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Kevin Gilbert

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Kevin Gilbert The Shaming of the True album cover
4.21 | 189 ratings | 23 reviews | 43% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Parade (3:44)
2. The City of the Sun (5:55)
3. Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Men) (2:24)
4. Imagemaker (3:38)
5. Water Under the Bridge (5:29)
6. The Best Laid Plans (5:38)
7. Certifiable #1 Smash (7:20)
8. Staring into Nothing (5:51)
9. Fun (5:33)
10. From Here to There (2:11)
11. Ghetto of Beautiful Things (4:53)
12. A Long Day's Life (7:28)
13. The Way Back Home (4:55)
14. Johnny's Last Song (2:15)

Total Time 67:14

Bonus disc from 2011 boxset:
1. Parade (alternate version) (1:41)
2. A Long Day's Life (alternate orchestral version) (8:08)
- Spoken Word versions of most of the original tracks :
3. Parade (1:17)
4. The City of the Sun (1:38)
5. Suit Fugue (3:24)
6. Imagemaker (1:29)
7. Water Under the Bridge (1:03)
8. Staring into Nothing (2:54)
9. Fun (3:28)
10. From Here to There (0:57)
11. Ghetto of Beautiful Things (2:23)
12. A Long Day's Life (3:54)
13. The Way Back Home (1:25)
14. Johnny's Last Song (1:15)

Total Time 34:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Kevin Gilbert / vocals, guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, programming & sequencing, percussion, drums & programming, co-producer

- Nick D'Virgilio / drums, bass, percussion, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, co-producer
- Brian MacLeod / drums
- Tommy Dunbar / additional guitars, backing vocals
- Rush Parrish / additional guitars
- David Levita / additional guitars
- Bill Bottrell / additional guitars
- Robert Ferris / backing vocals
- Jennifer Gross / backing vocals
- Skyler Jett / backing vocals
- Claytoven Richardson / backing vocals
- Sandy Sawyer / backing vocals
- John Rubin / backing vocals
- The Le Petomane Ensemble / horns
- London Philarmonic Orchestra (CD2-tr. 2)
- Jamie De Wolf / Spoken Word (CD2)
- Jon Rubin, Cintra Wilson, Greg Gilbert and Christopher Gilbert / comments (CD2)

Releases information

ArtWork: John Seabury

CD The Estate Of Kevin Gilbert ‎- KMG 3 (2000, US)
CD The Estate Of Kevin Gilbert ‎- KMG 3 (2008, US) Remastered by John Cuniberti
2xCD The Estate Of Kevin Gilbert ‎- KMG 6696 (2011, US) Remastered by John Cuniberti + Bonus CD
containing 2 alternate versions and Spoken Word versions of most of the original tracks.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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KEVIN GILBERT The Shaming of the True ratings distribution

(189 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(43%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

KEVIN GILBERT The Shaming of the True reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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,


Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is an incredible concept album about the music business. Kevin Gilbert truly was an imaginative person, and a multitalent on many instruments. On another website someone stated that he could pick up any instrument and play it nearly instantly - and knowing his music, I'm inclined to agree.

I won't go into too much detail on what his beef was with the music industry - suffice it to say that he wrote a lot of songs on Sheryl Crow's debut album and wasn't even mentioned in the liner notes. Having said that, let me assure you that The Shaming of the True doesn't even remotely sound like Sheryl Crow ...

On this album Kevin is mainly backed up by Nick D'Virgilio, who is also a multi instrumentalist to no lesser degree - well, maybe just a tiny bit less. Anyway, every instrumental part is done flawlessly, and at the same time with great passion and ambition. Production is top notch, and the mix is very open, with very little compression. I apologize for the length of this review, but one of the most intriguing aspects of this album are the lyrics, and I just had to quote some passages.

Parade: The song starts with a dissonant wall of synth sounds, which slowly get in tune and fade out. Then Gilbert sings a tasty introductory theme, accompanied by a lonely acoustic guitar.

