The Neal Morse Band, headed up by the prolific electric guitar guru himself, are set to return this year with their fourth studio album, Innocence & Danger, which will act as a follow up to 2016's The Similitude of a Dream and 2019's The Great Adventure.
Unlike their previous two efforts, however, the upcoming record will see the prog rock outfit ditch the concept album approach and will, for the first time since 2015's The Grand Experiment, feature a series of wholly unrelated songs.
The band is comprised of of bass guitar player Randy George, keys wizard Bill Hubauer, rhythm king Mike Portnoy and six-string session man and multi-instrumentalist Eric Gillette who, over the course of the band's previous three outings, has held the line as the band's lead guitarist.
With the arrival of Innocence & Danger looming, Gillette sat down with us to discuss his top five favorite guitar solos from across the years, ranging from prog epics to all-time classics.
1) Dream Theater – Home (John Petrucci)
"This song was my introduction to Dream Theater, and when I heard John’s solo, I was blown away! I was immediately hooked and that was the beginning of my journey into the world of prog! Learning this one for Mike Portnoy's Shattered Fortress tour was quite the challenge, but one of my favorites to play!"
2) Eric Johnson – Manhattan
"I have always loved Eric’s solo on this song, especially the way he plays over the chord changes – his unique phrasing, and intervallic jumps. Learning this song really expanded my approach to how I craft my own solos."
3) Toto – I Won't Hold You Back (Steve Lukather)
"This is more of a melody than a 'solo', but man, his feel is incredible. What a player! Most of the time I feel that fewer notes played with a ton of passion are more powerful than playing super-fast. Steve is a master of playing with tons of feel, but he can also shred like crazy. The perfect combo!"
4) Neal Morse – The Door (Paul Gilbert)
"Paul is incredible. Having had to learn and play this solo, I have even more respect for it and Paul. I always say learning solos from amazing guitar players is a great way to get better. I remember when learning parts of this solo, I had some 'aha' moments. A lot of things that I learned I still use in my own playing."
5) Planet X – Inside Black, Live from Oz (Tony MacAlpine)
"This album is one of my favorite live instrumental albums, along with their studio album Moonbabies. Tony’s playing is incredible. This was my first introduction to him, and I was mesmerized. His speed, sweeping, the way he plays over the changes, and his unique sound had me hooked!"
- Innocence & Danger is available to preorder now ahead of its August 27 release via InsideOut