Category Archives: Republic of Letters

Neal Morse Band–Do It All Again


NMB – release video for “Do It All Again” the first single from the upcoming album ‘Innocence & Danger’
Pre-order starts today

Tour Dates revealed for US and EuropeNMB recently announced their much-anticipated fourth studio album ‘Innocence & Danger’, to be released on August 27th, 2021. Today, the band are sharing the first single and video from the album for the opening track “Do It All Again.” 
 
Watch the video for “Do It All Again,” created by Christian Rios, here
https://youtu.be/PiNt_kQvoagMike Portnoy says this about the track, “This was the first song we wrote when we reconvened for the sessions for this album. It rooted from an idea Bill Hubauer brought in and we built off it from there. Like most NMB songs, I love the sharing of lead vocals…Neal Morse on the verses, Bill on the B section and an amazingly catchy 3-part harmony chorus with Eric Gillette taking the lead.”
 
‘Innocence & Danger’, featuring artwork by Thomas Ewerhard (Transatlantic), will be available as:
• Limited 2CD+DVD Digipak (featuring a Making Of documentary)
• 3LP+2CD Boxset
• Standard 2CD Jewelcase
• Digital Album

Pre-order now here:
https://thenealmorseband.lnk.to/InnocenceAndDanger 
 NMB are also happy to announce tour dates for ‘An Evening of Innocence & Danger’ across US and Europe.
  
USA 2021Oct 8th & 9th – Cross Plains, TN – Morsefest 2021
Oct 12th – Seattle, WA – The Triple Door
Oct 14th – St Charles, IL – The Arcada
Oct 15th – Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot Ballroom
Oct 16th – Ft Wayne, IN – Pieres
Oct 17th – Cleveland, OH – The Beachland Ballroom
Oct 19th – Glenside, PA – The Keswick Theater
Oct 20th – Baltimore, MD – Soundstage
Oct 21st – Boston, MA – The Sinclair
Oct 22nd – New York City, NY – The Sony Theater Europe 2022May 28th – Madrid, Spain – Teatro Kapital
May 29th – Barcelona, Spain – Apolo
May 30th – Milan, Italy – Live Club
May 31st – Pratteln, Switzerland – Z7
June 2nd – Tilburg, Netherlands – 013
June 3rd – London, England – Shepherds Bush Empire
June 4th – Paris, France – Trianon
June 5th – Esch Sur Alzette, Luxembourg – Rockhal
June 7th – Cologne, Germany – Live Music Hall
June 9th – Brno, Czech Republic – Sono
June 10th – Krakow, Poland – Studio Club
June 11th – Warsaw, Poland – Progresja
June 13th – Hamburg, Germany – Markthalle
June 15th – Copenhagen, Denmark – Amager Bio
June 16th – Gothenburg, Sweden – Pustervik
June 17th – Oslo, Norway – Cosmopolite
June 18th – Stockholm, Sweden – Lilla Cirkus***
With NMB’s previous two releases being concept albums, it’s perhaps remarkable that Innocence & Danger is a series of unrelated songs, but drummer Mike Portnoy says “After two sprawling back to back double concept albums in a row, it was refreshing to get back to writing a collection of unrelated individual songs in the vein of our first album.”
 
Indeed, making this album came easy to the band; while the initial inspiration came particularly from Bill Hubauer (keyboards) and Randy George (bass), the ideas flowed from everybody from there on, as George recalls: “I am excited about the level of collaboration that we achieved on this one. We even went in with a lot of ideas that weren’t necessarily developed, and I think in the end we have something that represents the best of everybody in the band.”
 
In fact – like its two acclaimed predecessors – Innocence & Danger is a double album by inspiration, rather than design, as Portnoy explains: “As much as we wanted to try and keep it to a single album after having just done two double albums, we wrote so much material that we found ourselves with our third double album in a row! That’s pretty prog!”
 
There is also plenty in Innocence & Danger to excite those prog fans who have a thirst for epics, as Neal Morse explains: “There’s one half hour epic and another that’s about 20 minutes long. I really didn’t realize that they were that long when we were recording them, which I guess is great because if a movie is really good, you don’t realize that it’s three hours long! But there are also some shorter songs: some have poppier elements, some are heavier and some have three part acoustic sections. I’m excited about all of it, really.”
 