City of the Sun: Beautiful slow song with a nice groovy bass line, reminds me a bit of the Peter Gabriel pop songs (think Sledge Hammer). But there are enough "oddities" that venture far from pop - huge choirs, odd breaks, and plenty of sarcasm in the lyrics:

Oh, Johnny you've got a seed in your head It is the seed of your demise Ambition's gonna lure you away Into the land of compromise

This wraps up the story so far: Johnny Virgil, a young musician, is tempted by the music industry to sacrifice his artistic integrity in exchange for commercial success.

Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Men): This is the most brilliant a capella fugue that I've ever heard. Sure, Gentle Giant did that first, but this is executed so flawlessly and utterly brilliant and convincing ... you have to hear for yourself.

Imagemaker: Here the vocals remind me of 80s Peter Gabriel again. The song is a nice up-tempo tune which is not very progressive, but it's not meant to be - it tells about Johnny's way towards more success - that doesn't leave much room for progressiveness. At the end, there's an odd sample of the german word "Schlußmoral" ... strange.

Water Under the Bridge: This is the second utterly brilliant song after the Suit Fugue. Johnny has become "comfortably numb", if you will:

What's a drop of water In an ocean of compromise

Beautiful mellow track based on piano and acoustic guitar, with a beautiful - yet short - guitar solo and a nice build-up near the end.

The Best Laid Plans: Cool up-tempo song based on piano and guitar riffs. Johnny apparently reaches the peak of his success, everything is working out just as planned. But even in this "happy" song, there's Gilbert's bitter sarcasm:

You can tell a big man by the company he fleeces Step right on up here son see how your wealth increases Get your Cross of Iron, get your thirty silver pieces.

Certifiable #1 Smash: This is the most direct criticism of the music industry. I don't want to spoil anything, but here Gilbert elaborately describes the means which the music industry employs to cheat people into buying crappy music albums. The music plays a minor role in this song.

Staring Into Nothing: This is where things start to turn out bad for Johnny, he begins to feel empty, because he traded is art for money. This song features beautiful multi-voice interludes on the classical guitar, and again very strong vocals.

Fun: Johnny has entered the phase where he's entirely reduced to money - no real friends, just alcohol and sex ... but the lyrics are far from clichee:

Now Sheryl's in the kitchen with the L.A. Lakers Trying to get herself laid but there ain't no takers Cause they heard about the guy that she did with Aids And she's callin' 'em fags saying they're afraid

The whole song has a hypnotic feel, getting you in a state of trance, just like it must feel when you're on a bad trip - "uncomfortably numb", if you will.

From Here to There: Johnny begins to realize that something as gone awfully wrong and tries to find a way out of this situation

Ghetto of Beautiful Things: This is my favorite song on the album. Johnny is disappointed and get's angry about the music industry and tries to find the artist that he once was. But he's just too angry:

Change my sex, burn my cash Stick my tongue up the client's a** And I vanish into Nowhere's End New Jersey Uniforms, formulas, Formica, office forms Conformism, formalism, formalities

Musically, this is a nice avant-garde track which reminds me of Zappa a little bit.

A Long Day's Life: A huge contrast to the previous song ... this is again a truly beautiful work - of art. Johnny has found the artist he once was, but he is quite tired. The song has an epic quality, with underlying strings, slide guitar and an occasional choir and mellotron. Here the lyrics become utterly divine:

Love came to my house and knocked on the door I answered and said "What are you here for? Go away. 'Cause I'm busy looking for truth.

The Way Back Home: Nice up-tempo song which reminds me of Porcupine Tree.

Johnny's Last Song: This song is the counterpart of the first song - Johnny has come full circle. In the first song he was a young ambitioned man, now he's an old man whose songs are played on "oldies radio". Again the vocals are only backed by a lonely acoustic guitar and ambient sounds - and at the end, the song fades into the dissonant synths from the beginning, followed by the sound of rain on a window sill.

Review by TheProgtologist
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Best known as a co-writer for Sheryl Crowe's debut album, Kevin Gilbert was in the process of recording this scathing, unflinching indictment against the recording industry at the time of his all-too-early death.

His friends were later able to sort through his many tapes and sketchy notes to complete this tortured prog-rock-pop magnum opus, a "rock opera" concerning Johnny Virgil, an auto-biographical character who learns firsthand the hypocrisy and decadence of the modern music industry.

