Neal Morse has announced his next prog rock solo album, Sola Gratia, will be released on September 11. Morse has resigned with former label InsideOut Music who will release the new album.
The album is conceptually based around the apostle Paul and features longtime Neal Morse Band members Mike Portnoy (drums), Randy George (bass) and Eric Gillette (guitar) as well as Bill Hubauer and Gideon Klein.
"I was talking to my wife Cherie about debuting this new piece at Morsefest 2020 and she said she thought it would be good for me to do a solo album," explains Morse. "However, I thought she said ‘Sola album’ and – because some of the new ideas involved Paul’s aggressive pursuit of the early Christians, I could see a link to some of the themes of persecution in ‘Sola Scriptura’.”
The music was recorded ‘virtually’ in April 2020 at the height of the Coronavirus lockdown: “It’s the first album we have ever made remotely: I sent them the basic tracks and asked if they wanted to rearrange things, but they just said ‘No, it’s great!’, so they just played to it and sent their parts back over. It wasn’t an easy way to make an album, but creating always has its challenges, no matter how you do it.”
As Morse explains, it was this process that decided that Sola Gratia was to be a Neal Morse album, rather than being credited to The Neal Morse Band: “With the Neal Morse Band, the whole band works together on the writing, and while Eric Gillette plays some guitar and Bill Hubauer has added some keyboards on this one, neither of them wrote – or is singing – on this album.”
Sola Gratia will be released as a limited CD/DVD Digipak (featuring a ‘Making-Of’ documentary), Gatefold 2LP + CD, Standard CD Jewel Case and as a Digital Album. The cover art was created by another longtime collaborator, Thomas Ewerhard.
Morse will debut Sola Gratia live at his annual Morsefest convention on the 18th and 19th September 2020. A very limited number of people will be able to attend in person, with the event also being streamed online.