I think this is Steve’s 28th studio album, which is probably more than the combined output of those he left in Genesis, but although I saw him play earlier this year none of this material was featured as he was touring his highly popular Genesis Revisited shows. So, when it comes to prog he has two back catalogues that are very different, while he is still releasing new and wonderful music even though he is now in his seventies. Over the last 40+ years he has released music from many different styles, being one of the few prog musicians to go the whole hog and write and record classical music, and he can play solo acoustic classical performances as well as standing in front of an electric band, and in many ways this album is a coming together of his past while also looking in new directions.
He provides nylon, steel string & 12-string guitars, oud, charango, sitar, harmonica, and vocals, and is joined by one of his touring line-ups with Roger King (keyboards, programming & orchestral arrangements), Rob Townsend (saxophone, clarinet), Jonas Reingold (bass), Nad Sylvan (vocals) and Craig Blundell (drums) while he has also brought in additional musicians which includes two more drummers in Phil Ehart (Kansas) and Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard etc). Musically he is moving through tribal, New Age, classical and prog, but surely the whole album should be deemed as progressive as he is truly pushing boundaries and mixing and blending styles together to create something which is vital and hugely impressive.
Many old progheads, like me, will have a strong fondness for his early solo albums as they were released when we were teenagers and had a massive impact on us. However, unlike many of his contemporaries from back then he has continued to tour and record incessantly, and his current output is to the same high standard as it has always been. When asked my favourite period of Genesis, I always give the same answer, Hackett (as opposed to the normal Gabriel or Collins) and there is no doubt that he has continued to develop and deliver even since leaving that entity. Listen to his music with an open mind and discover that Hackett is still pushing himself and his followers yet even though he keeps moving this is always identifiable and part of his canon as opposed to being removed. One never knows what to expect from his albums, except they will always be sheer class, and this is no exception.