The album opens with "Parade," a quiet, acoustic, naïve song with the lyrics "My name is Johnny Virgil/ I play this here guitar/ I play it for myself." This leads to "The City of the Sun" with an off-kilter rock feel similar to Gabriel-era Genesis. An early favorite, "Suit Fugue" is a mostly a cappella fugue of messages left by PR men, agents, and other musical lowlifes on Johnny's answering machine. The result is equally humorous and dispiriting as Virgil first considers and eventually gives in to their demands to change his image and dump his band, justifying the decision in the sobering and haunting "Water Under the Bridge."

After the industry attempts to androgynize and pasteurize him in the "Madman Across the Water" influenced "The Best Laid Plans," Johnny finds himself empty ("Staring Into Nothing" with Yes-ish Italian guitars and melotron) and quits the business. He turns to self-destruction with "Fun," a mocking, seamy underbelly of the hit he co-wrote with Crowe. Taking the familiar melody, Gilbert contorts it into a doped up, hideous distortion that takes the listener along on a tale of a Hollywood party full of drugs, transvestites, and a particularly vicious slam on Crowe herself.

"A Long Day's Life" is a lonely, emotionally raw song of longing for innocence past with a melody that evokes the sorrow and tiredness of our hero. This beautiful, complex song takes many turns, guiding the listener back home with Virgil, back to a reprise of the opening song, this time sounding as down and out at our hero with lyrics "My name is Johnny Virgil/ I used to be a star/ A long, long time ago./ Sometimes I hear my records/ in the wee hours of the night/ on the oldies radio."

Everything about this album is absolute perfection: the lyrics, the vocals, the musicanship, the production and the incredible songs that keep me coming back long after I've memorized every note. Of course, as brutally honest as this album is, don't expect it to be released by a major label.

5 stars,highly recommended and a modern masterpiece

Review by horza
5 stars The Prog Archives have many fine concept albums and I have listened to my fair share of them. This album by Kevin Gilbert is the best concept album I have heard in 2005. It is also one of the top 5 albums I have been turned onto this year. I was unaware of this unique individual until only recently when a good friend told me I should give this album a listen. It tells the story of one Johnny Virgil and his journey from fledgling songwriter through the insincere and cynical machinations of the musical industry. Kevin Gilbert won a grammy for co-writing Sheryl Crow's hit "All I Wanna Do". He was dating Crow at the time and became known as the man who discovered her. The two parted on less than cordial terms and it was claimed that Gilbert wrote most of the songs on the album that catapulted Crow on the road to stardom.

When Gilbert was young he and his friends would listen to bands like the Dead Kennedys although when he got home he would listen to Genesis. His first introduction to the band was the album 'Foxtrot' and he knew immediately this was his kind of music. He also enjoyed Gentle Giant but admitted he was inspired by the energy and vibrant nature of the punk movement. As he himself said "I think progressive rock took a really bad turn in the late 70s.It lost its adventurous spirit........a lot of the bands made horrible records".

The album opens with 'Parade' - an orchestral phrase leads into acoustic guitar and we hear Johnny Virgil telling us that everyone is soon going to know his name. It is a fairly straightforward song which segues into 'The City of the Sun' which has similarities to the narrative style that Crow obviously borrowed. The drums are solid in this track due to the playing of Nick D'Virgilio, who helped in the realisation of this album. This was before Spock's Beard became famous. Next up is Suit Fugue (Dance of the A & R men). As Bill Hicks would have said, if you are an A & R man do us all a favour, go and kill yourself. These corporate sharks along with advertising types are bottom feeders and contribute NOTHING and CONSUME everything. 'Imagemaker' is a track that Gilbert had in mind for years prior to this rock opera. It is an excellent song featuring Gabriel- esque vocal stylings and a strong hook. This album has many highlights including 'Water Under the Bridge' and 'A Long Day's Life'.

I cannot hope to write the review which this album deserves. Kevin Gilbert was also known for his work with the progressive bands Giraffe and Toy Matinee. At one point in his life he received a call from Keith Emerson saying he would love to work with Kevin on a project. In 1994 he and his band including Nick D'Virgilio performed 'The Lamb Lies Down in Broadway' at Progfest to much acclaim. Sadly he was found dead on May 17th, 1996. He had been due to fly to London to audition for Genesis as their replacement lead singer. The man was a musical genius. It was said he could lift up any instrument and play it immediately. He is sorely missed.

