Three titans of progressive rock, Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train), Neal Morse (Transatlantic, NMB) & Ross Jennings (Haken, Novena) joined forces in 2021 for their “Troika” album, a record that saw them exploring their love of more acoustic-led music and three-part vocal harmonies. Recently the band revealed the follow-up, aptly titled “Sophomore”, which will be released 10th November 2023.
Ross comments: “The melody for ‘Tiny Little Fires’ came about as a result of messing around with my son’s toy Xylophone. You never know when or where inspiration strikes but when it does, you just gotta harvest and harness it. And so with that Xylophone hook, along with the alternating time signatures, an entire song began unraveling and building in my head, and at the first opportunity I demoed a full band version of the track. It came together extremely fast and the final recording with our three voices, along with Nick’s live drums and Neal’s additional Wakeman-esque keys, didn’t differ too much from what I visualized that morning goofing around with my toddler!”
Today they have released the second track taken from the album, the Ross Jennings-penned ‘Tiny Little Fires’.
“Sophomore” will be available on Limited CD Edition (incl. 2 bonus tracks), Ltd Gatefold Transparent Red LP, Ltd Gatefold Transparent Blue LP & as Digital Album. Pre-order now HERE.
The three musicians began trading song ideas in late 2022, before choosing 10 of those to record in January 2023. “I think there was always a plan in the back of everybody’s minds about doing a second one. We just got the conversation started and then started checking out some tunes. There were a lot of songs that were a little less fleshed out than with the first album, but once we got the ball rolling, it kind of went really fast”, says Nick D’Virgilio.
For the three members, this group serves as something different for all of them. Morse explains, “I’ve never been part of a group that was like this one. Most people know I’m a big CSN fan and I love Yes’s three-part harmonies and The Beatles as well. My dad was a choir director, so harmonies are in my blood! DMJ is a special group that is its own unique cup of tea and has such a nice flavor. Great blend. The main thing for me is to be working on good songs; it doesn’t matter to me who writes them or necessarily that much about styles. If the songs are good, then I’m all about it.”
Jennings agrees, “I’m a huge fan of country and folk music, I love the three-part harmony style. As a vocalist known for progressive metal releases, prior to forming the band I could never have predicted that I’d be considered to be part of a group making music like this. It’s still mind-blowing to me since I’d never officially recorded and released any music of this genre to prove that I can do it. Making these records with Nick and Neal has been such a pleasant and rewarding experience. It’s funny how things work out sometimes!”
“Sophomore” Track Listing:
1. Hard To Be Easy
2. Linger At The Edge Of My Memory
3. Tiny Little Fires
4. Right Where You Should Be
5. The Weary One
7. I’m Not Afraid
8. Weighs Me Down
9. Walking On Water
10. Anywhere The Wind Blows
11. Right Where You Should be (Alternative Version)*
12. The Weary One (Alternative Version)*