NMB (Neal Morse Band) is
Neal Morse (vocals, keyboards and guitars)
Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals)
Randy George (bass)
Eric Gillette (guitars, vocals)
Bill Hubauer (keyboards, vocals)NMB ONLINE:www.facebook.com/The-Neal-Morse-Band
www.instagram.com/thenealmorsebandofficial
www.twitter.com/nealmorseband1

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FOUR GREAT GIFTS OF THE ROMANS

Rome Wasn’t Murdered in a Day – Joseph Epstein, Commentary Magazine

June 15, 2021

“Re: Rome Wasn’t Murdered in a Day” By Joseph Epstein

As usual I found a Commentary piece by Joseph Epstein to be stimulating and very interesting.

When he quoted Mary Beard to say “I no longer think, as I once naively did, that have much to learn directly from the Roman or for that matter from the ancient Greeks…” my first response is only a contemporary Englishwoman could have written that.   I cannot imagine Edith Hamilton, Gilbert Highet, Moses Hades, or Thomas Cahill would have said anything remotely like it.

Epstein certainly recognizes that much of the greatness of the Roman world (or I would say Greco-Roman world) was their very great literature of prose and poetry rich in imagination and subtle in expression in almost every conceivable genre.    

But literature and art were not the supreme gifts of the Romans. 

Among these were:

  1. The Romans preserved the best of Greek civilization and literature (virtually every Greek book we have is derived from a Roman copy)
  2. The Romans were great organizers and administrators, builders of public buildings, ports, aqueducts and roads unequaled until the mid-19th century. The Pax Romana is an incredible achievement.
  3. Much of our thinking about the rights and duties of citizens derives directly from Greco-Roman thought and law.   We think of Rome as an Empire but for centuries the Romans preferred a free republican government over a monarchy.

Epstein says “I am glad not to have been a Roman” but one of the remarkable things about Roman society is that he COULD HAVE BECOME a ROMAN with all the rights of a Roman citizen just like the Jews Josephus  or St. Paul and countless Illyrians, Gauls, Spaniards, Germans, Africans, Syrians, Egyptians and Britons.

However, as a Christian and a Gael I am deeply aware the greatest of the gifts of the Romans was their translation of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin and hence their inestimable gift of ethical monotheism. Rome to me is Cicero, Vergil, Horace, Pliny, Seneca, Epictetus and Aurelius but also St. Patrick, St. Augustine, St. Gregory and is inseparable from the 12 Apostles of Ireland (including St. Columba of Iona).

The Greeks studied no literature but their own but the Romans were great interpreters, international merchants, missionaries and translators.  The Odyssey was translated into Latin and the Aeneid was translated into Gaelic. 

The Romans began a tradition of bilingualism and multilingualism where monks, priests and scholars understood not only Old German or Anglo-Saxon or Old Irish but Latin also (and sometimes Greek).  St. Patrick, a Roman, was probably fluent in three languages (Old Welsh, Old Irish and Latin). His tremendous success at spreading Christianity as well as literacy among the Gaels was a great feat of education and organization that only a cosmopolitan Christian Roman could have achieved. 

We remember Patrick as one of the great educators of history and a towering figure in the history of human rights as his was one of the first unequivocal denunciations of slavery (in his Letter to Coroticus).    

We remember Rome, not for her darker side of violence, ruthlessness and cruelty but for her gentle scholars and saints who taught a love of art and learning with a gospel of love and universal brotherhood.

Richard K. Munro

Rmunro3@bak.rr.com

On ThE POWER OF IDEAS and the REVOLUTIONARY MIND OF THE FOUNDERS

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/bradley-thompson-birzer-america-revolutionary-mind-founders/