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Given the 90s, which are mostly sound-visionary, neo-expandable, prog-retro, metal-glorious, then alternative, post-operatic and "experimental on the side", bombastic sequential or loop-prog sophisticated (none of these are bad mottos, nor expand to speak of no referential music and art movement whatsoever; nevertheless, the more typical and more un-refreshed characters do sting the most), I'd say I rarely heard music of Kevin Gilbert's kind. Clear, artistic, conventional or rather not, delicate or rather mechanistic , a lyrical blast or a sentimental impasse, a shape of gold, a powerful instrumentality, some kind of hedonistic ideas in mix with progressive shapes and influences, music of a genre full of charm.

The magnum opus, Shaming Of The True, acclaimed more artistically than based on popularity (a great detail, if you stand to think Gilbert is keen to many music ways, thus is the first within artists to never be closed-minded), is unfortunately a posthumous recording, based on Gilbert's dream of concept music, rock opera and "art's artistry" and a bit finished by his own work, but later brought to a serious four years work by Nick D'Virgilio and fellow friends, into a complete shape and a desire (or rather taken from desire) final shape. Kevin Gilbert died abruptly in 1996, right after glory (one, again, more artistic than popular-based) came from a full-blown interpretation of Genesis's Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and a first great concept album, Thud (later to be considered the first volume of his dreamed rock opera, Shaming Of The True being, sensefully, the second) and has made him a better artist than ever before. It's actually strange how, from a childhood alienated by different feelings and special emotions to the entire music career, eclecticism and power-option, his demise was no less stranger - autoerotic asphyxiation. Incidentally, Genesis' manager was on his way to give him the chance for an audition, for Genesis's recently lost vocal entry. Imagine Genesis not with Ray Wilson, but with this lucid complex artist that was Kevin Gilbert!

Moving on to Shaming Of The True, the concept bears exactly the kind of quality I've already mentioned that Gilbert always appreciated - or, at least, has reached within years of practice, mastered in his relative brilliant way, to finally, upon all the glory achieved, to never forget it (or to blunt it by guilty, deceiving or effortless passions): music and art above popular forms (even if they exist in the entire music's way of existence and persistance, though the concept is formed on the base idea that the new-industry is one practically demonic) and stagnating easy impressions. Johnny Virgil's wondering story is mixed with the best music ever to impress and deeply be created. The auto-biographical idea is becoming, by the music's entire glow, more auto-interpretational, in what is a concept mention of popular, artistic, song-written, avant-shaped or bit alternative and fresh rock. By thinking bigger or smaller details, the rock opera comes in touch with a progressive form of expressiveness, a deep rock sense, mostly unused so brightly and so equivocally, and an interiorized mention, by which the artist is barely narcissistic, but has the lead of songwriting (flawless), multi-instrument playing (pretty outstanding) and symbolic style ambition (mostly big, but also powerful). The interpretation lacks nothing, it actually discovers richness's richness. And the deepest thing remains to like the music and recognize the beautiful work.

This is concept by refinement, deep sentimentality, a bit of geniality and a great shape of music, rock, transcendence symbols and auto-characterizing large aphorisms. At least given the triumph of the work, I cannot go lower than expectations, so this is a 5 stars fragrant of craft, art, skill and suspicious quality. And, finally, even with a most tenacious grand album, the word of advice (by paradox) is to discover Kevin Gilbert even better.

Review by 1800iareyay
5 stars In the 90s, singer and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Gilbert seemed sure to become a big name in modern prog before he accidentally asphyxiated himself, tragically cutting short a promising career. His friends looked through his estate and found a partially completed album that dealt with the music industry and it's corruptive effects on artists. Spock's Beard drummer Nick D'Virgilio filled in the gaps with his own multi-instrumental skills. The result is quite possibly the greatest indictment of the music business ever created. The Shaming of the True is the album that Bill Hicks might have championed, had he too not died far too early.

