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Episode 107 : Nothing Is Impossible for Damian Wilson
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March 02, 2017 06:35 PM PST
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The feeling you get when you hear a truly remarkable voice is a special one, and that's the way many prog fans feel when they find out that Damian Wilson is part of a project. And those projects over the years have been many, whether in his early years with Landmarq through fronting Threshold and Headspace, or on his own solo albums like 2016's Built for Fighting. His versatility in flowing between genres is remarkable, and in this interview with host Mark Ashby, Wilson discusses why he would actually like to be involved in more projects, the pros and cons of performing as Jean Valjean in a touring company of Les Miz, and how fans will be able to hear a piece of him in every song he's written over the years. You can find him online and learn more at www.damianwilson.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Can't Heal War"
"Impossible"
"Seek for Adventure" (Wilson & Wakeman)
"Your Life Will Change" (Headspace)
"Fire"
"Road to Supremacy" (Headspace)
"Sex & Vanilla"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 106 : Because Djam Karet Says So
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February 13, 2017 08:27 PM PST
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You could call them a jam band, you could call them instrumental prog, but whatever you do, don't called them commercial. California's Djam Karet has been creating their own brand of self-described "self-indulgent" music for over three decades, but a devoted following has managed to find them, anyway. Maybe that's because their excursions into improvised territory don't meander and wander in directions that nobody else can follow. Their approach comes off as focused and highly musical, as evidenced on almost 20 albums including their newest, Sonic Celluloid. Host Mark Ashby talked with founder and multi-instrumentalist Gayle Ellett about why they've never even thought about satisfying anyone but themselves when composing and recording, what allows them to have stayed together for so long, and whether or not he feels they have anything in common with bands like the Grateful Dead or Phish. They're on the web at www.djamkaret.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Long Shot"
"The Denouement Device"
"Web of Medea"
"Saul Says So"
"Forced Perspective"
"Lower"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 105 : Once Around the World with Francis Dunnery
Explicit
January 14, 2017 06:48 PM PST
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One of progressive music's true Renaissance men, singer and multi-instrumentalist Francis Dunnery will resist any attempt you or anyone else makes to classify him. Having begun his musical career in the eighties with pop-proggers It Bites, Dunnery has done much in the years since he left the band, including moving from the UK to the US and exploring all sorts of genres and endeavors within and outside of the music business. His most recent album Vampires is a collection of re-recorded It Bites tunes, and he'll be performing a few concerts from the 20th to the 22nd of January 2017. In this interview, he talks with host Mark Ashby about wanting to clear the mental clutter of the past, how his in-house concerts evolved and what you can expect if you attend one, and why he chose not to "wear the clown shoes" in his career. Find him online at www.francisdunnery.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Old Man and the Angel"
"Once Around the World"
"Calling All the Heroes"
"Underneath Your Pillow"
"Moonflower"
"Screaming on the Beaches"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

2016 Year in Review!
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December 30, 2016 11:24 PM PST
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Five years down, and hopefully many more to go. 2016 was unquestionably the program's best year for guests, with many well-known artists filling up our bandwidth with great stories, but as always, we take pride in shining the spotlight on the unsung heroes of prog, too. You'll find all of that in this hour-plus episode recapping what you heard and maybe what you missed in the past twelve months. Make sure to visit www.progtopia.com for all past episodes, and give us a like on Facebook and a follow on Twitter, please! Thanks for your support this year and in years to come.

Featured excerpts:
Introduction : "At Day's End" - Redemption
"The First" - Odd Logic (Episode 092)
"No Man's Land" - Glass Hammer (Episode 101)
"Black Wind" - Dream the Electric Sleep (Episode 098)
"Masquerade" - Profusion (Episode 099)
"Matches" - iamthemorning (Episode 090)
"The Scent" - The Barstool Philosophers (Episode 086)
"Hollow" - Circuline (Episode 094)
"Entering the Light" - Earthside (Episode 097)
"The Tallest Tree" - The Gift (Progtopia Planetary Premiere 17 October 2016)
"Surreal" - Erik Norlander (Episode 095)
"Find Your Way Back" - Jefferson Starship [Craig Chaquico] (Episode 088)
"Morning Train" - Rayburn (Episode 103)
"Thirty Silver" - Redemption (Episode 091)
"Until the Last Light Breaks In" - Dante (Episode 089)
"Man of Glass" - Rube Goldberg Machine (Episode 093)
"The Colossal Empire" - Ashby (Episode 085)
"Against the Rain" - Tilt (Episode 096)
"Eldorado - ii. The Gold" - Marillion (Backstage Pass #5)
"So Far Gone" - The Neal Morse Band (Episode 102)
"Revenge" - Doro Pesch (Episode 087)
"Evil Twin Brother" - Thomas Dolby (Episode 100)
"Venus" - Hemina (Episode 104)
Conclusion - "Sleeping Pills" - iamthemorning

Episode 104 : Down Will Come Hemina
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December 19, 2016 08:43 PM PST
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We like them so much around here, they're back for a third time. Hemina from Sydney, Australia, first appeared on Progtopia in April 2012, and now with their third album Venus, this foursome (seated l. to r. Doug Skene [guitars, keyboards, vocals], Nathan McMahon [drums, vocals], Mitch Coull [guitars, vocals]; standing Jess Martin [bass, vocals]) has created their most well-rounded work to date. With influences ranging from the most technical metal to 80s pop and funk, Venus contains plenty for fans of smart, eclectic progressive music. You'll hear from all four members about McMahon's entry into and role in the band (and which prog metal vocalist took an interest in his setup), the science behind the vocal harmonies that distinguish them from the crowd, and which of them would be most likely to make an embarrassing social media post (among other things). They're at www.hemina.com.au.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Fantasy"
"High Kite Ride"
"Secret's Safe"
"Down Will Come Baby"
"I"