Where Bailyn and Wood gave too much credence to the power of ideas (again, as somewhat determinisms and deterministic), Thompson wrestles with the much more difficult problem of individual free will. After all, imagine a world in which every single person—past, present, and future—is a moral agent. The world gets very, very complicated, very, very quickly.” Very well, done , Brad. I read this book recently. Ideas are of course very important. But some people believe it is one idea or new ideas that transform everything. But the world is very very complicated. Individuals are complicated. Communities are complicated. Economic environments are complicated. Political and military necessity are complicated. Of course, individual persons and peoples are changed by their interaction with new ideas. But as free individuals they decide to accept the idea or reject the idea or adapt the idea as they see fit. And something always remains of the old ideas and old cultural patterns. Some old ideas and old cultural patterns are very enduring. I was never raised to think emancipation of slaves or anti- slavery views or ideas began with English Quakers. One of the earliest anti-slavery voices is St. Patrick in his letter to Coroticus and the Bible itself has the seed of universal equality that long predates the Declaration or the Enlightenment. And the idea of individual dignity, the right to the self determination of small nations (or clans) and religious pluralism peacefully coexisting all existed outside of America and before the Enlightenment as well. One of the oldest Jewish communities in the British Isles is in Glasgow. Jews were expelled from England but never from Scotland and Scotland had in effect, curiously TWO established churches the Episcopal Church (Anglican Communion) and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland (Calvinist). But the result of this incomplete hegemony meant that religious minorities continued to exist in the shadowlands between the Episcopal Church and the Church of Scotland from which fractured many denominations the Free Churches of the 19th century.
People learned to have a Protestant Trail (Edmund Burke’s father and paternal grandfather were of the Anglican Communion -Church of Ireland but his mother and sisters and cousins were all raised Roman Catholics. It was the kind of compromise people made to survive. My parents were married in the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church. It allowed them to be switch hitters. That sounds like nothing now but then one had to be prepared to serve the yoke and to take part in Anglican ceremonies on board ship or while on military service. My son appeased the bold state by having a civil marriage in Arizona but he celebrates his later marriage date, in Mexico, in the Catholic Church as his true wedding anniversary. Similarly my parents had two wedding dates but only one wedding anniversary. We often look at European History as one of religious monoliths of Protestant Kingdoms and Catholic Kingdoms but the reality on the ground was more complex. Some of that complexity and religious pluralism was imported into America. The Eisenhower family (Swiss German in origin) descended from a splinter Protestant group persecuted both by Lutherans and Catholics. I cannot but help thing that his family history helped make Ike the perfect man for a great Allied coalition. Something always remains of the past. The past is never merely a tabula rasa. Education (ideas) are strong but as the old saying goes “the blood is strong” as well.

My family, I think, always respected education but we had little of it generally speaking because were were among the lower orders of society. Before my father graduated from Manual Training HS in 1933 no one in my family had ever gone past the sixth grade except for the odd cousin who became a priest. My father only knew one close family relative who was a a high school and college graduate and this was his mother’s sister’s son John (“Uncle Johnny”) Dorian who was in fact his fourth grade teacher and later schoolmaster of St. Anthony’s in Govan and much later the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Glasgow. But even if my family was not formally educated they showed some talent as multilingual scouts in the British Army in India and North America. We excelled as soldiers (we were a fierce people) and colonial administrators. We tended to be the assistant mechanic, first mates and NCO’s if we were not fishing or shipbuilding in the old country. Being of the lower orders we were more likely to intermarry with local peoples than the English ruling class.

As an example of the clash of ideas, my entire life I have tried to understand how the Reformation could have happened and its tragedy (the sectarian hatreds and jealousies the persecutions and counter persecutions, the Thirty Years War etc etc.) After many years I think I understand the outrages and disappointments and injustices that may have caused some people to become disillusioned with the Catholic Church. I have experienced distrust and disillusionment myself. Yet my very devout wife being my anchor I never drifted far and today we listened to and repeated the Rosary as my ancestors had also for over 1000 years. So as much as I have changed here is something that my grandparents and great-grandparents would have recognized immediately. Some ideas and values endure. Something of the old always remains.

I also believe that Christianity is permanently fractured and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put the wee frees (independent churches) together again. But there are good aspects to this fracture. The independent churches vary enormously in practice, belief and theology. It could be that in some environment (Communist China or Soviet Russia) hierarchical churches cannot function properly or freely and in such repression “Bible Christians” or “Evangelical Christians” might thrive better. Christianity does not put all its eggs in one basket. I know different church traditions by personal experience as I was the product of a mixed marriage. Part of my family was Roman Catholic (my father’s side) and the other half were not Lutherans or Russian Orthodox and some people might believe but “Free Church” in the North of Scotland and Scandinavia among seafaring peoples the “Free Church” persuasion was very common.

As a small boy talking about religious differences was something no one ever did and I senses there were some wounds there.