The album follows the story of Johnny Virgil, a wannabe star who moves to LA in order to live his dream. Every song is a highlight, but there are notable standouts. Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Men) features a humorous a cappella segment where various agents leave messages on Johnny's message machine, and it shows Johnny bowing to their demands. Water Under the Bridge shows Johnny coping with the sacrifice of credibility. Certifiable #1 Smash is the most vicious track on the album, as it skewers the tactics that the music industry uses to sell albums, from music videos to photo shoots. A Hard Day's Life is the best song on the album, as it covers an incredible amount of ground musically, and it is intensely emotional and Kevin's vocals on this song at times remind me of the emotional howl of Roger Daltrey.

I cannot divulge the full brilliance of this album, because it would ruin the concept, but suffice to say this is the concept album Roger Waters wished he had written. It is superb in every way. Kevin's vocals capture the emotional journey of Johnny, from the naive hope at the beginning to the rage in the middle to the sobered acceptance of his fate that comes at the end. They come across as a mix of Peter Gabriel and Roger Daltrey, providing a great combination of haunting softness and raw screams. The composition is also masterful, never flashy, yet perfectly reflecting Johnny's mood. Nick's drumming is perfect and he plays both original performances and patterns that Kevin had pre-programmed. It's great to hear absolutely no seams between the two. This posthumous masterpiece is sadly overlooked all too often since Kevin didn't have enough time to build fame before his death. However, if you locate this album, pick it up. It is one of the best progressive rock albums of the modern era. Rest in peace, Kevin.

Grade: A

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Shaming of the True is Kevin Gilbertīs third album. Itīs a very american sounding album with a very american concept story about a rock star and his struggle on the way to fame and of course his demise. Does this sound familiar ? Well thatīs because about one thousand other bands have written about this before. Remember Tom Pettyīs Into the Great Wide Open ? Well this albumīs story isnīt far from that one.

The music is in the same vein as some of the more commercial and easy listening Spockīs Beard and Echolyn. There are some great songs here like the Gentle Giant ( or Spockīs Beard if that suits you better) inspired Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Men). Itīs uses the multilayered and polyrythmic vocals that Gentle Giant did in the seventies. Itīs really well done here. There are also some almost heavy rock riffing in some of the songs. Certifiable #1 Smash has a chorus that sounds almost like eclectic heavy metal band Extreme. The lyrics are generally well written, but the story is too abused and it seems a bit trivial to me. The music is generally vers chorus structured so donīt expect some wild instrumental excursions or exciting middle sections on The Shaming of the True.

The musicianship is good, nothing to complain about there. Kevin Gilbert plays just about everything, but is helped out by Spockīs Beard drummer Nick D'Virgilio and a few other people. Kevin Gilbert is a skilled singer and Iīm sure if you like his very american approach youīll enjoy his style.

The productions is good.

The Shaming Of The True is a good album from Kevin Gilbert even though I must say I have a hard time with his very american style. Listen to Parade which is almost in american singer/ songwriter style for instance. Iīll give this album 3 stars even though itīs not really my taste, but as I always say: You canīt deny quality.

Review by J-Man
5 stars There are few perfect albums in the world, even in the great progressive rock world. I don't give out 5 star reviews all the time, and even when I do, the album rarely is complete perfection and without any flaws. The Shaming of the True is one of these perfect albums. It is completely flawless, and is one of the greatest albums of all time. It tells probably the greatest story of all time in progressive rock history.

The Shaming of the True is a concept album about (who originally was) an ambitious young man named Johny Virgil with a love for music wanting fame, but also wanting to make the music he wanted to. Record labels turn him into somebody he never wanted to be, and before you know it, he's caught up in drugs, sex, and no longer values his life. He eventually is trying to find the "way back home" and sees a homeless man on the sidewalk who claims he is Jesus. Johny asks the man if he knows how to get back home, and the man says the answer is love. This leaves questions of whether or not the man really is the second coming of Jesus. By the last song Johny is an old man who's lived most of his life, and is clearly unhappy. He hears his songs on the oldies radio, and ends on the note that started the album. This is followed by rain on a windowsill.

