NEAL MORSE — One

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NEAL MORSE - One cover
4.62 | 14 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2004

Filed under Metal Related
By NEAL MORSE

Tracklist

1. The Creation (18:23)
2. The Man's Gone (2:51)
3. Author of Confusion (9:31)
4. The Separated Man (17:59)
5. Cradle to the Grave (4:56)
6. Help Me / The Spirit and the Flesh (11:14)
7. Father of Forgiveness (5:47)
8. Reunion (9:11)

Total Time: 79:55

Bonus disc
1. Back to the Garden (4:27)
2. Nothing to Believe (3:31)
3. Cradle to the Grave (Neal's Vocal) (4:58)
4. King Jesus (4:49)
5. What Is Life? (4:28)
6. Where the Streets Have No Name (5:48)
7. Day After Day (3:26)
8. Chris Carmichael's Aria (1:07)
9. I'm Free / Sparks (6:35)

Total Time: 39:13

Line-up/Musicians

- Neal Morse / keyboards, guitars, vocals
- Randy George / bass
- Mike Portnoy / drums

Additional musicians and special guests:
- Phil Keaggy / electric guitar solo in "The Creaton" at 8:19, acoustic guitar solo in "The Man's gone" (Reprise), 2nd lead vocal on "Cradle to the Grave"
- Chris Carmichael / violin, viola & background vocals
- Gene Miller / additional vocals
- Rick Altizer / additional vocals
- Michael Thurman / French horn
- Rachel Rigdon / violin
- Hannah Vanderpool / cello
- Dave Jacques / string bass
- Jim Hoke / saxophone
- Neil Rosengarden / trumpet
- Bill Huber / trombone
- Glenn Caruba / percussion
- Aaron Marshall / background vocals
- Missy Hale / background vocals

About this release

Radiant Records

Inside-Out Music (2-disc digibook version)

Thanks to adg211288 for the updates

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NEAL MORSE ONE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Warthur
For his second prog solo album (Neal had also put out other solo albums in other genres prior to this), Neal Morse changed tack a little. Testimony was a sprawling double concept album, a sort of mirror image of Neal's final album with Spock's Beard which took as its core theme his life story and his decision to shift out of band life so he could spend more time focusing on his faith (both in his everyday life and in his music). It was all composed by Morse by himself, and the other musicians there were essentially just along to help out.

This time, around, Neal starts getting a nucleus of collaborators around him - the key pair being Mike Portnoy and Randy George, both of whom also get songwriting credits alongside Neal. (It's no surprise that this rhythm section would eventually go on to be the backbone of the Neal Morse Band.) Mike, of course, needs no introduction to prog audiences for his role in Dream Theater, and was a bandmate of Neal's in Transatlantic; Randy, for his part, came up in the Christian prog group Ajalon, and having a collaborator along who'd been tackling the challenge of creating intellectually challenging prog music in a Christian context was doubtless invaluable.

There's a wide range of guest musicians here, as there were on Testimony, but it's Neal and that rhythm section who are right at the core of the music, and I think it's helpful for Neal to have some collaborators as closely involved with the composition and overall structure of the album as Mike and Randy are here; the album definitely feels like it benefits from having a deeper bench of creative ideas to draw on in comparison to Testimony, which was solid but was kind of Neal Morse business as usual. In particular, the combination of Mike's drumming technique and a dynamic bassist in the form of Randy George is a little reminiscent of some of what Transatlantic were doing on their first two albums, which will be pleasing to listeners who enjoyed those releases.

It's concept album o'clock once again, but this time Neal and crew limit themselves to a single disc. The chosen subject matter is the parable of the Prodigal Son, and obviously as a story of a straying person who comes back to the right path there's a touch of thematic overlap with Testimony, but the approach is different enough to ensure this doesn't turn into Testimony Disc 3.

It's also a good choice of subject matter because whilst it's clearly meaningful to Neal in the course of his own personal spiritual journey, it's also a tale which is widely beloved enough that you don't necessarily need to subscribe to Neal's specific views in order to appreciate the narrative here. "Christian rock" of the sort which is made by and sold to Christians semi-exclusively has a reputation of sometimes being a bit narrowly doctrinaire and unimaginative in its subject matter - and not for no reason - but Neal adeptly manages to avoid falling into this trap whilst still presenting his personal perspective in an unabashed and unashamed manner: he's offering this artistic vision to all listeners, but he's making no bones about where he personally stands, and even though I'm not aligned with him when it comes to my spiritual views I have to respect that.
adg211288
One (2004) is the second of US musician Neal Morse's progressive rock solo releases following Testimony (2003) and his fourth solo studio album overall. Like with most of Morse's work after his exit from Spock's Beard the album is a Christian themed concept release, I believe being a musical telling of the Bible itself. Morse is joined by a host of guest performers, including a Phil Keaggy who shares lead vocal on Cradle to the Grave, along with a core band of Randy George on bass and Mike Portnoy on drums, who both co-wrote the album with him. The album has been released as both a standard edition single CD and a double CD with extra tracks and cover songs.

