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


Kevin Gilbert


Crossover Prog

4.20 | 174 ratings

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4 stars I knew Kevin Gilbert during years when I was chasing tribute albums in mid nineties through a compilation album "Supper's Ready" - a tribute to Genesis (Magna Carta, 1995) and "Tales From Yesterday" - a tribute to Yes (Magna Carta, 1995). Out of fourteen tracks featured in the Supper's Ready CD, I was totally amazed with track 5 "Back in NYC" performed by Kevin Gilbert featuring himself (vox, gtr, bass, keys, cellos, recorder), Mike Keneally (gtr, kalimba, bell piano, recorder), Nick D'Virgilio (drums, backing vox), and Toby Holmes (trombone solo); produced and engineered by Kevin Gilbert. The song was re-arranged completely different with the original Genesis studio album but maintaining the tagline melody as basic structure. I do enjoy the opening part where he sung with acoustic guitar and I could not at first guessed what Genesis tune he was about to play. Wonderful one! This, of course became a masterpiece tribute song because Kevin Gilbert did make a successful performance in Progfest 1994 when he and the band (including Nick D'Virgilio) performed "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" in its entirety.

On "Tales From Yesterday" he - under the name of STANLEY SNAIL featuring Kevin Gilbert and Mike Keneally - performed Siberian Khatru of Yes' Close To The Edge album. It's an excellent performance even though it's not radically different than Yes studio album except the inclusion of one of Bruford's melody taken from solo album during the interlude segment. By the time Nick D'Virgilio (later was popular with his Spock's Beard) wasn't famous yet.

With the above background, combined with information available at his website, I could sense the kind of music style that Kevin Gilbert has adopted. The style has characterized his last album The Shaming of The True.


This album represented Kevin's life-long dream - to record a rock opera. Working closely with Nick D'Virgilio on the project, Kevin worked like mad on this project. The concept/semi-autobiographical project is the story of one Johnny Virgil, a broken rock star that battles the demons of stardom and the music industry and comes to peace with his life at the end.

Unfortunately, this was not to be the case with Kevin. Sadly, he never got to see the results of his dream finalized. Kevin Gilbert died on May 17, 1996, of accidental asphyxiation, leaving the project unfinished. After his death, Jon Rubin and Nick D'Virgilio worked for years on the album, picking up where Kevin left off, finishing the album in late 1999. The album was released in 2000 by the Estate of Kevin Gilbert and through

At first listen I was not really sure about the kind of music Kevin was going to play as for me the first track Parade did not stimulate any typical prog I had been hearing thus far. My preconceived expectation was that he would repeat his wonderful arrangement with Genesis' Back in NYC style. So I was dissatisfied for the sake of not fulfilling my expectation. But, one thing struck into my mind when I carefully listened to the lyric. This came to be true especially when I opened the black-and-white booklet of lyrics. Wow! It's an excellent rock opera, I thought. And this song is basically about Johny Virgil's introduction, self proclamation and affirmation about his future as successful musician. "My name is Johny Virgil and I'm gonna be a Star. Gonna get my share of fame". This ballad opens the odyssey beautifully. It lays a strong foundation for next tracks with full stream of music rich with variations.

It's worthy to take note here when the album reaches track number 3: Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Men). The choir performed here is really wonderful reminiscent of Gentle Giant. Through this track I knew why Spock's Beard's The Light (produced by Kevin) was heavily influenced by Gentle Giant. "Hi, John it's Mel from Meglaphone. I've been listening to your tape for the 19th time. Oh that's another call - can I call you .." performed firmly with transparent voice augmented with nice choirs. Lyrically, it represents John Virgil's mixed feeling of accepting a phone call from record company about his demo tape that might clear up his pathways to success. But at the same time it creates another feeling of not being important or significant as the caller excused for another call and closed the conversation. Well, I think this also represents Kevin's personal experience on his struggle with record company. For example he was rejected by major label who produced Econium - a tribute to Led Zeppelin when he submitted the Kashmir tape. The reason was that he was no one.

Another standout track that I like is Certifiable # 1 Smash that has powerful lyrics and messages Kevin is trying to convey. This track is dynamic as it outcasts a powerful story with an articulate lyrics, performed energetically in an upbeat rocking tempo with excellent vocal clarity voicing anger, frustration and dialogue in a dynamic way. It's an exciting track to enjoy.

This album must be enjoyed in its entirety and it's suggested that you listen to this album while flipping through and reading the lyrics of the 40-page hard-bound book with excellent illustrations (mostly dark). Musically, please do not expect that this is the kind of prog you have got used to hear. It's different. But I can tell you that there is an intensive use of acoustic guitar and piano throughout this album. This album was critically acclaimed and won a Grammy nomination for its elaborate packaging (the first issue of 1400 was in a beautiful 40 page hard-bound book).


Progressively yours,


Gatot | 4/5 |


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