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Kevin Gilbert - The Shaming of the True CD (album) cover


Kevin Gilbert


Crossover Prog

4.21 | 184 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Based on my initial look at the album's concept, I was fully expecting an album-long version of Bad Company's song Shooting Star, complete with the tragic lead character named Johnny. And that's exactly how this album starts, but boy oh boy does it dig deeper after that opening song!

Is this a flawless album? In my opinion, no, but the first half--from the intro through Certifiable #1 Smash--sure is darn close to perfect in my book. The music is great, ranging from an Alan Parsons sound (Water Under the Bridge) to rocking Who-style (Best Laid Plans) to Gentle Giant rounds (Suit Fatigue). The evolution of Johnny from an innocent music lover to over-the-top and misguided superstar/showman is absolutely brilliantly paced and put to catchy and multilayered music.

...and the lyrics! I am not a lyrics guy, but they are impossible not to notice in this album. My personal favorites are Suit Fatigue (the multi-part harmonies allow for new discoveries virtually each time you listen) and #1 Smash (which somehow explains the deranged artistic perspectives and logic behind the many incomprehensible and ridiculous music videos out there). And Best Laid Plans represents a legitimate killer single that somehow fits right in the middle of all this musical variety.

In the second half, I lose interest and the pace is less appropriate, though there is plenty to like, from the bitter cynicism in Fun to the unbridled anger in Beautiful Things. I do believe things tie together very nicely (and cohesively) with Way Back Home and Johnny's Last Song, which at least allows for a fulfilling ending to this captivating musical story.

Two people must be acknowledged for this great piece of work: Kevin Gilbert, who is a great writer, lyricist, orchestrator, and--not to be undermined--talented vocalist (perhaps not technically, but certainly with regard to the emotions of his pieces); and Nick D'Virgilio, who clearly was motivated by more than financial benefit and worked hard to deliver this gift to the prog community and his deceased friend.

I typically listen through #1 Smash, then skip to Way Back Home and Johnny's Last Song, which tells me the story I want to hear. The brilliance of this album is that you could tell a slightly different story with a new playlist, and it could be equally meaningful to you. Rewarding, well-produced, clever, and occasional powerful material--a worthy legacy for Kevin Gilbert.

Flucktrot | 5/5 |


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