Listen to Hemina's previous episodes:
http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-005-and-now-to-find-hemina
http://progtopia.libsyn.com/progtopia-planetary-premiere-5-august-2014-hemina-nebulae

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 103 : Rayburn Is Not Going Back
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December 05, 2016 06:58 PM PST
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What were you doing in the mid-1960s? Were you even born yet? That's when the story of the Little Rock, Arkansas band Rayburn begins. As teenagers, they honed their craft and gained the attention of Chuck Berry and Levon Helm, among others, even recording demos and signing a recording contract. So what happened? Why are we only just now hearing of Rayburn and their 2016 album The Living End? The story is kind of amazing, with family drama and medical tragedy, and you'll hear the band's keyboardist and driving force Steve Stephens (pictured while recording the new album) discuss the ups and downs that have followed Rayburn for years. You'll even hear an excerpt from one of those early demos along with the band's unique blend of progressive and southern rock elements. Fans of Hammond organs, be sure to tune in! Find them online at www.rayburn.band.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Jealous Mistress"
"Deep in Blue"
"Steam Shuffle" (early demo)
"At the Gate"
"Malachi"
"I Still Believe"
"Not Going Back"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 102 : Back to the City with Neal Morse
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November 16, 2016 06:01 PM PST
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Having started over 20 years ago on his prog rock path with Spock's Beard, Nashville's Neal Morse has branched out on several different roads since then -- with Transatlantic, Flying Colors, and with the band named after him. Their newest effort, The Similitude of a Dream, is just out on Morse's Radiant Records, and it's a double-album tour-de-force based on a certain classic work of literature. Morse (center) speaks with host Mark Ashby about his many projects including those with drummer Mike Portnoy (right of Morse in photo), some of the conflict generated during the making of the new album, and how faith informs his art and his life. Find him online at www.nealmorse.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Overture"
"Back to the City"
"In the Fire"
"Shine" (Transatlantic)
"The Man in the Iron Cage"
"Breath of Angels"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Photo: Robert Smith

Progtopia Backstage Pass #5 : Marillion Risks Melting Their Guns As a Show of Strength
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November 01, 2016 03:00 AM PDT
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When you're a well-respected and veteran progressive band like Marillion, perhaps it's not a risk to make one of the words in the title of your 18th album an expletive. But context is everything, as the band's bassist Pete Trewavas explains in the interview you'll hear as the latest Backstage Pass episode of Progtopia. Touring North America and Europe from October through December in support of "F E A R" (or "F*** Everyone and Run"), Marillion still captures an audience as perhaps no other progressive act can these days, as the many fans who travel the country and even the world to follow them can attest. Trewavas talks with host Mark Ashby about the band's friendship and longevity (and whether they've discussed what they would do if one member would say they couldn't continue), the fickle promotional habits of labels past, and that potentially-controversial album title. Check for more tour dates at www.marillion.com

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Eldorado"
"White Paper"
"The Leavers"
"Living in F E A R"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Progtopia Planetary Premiere 17 October 2016 : The Gift - "Tuesday's Child"
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October 17, 2016 07:03 AM PDT
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When last we heard from Mike Morton, singer for The Gift out of the UK, their acclaimed second album Land of Shadows was relatively new and the band's star was on the rise after a lengthy hiatus following their first album Awake and Dreaming. Now solidified as a six-piece lineup including Morton (vocals, flute and acoustic guitar), David Lloyd (lead and rhythm guitar), Leroy James (guitar), Stefan Dickers (bass), Gabriele Baldocci (keyboards), and Neil Hayman (percussion), their third album Why the Sea Is Salt will be released on 28 October through Bad Elephant Music. You'll get an exclusive first listen on this show to the track "Tuesday's Child," as well as a wide-ranging interview with Morton about the virtuosity now found among his bandmates, the recurring lyrical themes among The Gift's albums, and a game of "Choose the Best Genesis Song" from among eight tracks for this former tribute band vocalist. Find them online at http://thegiftmusic.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"At Sea"
"Sweeper of Dreams"
"The Tallest Tree"
"Tuesday's Child"
"All These Things"

To listen to the first episode featuring The Gift, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-058-walk-into-the-water-with-the-gift

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 101 : Glass Hammer Smashes Through the Fog of War
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October 07, 2016 10:09 PM PDT
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Born out of a love for fantasy literature, Chattanooga, Tennessee's Glass Hammer has survived the ups and downs of the prog landscape since the early 90s with 17 consistently listenable, and occasionally classic, albums. Now with 2016's concept album Valkyrie out there to rave reviews, members Fred Schendel (keyboards, guitars, vocals), Aaron Raulston (drums), Steve Babb (bass, keyboards, vocals), Kamran Alan Shikoh (guitars), and Susie Bogdanowicz (lead vocals) are telling the tale of the horrors of war and dealing with the mental trauma that follows the battle. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Schendel and Babb about the way the band has utilized the many vocalists that have come their way, "epic" prog tracks (which they're no strangers to), and the opportunities their hometown provides despite what outsiders might think. Go to www.glasshammer.com for more information and ordering links.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Fog of War"
"The Fields We Know"
"Bandwagon"
"Golden Days"
"Dead and Gone"
"Valkyrie"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Photo: Julie Babb

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