All posts by bradbirzer

By day, I'm a father of seven and husband of one. By night, I'm an author, a biographer, and a prog rocker. Interests: Rush, progressive rock, cultural criticisms, the Rocky Mountains, individual liberty, history, hiking, and science fiction.

Steven Wilson on Porcupine Tree’s Unexpected, Slow-Simmering Reunion – SPIN

I’m excited you’ll be reissuing the first Storm Corrosion album this year. I know you get asked this a lot, but…have you and Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt talked recently about making another album?
It is the 10th anniversary, so we’re doing a new version, and we’re gonna get together and do some press to promote it. We even talked about recording a new track for the new edition, but we said, “If we’re gonna do that, why don’t we just do a new record?” So the subject certainly has come up. I think we would love to do something else together. I don’t think we’d do a follow-up to that record. I think we want to do something quite different again. I don’t know what that would be, but I know that’s the way he is and what I am. That record is so perfect and definitive in what it tries to do and what it achieves. It’s a little diamond, I think. And I think a lot of people missed out on it because it’s not what they expected us to do. But I know that for some people that it’s their favorite thing that either of us have done. I’ve heard that more and more. There’s a little cult growing up around that record.
— Read on www.spin.com/2022/06/steven-wilson-porcupine-tree-reunion-interview/

Owen Barfield’s “History in English Words” ~ The Imaginative Conservative

An extraordinary man by any measure, Owen Barfield (1898-1997), one of the least known of the Inklings, published his first book, History in English Words, in 1926, at the very young age of 27 or 28. One of the finest books I’ve ever read, History in English Words is an in-depth examination of the history of Western civilization as seen through the eyes of English speakers, measuring a significant number of words through their individual journeys and evolutions.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2022/08/owen-barfield-history-in-english-words-bradley-birzer.html

Yellowstone at 150 ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Granted, I love the American West. I love open skies, I love mountains, and I love cool, dry air. Even given all these personal loves, I still think Yellowstone is something truly special. Everywhere you look—in addition to seeing families—you see an abundance of nature, God’s creation at its most glorious. Mountain ranges, vast meadows, deep canyons, pine tree forests, dynamic rivers and waterfalls, boiling and steaming geysers, petrified trees. The landscapes in Yellowstone are as varied as they are vast. As my younger children noted, many of the landscapes in Yellowstone rivaled anything in a fantasy novel (specifically Narnia) or a painting.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2022/08/yellowstone-150-bradley-birzer.html

Yellowstone at 150 ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Yellowstone National Park is something truly special. Everywhere you look, you see an abundance of nature—God’s creation at its most glorious: mountain ranges, vast meadows, deep canyons, pine tree forests, dynamic rivers and waterfalls, boiling and steaming geysers, petrified trees… (essay by Bradley Birzer)
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2022/08/yellowstone-150-bradley-birzer.html

America’s Anti-Slavery Legacy ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Yet, there are many problems with this. Aside from the critical fact that half of the states, prior to the Civil War, didn’t have slavery, and free labor radically outproduced slave labor (thus, leading to the conclusion that America and capitalism were really built on free labor, not on slave labor), perhaps the biggest problem resides in our very Founding and the documents that define it. In particular, it is worth considering the Declaration of Independence, passed on July 4, 1776, and signed on August 2, 1776. In it, Jefferson first defines the nature of the universe and man’s role within it. That is, “when in the course of human events….” In the following paragraph, though, Jefferson made a statement that astounded the world. But, to Jefferson and Congress, they were merely stating the obvious: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” To be sure, this has to be one of the most powerful sentences in the history of the world, especially in its non-religious history. Critically, the statement claims that “all men”—not some men, not non-Catholics (see, for example, the 1689 English Bill of Rights), or not non-whites—are created equal. The founders could have easily tempered this statement, but they didn’t. Indeed, it exists in a world of glory, and it became, as Martin Luther King, Jr., so profoundly understood it, a promissory note. Just because Americans did not live up fully to the statement in 1776 did not mean that they never would.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2022/07/americas-anti-slavery-legacy-bradley-birzer.html

Spirit of Cecilia Progcast 3

A special (MEGA!) progcast, featuring Tad Wert, Kevin McCormick, Dave Bandana, and Brad Birzer. Nearly 3 1/2 hours long, we play Tin Spirits, SAND, NAO, Oak, Nosound, No-man, Memories of Machines, Sanguine Hum, The Tangent, Big Big Train, The Flower Kings, and The Bardic Depths. All of the music was chosen to impress Kevin, and we find out his reactions to it all. Additional bonus feature: Dave talks a lot about the making of the most recent The Bardic Depths album, Promises of Hope.

COSMOGRAF – ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM – HEROIC MATERIALS


We are really pleased to announce that Cosmograf returns with their ninth new studio album, Heroic Materials to be released on 9th September 2022.
 
William ‘Billy’ May looks back on his life at the age of 99 and realises the world has completely changed since he was a young man put into an impossible scenario, defending his country from the air. He no longer recognises much of the modern world but understands that the human race must live in a different way in the future.
 
“This album is really about change, our refusal to accept it, but also recognising that it’s essential to our survival”, says Cosmograf’s Robin Armstrong. “The story centres on a WWII Spitfire pilot who laments a lost golden era, but reflects that the human race must change its ways in order to preserve our existence on the earth.” 

Robin is joined once again by drummer, Kyle Fenton, and there is a special guest appearance from ex-Big Big Train keyboard player Danny Manners, who plays piano on the 13 min title track, set in three parts.
 
The lead track from the album, British Made is released on our Bandcamp page today, and the video for the track is available to view on YouTube now. 
British Made is really a nostalgic throw back to a golden era of motoring where design and craftsmanship was more important than carbon footprints.  I think it’s incredibly sad that we are coming to the end of this present journey with the motor car, as we reject fossil fuels for electric power, even if it’s for good reasons” says Robin.

The album sees the character wrestling with his memories of the war, and harbouring nostalgia for a past era but he realises that change is essential if we are to avoid climate catastrophe.

Heroic Materials will be available in CD, Deluxe Media book edition, Vinyl and Digital formats and pre-ordering is now live on the Gravity Dream Music website.

Heroic Materials Pre-order link: https://bit.ly/2YObrzH

 


The new single ‘British Made’ on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Lqj40KJLrtA

Neil Peart: Cultural Repercussions REVISED AND EXPANDED

Coming, June 14, 2022, from WordFire Press

Thanks to Kevin J. Anderson and Wordfire Press, I had the opportunity to revise and expand my intellectual biography, Neil Peart: Cultural Repercussions, originally published in 2015.

On June 14, Wordfire will release an ecopy as well as a trade paperback. To preorder the ecopy, go here: https://books2read.com/b/3LwEA1.

I’ve had the chance to write about many of my heroes during my professional career, including J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Dawson, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and Russell Kirk. Peart, though, remains at the top of the list. The man combined integrity, intelligence, and action. It was such an honor to write about him and spend time in is mind and in his soul.

His words meant a great deal to me at 13, and they remain a great deal to me at 54. Peart has been, I believe, one of the most influential figures of the last half century–shaping the lives of many non-conformists, and unleashing the power of the individual spirit and mind.