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Neal Morse and Many Musicians Find Other Outlets as Covid Continues Into 2021

by Rich and Laura Lynch

It was early March 2020 when the supergroup Sons of Apollo featuring drummer Mike Portnoy announced that they would be scratching the remainder of their European shows because of health and travel concerns related to Covid 19. A few days later Austin City Limits would be one of many major festivals to also cancel their concerts as worldwide lockdowns went into effect in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

Neal Morse and Many Musicians Find Other Outlets as Covid Continues Into 2021
Neal Morse - Pastor, prog rocker and newly minted video podcaster.

Millions have been impacted by Covid, with touring musicians being one part of the people hardest hit in 2020. For artists and their crews being on the road is what pays the bills. However, safety concerns paired with lockdowns and partial re-openings have made it difficult for musicians to tour. The start of the new decade found them at home working on new albums and/or compilation projects.

A few artists performed "live concerts" at drive-ins over the summer while others presented live streams. Fees were occasionally charged while most were free as streaming is a great way for artists to connect with their worldwide fans. Plenty of players gave of their time to support fund raisers for shuttered venues. Let's Stay In This Together was a prime example of a special internet event that premiered on June 6, 2020 as a star studded, multimedia program to assistance the legendary Apollo Theater in New York.

Podcasts have also become another outlet for artists to stay connected. In context of these ideas let's see what prog rocker Neal Morse has been up to. Morse spent much of 2020 finalizing projects which included his work on Transatlantic - The Absolute Universe and his own epic Jesus Christ The Exorcist which was recorded live at Morsefest back in 2018. Plus, he put out a Last Minute Christmas Album.

In December of 2020, Neal also premiered his new podcast - "Musicians Having Coffee & Talking About Stuff". Morse's first guest was long-time collaborator and friend Mike Portnoy. Since the show was recorded before Christmas the two talked about the holidays a bit before addressing the McRib, Spotify, The Bee Gees and more. The conversation was casual and perhaps the only thing the pals disagreed on was the ability to make a cost effective, great sounding record at home. Morse felt that funds might be needed for engineering, mastering and additional musicians while Mike countered that Billy and Finneas Eilish made their Grammy award winning album without much of a budget.

The second episode of "Musicians Having Coffee & Talking About Stuff" featured guitar great Phil Keaggy. The two Christian artists mentioned faith, movie stars and The Beatles. They also talked about looping which Keaggy is a master at. Neal's podcasts are available on YouTube or the audio can be heard on his waterfall streaming app.

Portnoy himself has used the free time afforded by the pandemic to host a series of YouTube videos that document the more recent additions to his extensive collection of vinyl. Keaggy took a moment with Morse to admit that he is now in near-retirement from the road but the lack of touring has freed up opportunities to work unimpeded in the studio on his own music and with many additional guest appearances on other projects also taking place.

The fate of live music remains uncertain at this writing but the vaccine is being rolled out and folks remain hopeful that some type of "normal" will be restored. In the meantime, please support artists by buying their music and enjoy all the on-line resources that are available.

Neal Morse and Many Musicians Find Other Outlets as Covid Continues Into 2021
Mike Portnoy and Phil Keaggy - The first two musicians to talk about stuff with Neal Morse.

Related Links: For more information on NEAL MORSE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Neal Morse | Mike Portnoy | Phil Keaggy | Review - Neal Morse Band in Nashville | Review - Phil Keaggy | Review - Sons of Apollo in Nashville


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