com

http://www.robertberry.com/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/97599663247

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Alan Simon’s Excalibur V : Move, Cry, Act, Clash!

Well, I don’t much about Alan Simon or this series of Celtic rock opera Excalibur releases. This being my first take on the project which previously released 4 studio and 2 live albums featuring different musicians on each one, though there are a few holdovers. I do know that Cherry Red recently released the first 4 Excalibur studio albums plus a couple of live shows in a 6 CD box – https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/excalibur-the-20th-anniversary-box-set-6cd-2dvd-boxset/

As a fan of many of the artists involved this is an outstanding concept release that features singers such as Bernie Shaw, Roberto Tiranti and Michael Sadler singing in styles they may do with their respective bands. And with that said, that contributes to the appeal here as these singers deliver performances like they have never before. Amazing performances, as well as from the various musicians such as Steve Hackett, Martin Barre and John Helliwell, among others. The last track is a wonderful surprise, as it features the late great John Wetton singing a ballad, “The Vision”.

An amazing production from Alan Simon, who has written and assembled a stellar cast here. As a Heep fan it is really something to hear Bernie [who delivers quite a theatrical intro] and Roberto [Ken Hensley’s Live Fire] sing in such a different project.

*For more info check out these links, as well as the press release below….

https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/alan-simon-excalibur-v-move-cry-act-clash/

https://www.facebook.com/Excalibur.The.Celtic.Rock.Opera/

Alan Simon’s Excalibur V – Move, Cry, Act, Clash! 

Featuring:

John Wetton (Asia / King Crimson)
Steve Hackett (Genesis)
John Helliwell, Jesse Siebenberg (Supertramp)
Bernie Shaw (Uriah Heep)
Martin Barre (Jethro Tull)
Jeremy Spencer (Fleetwood Mac)
Michael Sadler (Saga)
Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth)
Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra)
Shira Golan & Miriam Toukan (The Peace Tent Project)

Move, Cry, Act, Clash! is the fifth part of French musician and producer Alan Simon’s legendary Celtic rock opera series Excalibur.

Featuring Alan Simon, John Wetton, Steve Hackett, Bernie Shaw, Jerry Goodman, Martin Barre, Jeremy Spencer, Michael Sadler, Roberto Tiranti, John Helliwell, Jesse Siebenberg, Shira Golan and Miriam Toukan.

Move, Cry, Act, Clash! concludes its 12 tracks with “The Vision” featuring the legendary John Wetton (King Crimson/Asia) in a beautiful tribute to the friendship and respect between these two musical giants.

Alan Simon is a Breton songwriter and director. Author of modern operas, his works are performed in various national theaters (Russia, Germany, France …). More than 300,000 spectators came to applaud Excalibur or Tristan & Yseult. Alan has obtained several gold and platinum records and his creations have received several awards. In the USA, Alan won the Grammy for best producer in 2008 and for best song, “Circle of Life,” performed by Jon Anderson of Yes. His album Big Bang (2018) is the soundtrack of the City of Space in Toulouse (an educational park about the conquest of space). After the film O Gengis in 2005 (with Omar Sharif and Jean Reno), he has just finished Monsieur Constant, his second film for the cinema, which is in production during 2021. Today Alan wants to go on tour around the world with his extraordinary musical round table where many legends of folk and rock meet.

“‘Excalibur’ brought me a lot of happiness because by creating this musical round table, I had the great chance to collaborate with incredible rock and folk legends, pillars of mythical groups: Yes, Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac, King Crimson, The Moody Blues, Alan Parson, Asia, Barclay James Harvest, Genesis, Fairport Convention, Runrig, Jethro Tull, Saga, Uriah Heep… Since its creation 20 years ago ‘Excalibur’ has represented 5 studio and 3 live albums including 120 original tracks. Offering a new album is not trivial. You have to give everything. So I made this opus V by investing myself 100% with an ‘old-fashioned’ production. No home studio but the joy of living in a large studio (Drums code studios in Italy) with great soloists and a fantastic symphony. Then I contacted magical interpreters that I like. What a joy to hear the guitars of the legendary pillars of Genesis and Jethro Tull: Steve Hackett and Martin Barre or the voices of Supertramp from Saga and Uriah Heep: Jesse Siebenberg, Michael Sadler and Bernie Shaw without forgetting this incredible talented singer Roberto Tiranti. We spent 6 months in a mixing studio with an average of 100 tracks per title. I hope that this more rock album than the previous ones will sign a real return on stage of this universal legend, ‘ever green’ say the English. Thank you to all those who supported ‘Excalibur.’ After 300 000 spectators in 4 tours, I hope that this musical round table finally finds its audience under the aegis of sharing. These 12 new songs underline the urgency to get moving for our planet. More than ever our destiny is in our hands. And everything is good to take. The concept of Excalibur and its musical knights must contribute to this new start. Artists can (and must) get involved more than ever.” – Alan Simon