But I as grew up I realized both sides of the family had something in common. They both were from communities that belonged non-established Churches and so were both religious and linguistic minorities. They also were unified by a deep skepticism for modern secular ideas especially Marxism and Communism. And they both came to America, in a large part because, as religious minorities their legal and economic opportunities were limited in the old country. America was the land of the free with work and bread for all. I can’t speak for other people and other people’s family but I have noticed one key factor in the descendants of my grandparents. Those who believe and practice a religion have families and those who do not tend to be childless.
Brad Bizer writes:
“For probably every reader of The American Conservative, Thompson’s points—however beautifully and expertly articulated—might seem obvious. After all, these are points that Socrates, Cicero, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, and Friedrich Hayek all could have made. Yet, in the modern academy, so enamored with horrific ideas of determinism, Thompson is nothing if not revolutionary in his insistence on these things. Not only is Thompson gloriously correct, but again, it is worth noting, he has just complicated history, recognizing that history turns not on some predestined pivot, but on the moment-to-moment moral decisions every human being makes in every aspect of his life. Life is messy.”

Here both Thompson and Birzer hit home runs. Social determinism, economic determinism, racial determinism, sexual determinism are , in fact, false and evil ideas. One thing life has taught me is that religion and cultural values are not enforced by coercion or even taught but they are caught by the atmosphere of the home and taught not by (la mano dura) mere authority alone but by love. I sing songs my grandfather and great grandfather loved; songs my parents loved. I say prayers and repeat proverbs that have been among the people of my race and line for time immemorial. I love music and poetry because we all loved music and poetry. The music and poetry is deeply imbued with a love of nature, a love of natural love between men and women in families, of the great virtues, politeness, fidelity, prudence, justice, generosity, compassion, gratitude, purity, humor, a deep desire for freedom, courage and a deep faith. I would hope to think my forefolk would recognize in my and my family some of the same virtues they extolled and lived. I did not learn these virtues, primarily in American public schools or universities but in spite of them. I was prepared for college life and military life by my intense home-schooling. Every American should be intensely home-schooled ESPECIALLY those who attend public schools and universities. Even after so many years I remember the intense shock to learn that most schools and universities were like in the days of the Penal Years virtually enemy institutions. And I think it is much worse today. People with conservative or traditionalist views need to keep their heads down. But I survived the 20th century. It was not easy but I survived as a soldier and laborer like my father and grandfather and great grandfather before me. I did not feel at home in the universities nor in the Anglophone world of New York or Boston. So like my father, like my grandfather, like my great grandfather I remembered we were a cosmopolitan people an amphibious people. So I took a wife who had not a single word of English and zero feminist or Marxist influence. Her aunt was a charming singing nun; she had two uncles who were missionary priests. Everyone one in her family was against our marriage. After all I was a foreigner and a heretic a soldier not to be trusted. But I knew her ways and their ways and checkmated their doubts. I spoke to them in their language. When I came to ask for my wife’s hand in marriage Father Cirilio, a Jesuit priest who was a close friend of mine came with me. He vouched for my character and my faith background. And we were married on June 9, 1982 on the feast of St. Columba, patron saint of the Gaels. They questioned my faith but I told the Bishop of the Burgo de Osma that we were Catholics when most Spaniards were Moors. And that we fought the Moors and Scottish Knights with the heart of Robert the Bruce (long buried in Spain). I told them I was their friend and their Ally. We both had a memory of Christendom and I told them no one in my family every looked towards London but always to Rome. And that were very grateful for Spain. For you see the priest that baptized my father (Father Collins) and the priest that baptized my father’s mother both spoke Spanish and had been educated at the Scots College (then at Valladolid). No objection was made and we lived happily ever after. Mrs. Munro, of course, now speaks English is a naturalized US citizen and is an honorary but only honorary member of the Anglosphere. She remains deeply attached to her tradition faith -which we share-and the language and cultural traditions of the Hispanophere or la Hispanidad. In a long journey some things have to be left behind but the most essential things are faith, a certain economic security and freedom.

