NAD SYLVAN - Courting The Widow

Nad Sylvan - Courting The Widow

8 songs
70:33 minutes
***** ****


Few artists have such stamina as Swedish/American musician Nad Sylvan. Most people might have first heard of him as the singer of Steve Hackettís Genesis Revisited project. As a matter of fact, few vocalists come as close to sounding like Peter Gabriel than Nad Sylvan who was born in 1959, making him currently fifty-six years old. His career started out really slowly, with his official discography starting in 1997 with a rather non-progressive debut album. Six years later followed a second, apparently more genre typical second record. And then it took another five years for his duo Unifaun to release the album that Genesis never released. This gave him the attention of the Flower Kingsí Roine Stolt who hired him as the vocalist of his new project Agents Of Mercy. Three albums were released between 2009 and 2011. Next it was Steve Hackett who used Nad Sylvanís talents on one studio and two live albums. Only a few months back I saw them play live together, and must say it has been an unforgettable moment, and not only because I was the youngest person in the audience.

Thatís already quite the introduction. Courting The Widow is thus Nad Sylvanís third solo album, coming twelve years after his last solo effort. With progressive quality label InsideOut behind him, he should get the necessary exposure that he deserves after all these years of perseverance. I can tell you right away that from a musical point of view, you shouldnít expect any big surprises. Even though Nad Sylvan is in charge of the vocals and most of the guitars and keyboards, he handpicked several notable guest musicians, like Steve Hackett, Roine Stolt, Jonas Reingold, Nick Beggs and many more. This all pays out in an album that owes of course a lot to Genesis circa 1973/1974.

The opener Carry Me Home starts out in quite a rocking way, but soon veers into more progressive territory and charms with lots of nice parts, using all of its seven generous minutes to immerse you from the start into a pitch perfect retro prog fest. The title track even increases on the Genesis sound, and its incredibly moving chorus puts it right in the same league as the British prog veterans. More quality stuff comes with the nearly ten minute long Echoes Of Ekwabet which feels like a lost treasure from Selling England By The Pound. The following To Turn The Other Side is clocking in at monstrous twenty-two minutes and is probably Nad Sylvanís attempt at his own Supperís Ready, although not quite achieving that epicís geniality. Shipís Cat is with five minutes the shortest track on the album, and comes with samples of the singerís own cat purring, and a warm sounding harmonium. The Killing Of The Calm is a mellow prog song with some folk elements. The nearly eight minute long Where The Martyr Carved His Name is another Genesis inspired long track, this time maybe a little too much as some of the melodies sound downright stolen from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. The final Long Slow Crash Landing is a melancholic ending to the album. On this song Nad Sylvan and Steve Hackett are duelling guitar solos.

If you want to discover something really new and unprecedented, than do skip this record. Fans of Gabriel/Hackett-era Genesis will be fully charmed though. Nad Sylvan never hides his affection for his idols, and thatís exactly which makes him so endearing as an artist, even though his Vampirate stage persona might be a little too much for me. And still, seeing this long, tall, androgynous artist on stage is an experience I donít regret. Courting The Widow may be the work of a musician in his mid-Fifties, but sees him still in his prime. Letís hope that Nad Sylvan will rejoice us with his great musical performances for many years to come.

Back to Reviews