RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Neal Morse - Songs From November
Radiant Records

Rating: B+

Neal Morse has enjoyed success as a progressive artist for many years. As a member of Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic, and Flying Colors, Morse has been a solid staple in the prog world for quite some time. He has also produced numerous critically acclaimed solo albums. He recently released a new solo effort, Songs From November.

As is typical with Morse’s solo albums, Songs From November is a deeply spiritual journey. It’s an uplifting collection of songs filled with introspective lyrics and impassioned melodies. Morse embraces his spirituality and attempts to deliver a message of hope and share the joys and struggles present in everyday life. 

One of the many things I enjoy about Songs From November is the varied approaches to the music that Morse employs. The songs have a warm familiarity to them. There is a reverence to a range of musical styles that is difficult to put into words. I hear wonderfully unique compositions with pleasant allusions to the stylings of other bands. For example, we enter into this album with the song “Whatever Days”. This is a funky, upbeat tune that immediately reminds me of the group Jellyfish. It’s filled with catchy hooks, rhythms, and melodies that will stay with you for a long time. We also get treated to “Flowers In A Vase” and hear a piece Crosby, Stills, and Nash would be comfortable singing as one of their own. This is a testament to Morse’s strong songwriting and musical dexterity. It feels like we are listening to the best of several albums adeptly compiled into one masterful collection.

Morse is skilled at presenting a mood and amplifying it to its fullest extent. When he wants you to feel a sense of gratitude and appreciation, as he does in “Song For The Free”, he delivers the passion with maximum intensity. He’s not afraid to unleash the full force of rich instrumentation and deliver a grand accompaniment to support powerful lyrics. The emotions are clearly presented both musically and lyrically; you cannot help but feel them. Conversely, when the tone is more subdued and the lyrics more spiritually contemplative, such as “My Time Of Dying”, Morse delivers his message with subtle effectiveness. The song “Daddy’s Daughter” is in a class by itself; it’s a beautiful gift of love from a father to his daughter.

Songs For November is the perfect album for those occasions when you need to step away from high intensity rock ‘n’ roll and want to sit back, relax and let yourself unwind. It’s for unhurried and reflective moments. This album is a treat and deserves a listen.

Track Listing:

  1. Whatever Days
  2. Heaven Smiled
  3. Flowers In A Vase
  4. Love Shot An Arrow
  5. Song For The Free
  6. Tell Me Annabelle
  7. My Time Of Dying
  8. When Things Slow Down
  9. Daddy’s Daughter
  10. Wear The Chains
  11. The Way Of Love

By Roy Rahl