I don’t look at Colonial America as being a Little England in America. I don’t look at the Founding Fathers as Englishmen although of course George Washington and Franklin were very English in origin and so were some others. But Jefferson and Monroe were deeply Celtic (Monroe was mostly of Scottish Highland and Welsh origin; and Jefferson himself was of Welsh and Scottish Origin -one of his ancestors signed the Declaration of Arbroath in Scotland). Then there is Witherspoon (Scots) Paterson (Irish) and so on. Only about 49% of the population were of English origin in 1775. People of non-English origin signed the Declaration (Paca and Carroll) all were nominally subjects of the King and but Anglicans were a distinct minority even of those of English origin. Those who came to America were the religions minorities of Europe and the British Isles, French Huguenots, English Quakers, Irish Presbyterians (so-called Scots-Irish), Gaelic speaking Highlanders (both Catholic and Protestant -Catholics tended to settle in Canada and Protestants in North Carolina) German Moravians, Dutch Jews, Swiss Mennonites. Jorge Ferragut (later known as George Farragut father of Spanish-speaking Admiral Farragut) was a hero of the Revolution. He spoke English of course but taught Spanish to his children (his wife was of southern Irish origin). General Winfield Scott’s people fought against the British; his people of course had been doing that for generations. He was descended from Scottish Jacobites who oddly enough believed the Hanoverians to be illegitimate. They stubbornly refused to give consent to the German Laddies as they called them. It is said -this has not been entirely proven- that a piper who fought at Culloden played Jacobite pibrochs at Yorktown.

We like to think there was a uniform belief or fealty towards the British Monarchy but in fact many American colonists were indifferent or even hostile to the Anglican Church and the Protestant Hanoverian Ascendency of England. One of the results of the American Revolutionary period was the Quebec Act which led to the tolerance of the Catholic Church in Canada. And the American Revolution and the French Revolution had the effect ironically of strengthening the Catholic Church in America, England and Canada because of the many exiled French Catholics (life Father Dubois) , Father Hassett, the Duponts. This would eventually lead to Catholic Emancipation in England in the early 19th century and later by 1859 Jewish Emancipation.

Ideas are important in history but so are customs. and traditions. And something always remains. Even of a culture, language, religion or race considered to have been extirpated and wiped out. Stubbornly there are always those lone survivors those lone rebels with a a long memory. Stevenson, not an Englishman as Arthur Conan Doyle was not an Englishman -he came from a Scottish Catholic family- said, “For that is the mark of the Scot of all classes: that he stands in an attitude towards the past unthinkable to most Englishmen, and remembers and cherishes the memory of his forbears {his race and line} good or bad; and there burns alive in him a sense of identity with the dead even to the twentieth generation.” (From the Weir of Hermiston). Once I was provoked to a fight in school. My mother said I should do nothing and ignore the bully. That I should turn the other check. By my father said, “Remember the people you came from. Remember the courage of your ancestors. Teach that laddie a lesson that he will never forget. Let him learn not to touch the cat but with a glove. Remember you have with you the Mire-catha (the ancient blood lust/battle frenzy). Take care not to kill you opponent. Don’t lose your self-control. Do only what is necessary for your honor. ” And like a medieval Scottish Knight I was sent into singular combate. And so I suffered my first and only school suspension. But I bloodied and defeated the foe and was never bothered again. The Men of Munro began their historic life as warriors, Christian Crusaders fighting Pagan Vikings and Moors. And something of that deep faith and something of that ferocity still remains. I have a strong identity. I am an American by choice, I was a US Marine by choice (a volunteer), I am a Christian in the Roman Catholic tradition by choice but I still retain a more ancient identity. For over a thousand years we were men of the north of Ferindonald and when we saw the ancient beacon light ablaze to gather to fight the foe “Caisteal Folais Na Theine” we gathered and followed our chief to the field where our laurels were gathered before. It is hard for many Americans or Europeans to believe but Toynbee recognized it. We were for over thousand years an independent nation and clan the very last Iron Age Peoples of Europe. The last White Barbarians. The memory of that clan loyalty, that Regimental loyalty, the memory of deep oaths and sacred oaths, of battles lost and won is very, very deep. To us the Gairm (the Call to arms) has long been a sacred thing. I might change my nationality. I might change my religion (though very doubtful) but am and always will be of the Seventh Son of Hugh, of the Men of the Halo River for that is my true race and line the race and line not of Briton or Vass (Viking) or Saxon or Frank but of the Gaels and my clan (though I am descended from many famous clans) is the clan of my father. I will always be a Gael and a Munro. I will always be above all that “leal ‘n true mon. ” And if my children have not this identity I care not because I know something will remain because the teaching is strong and the blood is strong. Both will call to them. Being born in a garage does not make one an automobile. One is as one is bred and raised.