The near eighty minute long album sees Neal Morse and company doing what after several releases down the line from One could be said to be them doing what they do best. Symphonic progressive rock music with a host of influences creeping in, perhaps most notably some metal on the track Author of Confusion. This is certainly a highlight of the release, featuring several minutes of some of the heaviest material Neal Morse has ever put out before switching up to some epic symphonic prog and then again to a capella section with counterpoint vocals (previous heard in Spock's Beard with tracks like Thoughts Part 2) and eventually comes round to the metal bit again. A few stabs of metal can also be heard in the albums two main multi-part epics The Creation and The Separated Man, both of which are also highlights of the release. If there's one artist you can rely on to write an epic it's Neal Morse. Whether it's solo, Spock's Beard or Transatlantic, he's on the money every time.

In addition to the progressive rock primary sound of One there are also a couple of instances where Neal descends into more basic balladry and while this isn't as epic as his prog these tracks do serve their purpose in balancing the release, which flows really well through all the different moods and intricacies. The Man's Gone, the second track and a short offering, proves a perfect claim before the storm before Author of Confusion thunders out of your speakers. Despite the long total running time it's really not hard to get through this one (see what I did there?) in a single sitting and there's no temptation to skip the balladry. Morse has wrote some cheesy ballads in his time, but the ones here are among his better ones.

One is certainly one of Neal Morse's best releases. I personally can't believe that it took me so long to secure myself a copy of it. For a long time the only Morse solo album I owned was the equally excellent Sola Scriptura (2007). But having found myself in a prog rock mood of late (especially a symph prog mood) I finally grabbed a copy and have been spinning it a lot the last couple of days. I am also looking forward to receiving a copy of ? (2005) and The Grand Experiment (2015), the first album of his The Neal Morse Band venture.
arcane-beautiful
Wow, Neal is a musician, who basically procreates amazing music.

This album was a must have for me, after I had heard Sola Scriptora (check my review on how I believe it is the greatest album ever made).

Now a fully fledged Morse fan, I ordered One online and recieved it on Halloween...oooh spooky.

This album was actually quite raw and experimental than Sola Sciptora and was even more flexible with arrangements and technique. The songs I believe don't stand out as much as they did in Sola Scriptora, but I do believe that each song had it's own goal for Neal, even if it's to make use of heavy distorted guitars, contrapuntal vocals, amazing keyboard sections, folky and acoustic sections and even some gospel and liturgical inspired moments.

Lyrically and concept wise, the album is about how Man had lost his way with God, and how at the end he comes back, a slightly more modern view of The Prodigal Son parable. Being an athiest, I took the lyrics with a pinch of salt, but now and then, the idea of what modern and youthfull Christian religious bait strings up, which, basically means, "God just wants to love you and give you a big hug", which is great and all that, but I always answer this question with, "Then why doesn't he...Come on, I'm waiting." No answer is ever recieved, Christians just leave me alone and reflect upon their faith, as they usually do.

Once again, there is amazing musicianship from Neal, Mike & Randy.

1. The Creation - This song starts off very beautiful, with a amazingly arranged chamber style section. After 4 minutes of prog induced musicianship, the vocals come in, and as always, Neal colourful tone, lightens up the song. This song reminds me of a Genesis song, something off Nursery Crime or Foxtrot, where there needn't be any hooks, just alot of dramatic twists and turns to grab the listeneres attention. All in all, a classic and amazing piece of prog masterpiece.

2. The Man's Gone - This is a bit of a folky tune, with a sad melachonic mood to suit the lyrics, leads into the necxt song quite weridly and perfectly.

3. Author Of Confusion - How can you not love this song. The Dream Theater esque instrumental with touches of King Crimson & Van Der Graaf Generator like madness. Then the vocals come in. Counterpoint has always been a common thing in Spock's Beard (Neal's old band) and to see Neal going back to his routes was amazing. The layered vocals performing create amazing harmonies and discourse. The song ends off on a slightly sadder mood.

4. The Seperated Man - This song takes many dramatic twists and turns, from upbeat, to melachonic, to angry, to cheery and then a more reflective mood. The instrumentation in this song is to die for, especially the wonderfully arranged acoustic section. Another epic on this album.

5. Cradle To The Grave - This song reminds me of Heaven In My Heart, in that it is the ballad of the album. The other vocalist on this song reminds me of Irelands favourtie folk master, Kieran Goss, and I thought it was him, but it turns out it wasn't. Probabbly the most cathiest song on this album, expressing deep emotion, amazing vocals and great musicianship.

6. Help Me| The Spirit & The Flesh - This song is probabbly the most liturgical on the album, and is probabbly the most nicest moment as well. Beautifully arranged.

7. Father Of Forgiveness - Another ballad, but more upbeat than Cralde To The Grave. Still a great song though.

8. Reunion - I would have made a more epic end, but as this album ends on a happy ending, I'll let Neal off with this one. The brass sections remind me of ska, like Less Than Jake, for some strange reason. I like the layered vocals for the ending.

CONCLUSION - Not as good as Sola Scriptora, but not much is. I loved how the limit for a one disc album is 80 minutes, and Neal made his 79:57. Ha, what a genius. But it, or else...

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