Clearly, I believe the story and lyrics are incredible (though there is some profanity, that is all in context and actually is used well). The music lives up to the same high standard as the lyrics. "Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Men)" is one of the finest A Capella fugues I've ever heard. While most of the music isn't extremely complex, it is all perfectly written. It has a perfect mix of emotional and hard rock songs, with enough oddities that make it excellent progressive rock.

All in all, this album is a masterpiece. It's upsetting that Kevin Gilbert had a tragic death before the release of this album, and never got to see his dream of making a rock opera. I'm giving this incredible album its 23rd rating, which proves how overlooked this perfect album is. This truly is a hidden gem, and almost everyone that I've discussed this album with loves it. This ranks up there with Selling England, Close to the Edge, and Wish You Were Here, but sadly doesn't have the popularity these albums have.

Fully deserving of a 5/5 star review.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Indeed, American feeling is strong here. After all, it's not bad to deny your heritage and I have no problem with that. Well, I like it, it's just another way of doing good music, use your background, things around you and blend them to something bigger. Fun sounds quite like Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do", so after reading story of her/his life, it's all more clear. I'll not go into repeating the story again, as other did it far better that I would be able to, but I like it and can appreciate it. Well written and composed concept albums always attracts me, as I like reading, in this case listening stories. Music is very various, as Gilbert's category is eclectic, he truly belongs under this definition. Even I don't like these categories (as they confuses as much as they helps), sometimes they tells the truth.

5(-), as I don't see as much perfection here as in The Wall, another dramatical story about music star. But both are different, this one is more modern one. Suit Fugue is probably the most original idea I've heard in many days. I like irony tone here. Almost masterpiece and after all, it is. But that's of course not fair, everything fails when compared to bricky, vertical structure (masterpiece number 1 in my mind). But if something can do similar thing in different way, then I'm amazed. How could not I be.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars With so many glowing reviews here I was curious to get this album and know what the fuss was all about. After several spins I found that this work is a very good concept album even if the musicanship involved is not exactly what I call appealing to me. Like in most concept album the music works for the story line, so there are lots of changing styles and moods, but the instrumental side suffers a bit. And the concept is far from new. In fact is the same old story of the rise and fall of a rock star. It is well written and performed I should point out. But I heard far more impressive and pleasant ones, as far as the musical score is concerned (the lyrics are another story completely).

Not that The Shaming Of The Truth does not have its bright instrumenbtal moments.. it does. It is clear that Kevin Gilbert was a talented man and he knew music deeply. Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Men) for instance is a highlight. This a capella song has some of the most delightful vocal cannons ever heard since Gentle Giantīs Knots. There are other bits and pieces that I enjoy too, but unfortunatly for my ears, the musical flowing is uneven at best and there is not too much instrumental interludes taht captured my atention. You have to pay atention to the story all the time for the music to make sense. And it kind of bored me after some time.

Anyway, if youīre into concept albums (specially of the american style), then I guess this is for you. Although I found it to be more interesting than really appealing, it does not mean that The Shaming Of The Truth is not a fine prog album of sorts. It just didnīt fit my tastes. Thatīs all.

Review by Flucktrot
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.

Review by Menswear
3 stars Bitterness and profanity.

After getting a taste of the limelight, being used and tossed around, Kevin had enough I think. And like Jose Canseco, Marie Osmond or Dan Wilson of Semisonic, it is time to settle the score and say the things that need to be said. The truth? At least, a lousy experience, a fake game that leaves you empty feeling.

I like the concept. Very much. It's appealing to hear the other side of the fame medal, and Gilbert does it very well. From the girls, to the management, to the brown nosing, to the fans, Gilbert is pouring out his heart...and has quite the potty mouth too. Wow, the speech has the quality of being frank!

I don't find anything particulary attracting about the music, sorry. The songs are okay, but nothing to throw you off your chair. It has that pop feel mixed with Neal Morse here and there, some will appreciate...some will find it ordinary. No long keyboard solos, 90's guitar and simple melodies.

I was not wowed, and frankly disappointed. After so many raving 5 stars review, this is not the pinnacle I expected. What am I missing? I mean, I get the statement of the record, but the music is too bland.