Calvin Coolidge on the Finality of the Declaration

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

The full speech (courtesy of Teaching American History . Org):

A FAREWELL SONG

(these are the last notes of an Auld Sang)

By Richard K. Munro

I can’t remember a time that I did not know this song by heart.  This farewell song is from the point of view of the soldier who will be executed: When he sings, “ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road” in effect he is saying that you will return alive, and I will return in spirit.  

Why was there a rebellion or Rising as it was called in 1745?

At the time in Scottish history when “Loch Lomond” was a new song, the United Kingdom (which united Scotland, England, and Wales) had already been formed.

But some Highland Scots (Gaels) wanted a Scottish Stewart, not an English King to rule.  Many called George II  a “wee German laddie” and felt the current government was illegal and unconstitutional.

But like the American Civil War the Scots themselves were divided.  Many remained loyal to the Crown (the Hanoverians) but others felt it was now or never so rose up in rebellion.   

 It was called the “Cause of True Honour” but of course it was doomed to failure.  

What chance could a handful of tribesmen have against an Empire and “Britannia’s sons with their long-range guns”?

As my Auld Pop used to day “we won all the songs but lost all the battles.”

Many’s the lad fought on that day
Well the claymore could wield,
When the night came silently lay
Dead on Culloden’s field.

Burned are our homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men…….

Led by their Bonnie Prince Charlie (Prince Charles Edward Stuart) the Highland army gained some early victories by dint of daring and sheer courage.

But his army of 7,000 Highlanders were utterly defeated on April 16, 1746 at the famous Battle of Culloden.  It was the last battle fought on British soil.

In the aftermath of the battleThe Duke of Cumberland (called “The Butcher”) led brutal reprisals and indiscriminately burned the homes and farms of  any Highlander whether or not they had participated in the rebellion.    
 
YOU CAN READ ABOUT THIS in ANDREW ROBERT’S NEW BOOK on  George III THE LAST KING OF AMERICA which comes out this fall.   It was my privilege and honor to have helped Professor Roberts with the research of the book and its editing.    So take it from me this is a wonderful and original book a real tour-de-force!
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/612529/the-last-king-of-america-by-andrew-roberts/
 
 « Drumossie moor, Drumossie day,

  A waefu’ day it was to me !

For there I lost my father dear,

  My father dear and brethren three.

Arnold Toynbee said this was the last day of the European Iron Age when the last tribes of White Barbarians (as he called them) were subdued.   

The aftermath led to the Highland Clearances ,mass emigration and the suppression of the Gaelic language and Highland dress.

It is this same battle that directly gives rise the LOCH LOMOND song.

After the battle, many Scottish soldiers were imprisoned within England’s Carlisle Castle, near the border of Scotland. “Loch Lomond” tells the story of two Scottish soldiers who were so imprisoned.

One of them was to be executed, while the other was to be pardoned.

According to Celtic legend if someone dies in a foreign land, his spirit will travel to his homeland by “the low road” – the route for the souls of the dead. In the song, the spirit of the dead soldier shall arrive first, while the living soldier will take the “high road” in the Land of the Living over the mountains, to arrive afterwards.  

But the pardoned soldier knows he will never meet his comrade again, in the land of the living,  and that their defeatedd cause  is finished and “will never know a second Spring.”

He remembers his happy past, “By yon bonnie banks … where me and my true love were ever wont to gae [accustomed to go]” and sadly accepts his death “the broken heart it ken nae [knows no] second Spring again.”

The lyrics intertwine the sadness of the Highland soldier’s plight his deep love for his country and his comrades with beautify imagery of Loch Lomond’s stunning natural beauty under Ben Lomond (a ben is a mountain).

My family emigrated from Scotland en masse 1923-1948 so I grew up in Kearny, NJ and Brooklyn, NY among many immigrants.

They passed on to me a love of the traditional and national music of Scotland but also the sad wisdom of these songs which are filled with that the Highlander calls CIANALAS  a word that could be translated as deep nostalgia but also a connectedness to the past and heritage and an awareness that the greatest distance between people and places is not the miles but TIME.     

