…a guitar hero takes a new path on a A New Day and goes orchestral
A New Day
8 tracks / 23:16
You might know Eric Gillette as the lead guitarist/vocalist in the Neal Morse Band or as a solo progressive rock artist – but Eric’s new solo project, A New Day, reveals the orchestral side of Gillette. The wordless project consists of eight pieces that evoke various aspects of the full cycle of a day: “Sunrise,” “Bloom,” “A New Day,” “Sunset,” “Dusk,” “Moonlight,” “Midnight,” and “Endless Cycle.”
The project opens appropriately enough, with “Sunrise,” featuring a brief motif playing against a longer, lush orchestral melody. The opener sets the tone with a sweeping, cinematic feel. Insistent piano notes repeat and combine with the swelling orchestral sound, occasionally bringing to mind Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks).
The piano becomes even more prominent in the second track (“Bloom”), which emerges seamlessly from “Sunrise.” Individual string sounds become more prominent on this track, warming up the sound. Gillette manages to ‘play’ the sampled string/orchestra parts with a human touch that too-often can go awry in recordings like this. The piano interplay with the viola sample introduces a more visceral feeling.
The title-track is, comparatively speaking, almost a hoe-down. It starts in tempo, featuring a rhythmic acoustic guitar and violin (a ‘real’ one, played by Eric’s aunt!). There’s some fancy riffing going on here in the middle of a bluegrass moment - and it’s just the perfect counterpoint to the remainder of the album.
Gillette continues with music that’s both inspiring and occasionally mysterious-sounding (once or twice making me think of the work of Ramin Djawadi (Iron Man, Westworld) – but don’t be at all surprised to hear the influence of James Newton Howard (The Hunger Games, The Village) or the legendary Hans Zimmer (Interstellar, The Prince of Egypt).
Listen for the beautiful solo piano passage in the lushly beautiful “Moonlight,” for the driving, primal percussion in the ominous “Midnight,” and the piano that emerges from the mysterioso strings on “Endless Cycle” - some of the many highlights throughout the album.
A New Day is certainly a new path for Gillette, and an interesting exploration for one of the current true guitar heroes of prog.
- Bert Saraco
For concert photography by Bert Saraco, visit: www.facebook.com/express.image