Review by Warthur
2 stars I don't have much sympathy for concept albums about people destroyed by the evil music industry making them rich and famous and giving them everything they could have possibly dreamed about, even when they're recorded by people who had actually made it big in the industry (see: Pink Floyd's The Wall). I have even less when they're recorded by comparatively obscure artists who got passed over by the A&R men, because the taste of sour grapes generally doesn't improve the flavour.

In the case of Kevin Gilbert's Shaming of the True, what we have is a concept album about the subject matter which was completed after Gilbert's death, a death which - whilst tragic - shouldn't blind us to the album's shortcomings. Nick d'Virgilio of Spock's Beard took the lead in finishing off the album, which might explain why it has this Spock's Beard tone to it here and there, though I suspect this is also a matter of common influence - Dance of the A&R Men, the best song on the album, consists of complex, layered vocals in the sort of experiment Gentle Giant were known for back in the day.

However, away from that particularly amusing novelty track, the rest of the album seems rather bland and vapid to me, and I honestly wonder whether it doesn't get an easy ride and extra publicity simply because of the sad circumstances surrounding its release.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I always wonder what this would have ultimately sounded like had Kevin Gilbert actually finished the album. Kudos to all who got it done but you wonder what would have happened had Mr. Gilbert put it out and not passed away. It's an age old story of integrity vs. selling out in the music industr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1941063) | Posted by Schoeylove1 | Sunday, June 24, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8/10 The unfinished project of Kevin Gilbert is a real journey through the world of rock and roll replete with references to the giants of 70's, outstanding musicianship and a vulgar, very vulgar language. "My name is Johnny Virgil and I'm gonna be a Star. Gonna get my share of fame". This ... (read more)

Report this review (#540478) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, October 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a unique album. This is a rock album, written by a man who's been through the whole music industry and back, written to mock the entire music industry. The album follows the rise and fall of the rock star Johnny Virgil, from when only dreamed of glory, all the way to the point when he ... (read more)

Report this review (#292852) | Posted by Relayer Duos | Saturday, July 31, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of my favorite albums of progressive rock ever, along with Close to the Edge, Foxtrot, and Images and Words. Kevin was such an amazing songwriter in every way, creating an ultimate fusion of pop sensations ("Imagemaker," "City of the Sun"), satirical commentary towards the music indu ... (read more)

Report this review (#283720) | Posted by Obobass | Thursday, May 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is one of the most intelligent, biting, emotional, powerful and amazing pieces of art I have ever heard. With Kevin Gilbert being a relatively unknown name, this is a big statement, but I feel it is justified, as is the five star rating. Kevin Gilbert is one of the most underrated art ... (read more)

Report this review (#183477) | Posted by The Ace Face | Wednesday, September 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I believe Kevin Gilbert's death is the greatest tragedy to strike progressive rock. He was found dead on the day that word had come that Banks & Rutherford had granted him an audition as a replacement for Phil Collins which I'm certain he would have passed with flying colors and would have heral ... (read more)

Report this review (#178222) | Posted by classicalgasp | Saturday, July 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Unique music. You don't have to be a prog. lover to like this piece. This is very intelligent music(and emotional too)There such a salad of influences and originality here. In the prog music area: You can find a combination of Fish neo prog with Act crossover prog ,mix that with the prog of Pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#168499) | Posted by robbob | Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I just got this album a week ago and have listened to it 3 times since then. I have to say that it is one of the best rock operas I have heard. It has a full range of music, slow and peaceful, energetic, groovy, and the whole time vocals are beautiful and strong. The story is very good it is eas ... (read more)

Report this review (#158764) | Posted by rekabat | Wednesday, January 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is brilliant. Kevin Gilbert is Brilliant. I don't know how to explain this album, really. From my first listen on, I was wowed by its sheer brilliance. Musically, this album is much more complex than Thud, but the music is still somehow exceedingly accessible and friendly to all. The lyric ... (read more)

Report this review (#152341) | Posted by Inverted | Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What is there to say about Shaming of the True? Sincerely, I want to be able to convey just how I feel about how immense this album truly is. If I had the time I would spill my heart and soul onto a canvas, present a Broadway musical, inscribe a poem and partake in just about every other form ... (read more)

Report this review (#139237) | Posted by rambaron | Thursday, September 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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