One of the lessons you learn from the traditional songs is to persevere, to endure defeat, exile and disappointment and that you have to be prepared to say goodbye to the places and the people you love and that nothing endures forever.   

So my parent’s home and my grandfather’s home and his Auld Regiment are now part of “Yesterday’s Seven Thousand Years”.   I know  there is no home to go back to.   But while never forgetting the past I face firmly towards the future and I am very grateful for the safe harbor that America has been to my immigrant family, my children and my grandchildren.

My mother used to say, “Life and love are brief moments in time so let us tell the people we love NOW and appreciate them WHILE they ARE here with us.” 

Ah, yes, how sweet was then my mother’s voice in the Martyr’s Psalm.       

Tomorrow is my last day of instruction.  

My last full day at West High and in the Kern High School district.

So  I bid adios and goodbye  and farewell. 

SLAN LIEBH GU BRATH.  SEMPER FI.

We will see you at sundown.

Richard Keith Munro

(Ricardo Munro)

New Neal Morse Band Announced

NMB ANNOUNCES “INNOCENCE & DANGER”
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Hey, everyone!We’re delighted to announce details of the eagerly-anticipated new NMB album! Some incredible new music is coming your way. We will be starting pre-orders at www.radiantrecords.com on Friday, June 18th. Watch for our updates as we reveal some amazing exclusives relating to this release, plus another release only available from our website!
** OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE **NMB are pleased to announce the release of their much-anticipated fourth studio album Innocence & Danger on August 27th, 2021.With NMB’s previous two releases being concept albums, it’s perhaps remarkable that Innocence & Danger is a series of unrelated songs, but drummer Mike Portnoy says “After two sprawling back to back double concept albums in a row, it was refreshing to get back to writing a collection of unrelated individual songs in the vein of our first album.”Indeed, making this album came easy to the band; while the initial inspiration came particularly from Bill Hubauer (keyboards) and Randy George (bass), the ideas flowed from everybody from there on, as George recalls: “I am excited about the level of collaboration that we achieved on this one. We even went in with a lot of ideas that weren’t necessarily developed, and I think in the end we have something that represents the best of everybody in the band.”In fact – like its two acclaimed predecessors – Innocence & Danger is a double-album by inspiration, rather than design, as Portnoy explains: “As much as we wanted to try and keep it to a single album after having just done two double albums, we wrote so much material that we found ourselves with our third double album in a row! That’s pretty prog!”There is also plenty: “There’s one half hour epic and another that’s about 20 minutes long. I really didn’t realise that they were that long when we were recording them, which I guess is great because if a movie is really good, you don’t realise that it’s three hours long! But there are also some shorter songs: some have poppier elements, some are heavier and some have three part acoustic sections. I’m excited about all of it, really.”The album will be released as a Limited 2CD+DVD Digipak (featuring a Making Of documentary), 3LP+2CD Boxset, Standard 2CD Jewelcase & Digital Album, featuring artwork by Thomas Ewerhard (Transatlantic). Pre-orders start on the 18th June, and the full track-listing is below:CD 1 (Innocence):1. Do It All Again 08:552. Bird On A Wire 07:223. Your Place In The Sun 04:124. Another Story To Tell 04:505. The Way It Had To Be 07:146. Emergence 03:127. Not Afraid Pt. 1 04:538. Bridge Over Troubled Water 08:08CD 2 (Danger):1. Not Afraid Pt. 2 19:322. Beyond The Years 31:22The Neal Morse Band (now NMB) was formed in 2012, featuring long-time collaborators Neal Morse (vocals, keyboards and guitars), Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals) and Randy George (bass), as well as Bill Hubauer (keyboards, vocals) and Eric Gillette (guitars, vocals). The band’s first album, The Grand Experiment, showed both a freshness and maturity that was further developed in 2016’s The Similitude Of A Dream, 2019’s The Great Adventure and 2021’s Innocence & Danger.Look for NMB on tour in North America in October 2021 and in Europe throughout May/June 2022. Tour dates coming soon!