Track Listing:

1 Move, Cry, Act, Clash
2 The Prisoner
3 The Last Bird
4 Messaline
5 I Said Shout
6 Heaven
7 The Lady of the Lake
8 When Your Feelings Grow
9 Wake Up (Before the Last War)
10 Hey
11 A Brand New Day
12 The Vision

To pre-order: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/alan-simon-excalibur-v-move-cry-act-clash/

Top 10 Canadian Albums Of 1985

Well, this is the year where things kinda took a turn, IMO. Not a huge list to choose from, and for the most part these are where bands got way more ‘commercial’ or pop oriented, more keyboards (or introduced keyboards)… Not the best from many. Considering I pretty much hated the ’90s, and there was less releases going forward; these lists may get tougher.

Rush – Power Windows

I thought “Big Money” was great as the lead off single here, and it’s still the stand out song for me on this. “Territories”, “Manhattan Project”, good songs, even if it was further into the use of keyboards, etc… but give Rush credit for always moving forward and doing something new – that is why they lasted. Released in October. I saw this tour at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Coney Hatch – Friction

The 3rd in the ’80s trilogy by the Hatch, and the 2nd with Max Norman. A very good album, though the focus on 1 lead singer lost a bit of the magic in the band. But, great tracks – “She’s Gone”, “This Ain’t Love”, and good singles “Girl From Last Night’s Dream” and “Fantasy”.

Headpins – Head Over Heels

The 3rd and final album from the Vancouver band fronted by the amazing Darby Mills, and lead by Brian “Too Loud” McLeod. This one seemed to come and go with less impact than the previous 2. Less of the heavy, a bit more ’80s pop driven, but plenty of good songs – “Stayin’ All Night”, “Never Come Down From The Danger Zone”, “Be With You”…

Helix – Long Way To Heaven

The 3rd Helix album during their heyday, released in November. My favorite one, with “Deep Cuts The Knife”, “The Kids Are All Shakin'”, “Without You”. I remember seeing these guys walking through a local mall back then – wearing their tour jackets! I got Brian Vollmer’s autograph on the back on gift card bag [I was Christmas shopping].

Loverboy – Lovin’ Every Minute Of It

The band’s 4th, released in August This one featured 2 top 10 Billboard hits, the title track [penned by Mutt Lange, who thankfully did not produce this album], and a ballad “This Could Be The Night” [with a co-writing credit to Jonathan Cain, uhg]. A bit heavier overall, another lame cover. I did like this album.

FM – Con-Test

The ‘reunion’ album w/ Nash The Slash returning. A definite more ’80s keyboard pop direction featuring a few hits like “All Of The Dreams”, “Just Like You”, and “Why Don’t You Take It”, as well as favorite “Distant Early Warning” [Ben Mink on guitar].

Kick Axe – Welcome To The Club

This Regina, Saskatchewan band’s 2nd album, and 2nd with Spencer Proffer producing. Some deliberate attempts at breaking the big time with a guest-list filled cover of The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends”, but it’s the band’s own songs that I liked far better, like the ballad “Never Let Go”, “Comin’ After You” [single], the title track, and “Hellraisers”.

Saga – Behaviour

Released in August, the last to feature the ‘classic’ line up [for a few years]. Included the hits “What Do I Know”, “Listen To Your Your Heart”, as well as favorites “Here I Am” and the title track.

Orphan – Salute

The 2nd and final album from this Winnipeg band, released in the summer. Featured the hit “Lyin’ To Me”, as well as favorites “Open Up The Skies” and “Woman In Love”.

Aldo Nova – Twitch

Released in October. Not much hard-rockin’ here, with [again] way more keyboards and pop produced tunes. But, heck there are a number of very good songs, like the hits “Rumours Of You” and “Tonight (Lift Me Up)”, and rocker “Heartless”.

Other releases: Lee Aaron Call Of The Wild , Blind Vengeance Blind Vengeance , Hanover Fist Hungry Eyes , April Wine Walking Through Fire , Convict Go Ahead…Make My Day Touchdown Tricks Of A Trade

06 / ’21