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Morse, Neal: Songs From the Highway

While Alan Morse stole the spotlight with one of the most unexpectedly entertaining and exploratory instrumental albums of 2007 (Four O'clock and Hysteria), younger brother Neal quietly released his most reflective effort. Recorded in January 2007 with only one acoustic guitar and Neal's voice, Songs From the Highway continues the man's unrelenting and unpredictable emotional musical journey. Neal left Alan and the rest of Spock's Beard in 2002 to pursue Christian music and has since released several solo CDs, including epic progressive rock (Sola Scriptura), accessible progressive worship music (God Won't Give Up) and now laid-back folk tunes.

In the liner notes to Songs From the Highway, Morse writes that inspiration came from a bargain-bin copy of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan that he discovered in the Eighties, and it is Dylan whom Morse summons more than any other artist on these dozen songs. Even the packaging is designed to look like Columbia Records' early CD treatment of Dylan records especially on the back insert and spine. A bit preachy at times and laced with multiple references to God and Jesus, these songs nevertheless retain the feel-good melodies that permeate nearly all of Morse's work. Even the simplest compositions here contain elements of intricacy missing from traditional folk music. (In the spirit of Christianity, we'll forgive Neal's misguided attempt to rhyme "door" with "saw" in "Talking Mega-Church Blues.")

During his time in Spock's, as well as post-Beard, Morse has proven himself as one of modern prog's most ambitious and thoughtful writers and performers. Every album he releases and he's been prolific, issuing a singles collection called Sing It High and ? Live since Songs From the Highway came out earlier this year transports listeners to a different place. And regardless of whether you agree with Morse's lyrical message, it's nearly impossible not to feel your spirit somehow moved after the music fades.

Track Listing:
1) Isaiah 60
2) There Is Nothin' That God Can't Change
3) That Crutch
4) I Dreamed Of A River
5) Talking Mega-Church Blues
6) You Can Be Delivered
7) Resurrection Ground
8) What He's Done For Me
9) Prayer For Germany
10) Make Me A Dishwasher
11) Pierce My Heart
12) Maybe If We Praise Him

Added: December 5th 2007
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Radiant Records
Hits: 2919
Language: english

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