Barfield’s Romantic Logos ~ The Imaginative Conservative

For Barfield, Steiner became—and remained for the rest of his long life—“the master of those who know.” Following the work of the German Romantics—especially that of Goethe—Steiner had identified the true German spirit. Not the nihilistic spirit of Nietzsche or the totalitarian spirit of the National Socialists (the “septic disease of Europe,” Barfield noted), but rather a humane spirit that gave to the German people a dramatic and assured purpose within existence itself. Through its efforts, it came to provide a sort of “spiritual voluptuousness” that the English missed. To defeat the Nazis, Barfield wrote in 1944, the English must not only regain such a spirit, but they must pursue it throughout the post-war period of reconstruction. “I firmly believe that the question whether our own Commonwealth is to stand for something more in the history of human consciousness or is to become a hollow political shell and go the way of Nineveh and Tyre, will depend largely on the candour with which the spirit of this Island learns to open its arms to that spirit and its gifts,” Barfield warned.

What then, one must naturally ask, went wrong with English Romanticism?
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2021/05/barfield-romantic-logos-bradley-birzer.html

Big Big Train announce new album and single ‘Common Ground’

July 30th, 2021 sees the release of ‘Common Ground’, the self-produced new album from Big Big Train on their own label, English Electric Recordings. The new album, recorded during the worldwide pandemic, sees the band continue their tradition of dramatic narratives but also tackles issues much closer to home, such as the Covid lockdowns, the separation of loved ones, the passage of time, deaths of people close to the band and the hope that springs from a new love.

Watch the new video for the title track, created by Christian Rios, here:

“This is unashamedly a love song. It is about finding things that we share and have in common with other people. When my partner and I first came together as a couple, we lived not far from Avebury in Wiltshire, a very Big Big Train kind of place. The chalk hills and standing stones were part of the imagery of our ‘Folklore’ album, and once again I was writing what was literally happening in the location in which we found ourselves. I remember seeing my white chalk dust footprints upon the black of the car mats after we’d been walking around Avebury.  I’m pleased that we both get to have this time with each other and ‘Common Ground’ is about finding out the things that we have in common with each other and deciding what we want to do in life together.” – David Longdon
— Read on mailchi.mp/dc6b181db799/big-big-train-announce-new-album-and-single-common-ground

Ten Imaginative Conservative Questions ~ The Imaginative Conservative

When Winston Elliott and I first started talking about what a proper online conservative journal might look like, way back in the spring and summer of 2010, we decided on a few things. Most importantly, we wanted real diversity of opinion, not the parroting of some ideological drudgeries. As such, we wanted all schools of non-ideological thought to be able to express their views, but we were most taken with the more traditionalist forms of conservatism—especially as represented by Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More, T.S. Eliot, Willa Cather, Russell Kirk, and Robert Nisbet. We also desired for there to be real conversation, and, thus, we hoped for longish, thoughtful essays. As The Imaginative Conservative developed, the idea of an imaginative conservatism became, appropriately enough, a school of questions—all of them difficult to answer with any quick summation or hasty thinking. In an attempt, however, to provide something of a catechetical summa, here are the ten most important questions that linger to varying degrees behind every essay published over the last eleven years.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2021/05/ten-imaginative-conservative-questions-bradley-birzer.html

10 Ancient Books That Influenced Stoicism ~ The Imaginative Conservative

“A book is a word spoken into creation. Its message goes out into the world. It cannot be taken back,” Michael O’Brien warned as well as assured in his magisterial novel, Sophia House. Just as each word is a reflection of The Word (Logos), so each book is a reflection of The Book. While Christians have come to have a sort of monopoly on The Word and its greatest meaning and exemplar, others—such as the Stoics—embraced the Logos as well. And, while Christians have also come to have a sort of monopoly on The Book, others—such as the Stoics—embraced a variety of works. Here are ten books written by non-Stoics that greatly influenced Stoicism.

At the beginning of Stoic philosophy stands the first great work of philosophy itself, Heraclitus’ Fragments. In them, Heraclitus recognized and embraced (or perhaps even truly created) the notion of the Logos, the thing common to all. “For this reason it is necessary to follow what is common,” he lamented. “But although the logos is common, most people live as if they had their own private understanding.” Further, he continued, “Those who speak with understanding must rely firmly on what is common to all as a city must rely on law, and much more firmly. For all human laws are nourished by one law, the divine law; for it has as much power as it wishes and is sufficient for all and is still left over.” These ideas form the basis of Stoicism.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2021/05/10-ancient-books-influenced-stoicism-bradley-birzer.html