Vera : Recently Neal Morse was in the news as member of the reunion from Spock’s Beard and their live registration of ’Snow Live’ in 2016. But early 2018 we have the release of a new solo album from this devoted musician. We all know that the solo albums of Morse are rather introspective and the multilateral American manifests himself mainly as a proper thoughtful singer-songwriter on them. If we think in this respect of ’Songs From November’, then ‘Life & Times’ happens to be something for those who enjoyed that calm album.
Calm and quiescent ‘Life & Times’ surely is. Morse is now in his fifties and he was inspired by the places he visited during recent touring and by family life. In the case of ‘Selfie In The Square’ it results in a fine impression of a visit to Luxembourg, while he longs for his wife and family and in the occluding track ‘If I Only Had A Day’ lyrics are also very recognizable. However, the most touching song is ‘He Died At Home’, about a soldier who lost his ideals and dreams in the cruelty of war. He survives, but commits suicide when he is at home. Deep-draught stuff! The rest is less captivating. Morse sings on a background of acoustic guitar or piano (‘You + Me + Everything’) and some of the songs are relished with any violins, trumpet or horn. The mix was done again by Rich Mouser, but three songs were in the hands of Terry Christian. This is a record to dream on in your comfortable couch, but well, very calm and quiet and maybe a bit dull. Just like we thought after listening to ‘Songs From November’, although I have the impression that I liked it more.