James LaBrie, known internationally as the vocalist for progressive metal icons & Grammy-winners Dream Theater, embarks on uncharted waters with his fourth solo album, titled ‘Beautiful Shade of Grey’, out now! To celebrate the release, they have launched a special 30min look at the making of the album, and you can watch that now here:
James comments of the album release: “Paul, Chance, Marco and Christian.
Can you feel the magic!!!
Man, I can’t believe it’s been two years since Paul and I hooked up on this thrilling journey. Paul’s musicality and his innate understanding of what I wanted to create in making these songs what they are, is simply a whole new experience for me. Being on the same page from the moment we put this into motion and concluding with such results, I’m speechless. Seamless and enlightening, undoubtedly one of kind this beautiful human being.
Chance, working with you has been immeasurable beyond words and in no conceivable way would they do justice in conveying all I feel. I’m soaring with pride Son. You rose to the occasion and some.
Marco what a treasure you are. I am constantly reminded and humbled by your command on your respective instrument. So immense my appreciation for you.
Can’t imagine anyone else being in your integral role. You are gem. Thank you
Christian, Wow!! Knowing your style as a keyboardist, and having worked with Paul for many years, you brought exactly that.The depth, feel and soundscape surrounding these songs was so damn beautiful and on the mark, thank you!!!
Lastly, you the fans are the reason any of this exists or is a subject of conversation. I am forever indebted to your support, dedication and love. Enjoy!!”
Paul Logue adds: “Two years in the making and the day is finally here! James, Chance, Marco, Chris and I put our hearts and souls into this record, leaving no stone unturned. It shows a new side to James’ solo work with a collection of some of the most personal lyrics and songs he has written. His sense of melody and collaborative nature made writing with him an absolute joy … beautiful in fact! I have never been prouder in my musical career. Crank it and enjoy!”
Watch the recently released video for ‘Am I Right’ here: https://youtu.be/apZ0JTG91qs
The climax of the song features the gorgeous voice of Theresa Thomason, famous to Dream Theater fans for her participation on ‘The Spirit Carries On’ from the bands lauded ‘Scenes From A Memory’ concept album.
Watch the previously released video for the track ‘Devil in Drag’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwDfh5Mvd0o
Watch the previously released vide for ‘Give and Take’ here: https://youtu.be/-cxWibWBi_o
The new endeavor sees him traverse personal maturation, loss, a myriad of complex relationships, and most importantly – LaBrie’s burning passion for music. On paper, the latest studio offering from the Canadian singer first took shape shortly after the global pandemic began to emerge. But in reality, LaBrie formed a bond with his fellow collaborator, bassist Paul Logue (Eden’s Curse), nearly a decade earlier.
The two first met in 2011, when James would lend his voice to a feature for Logue’s band, UK melodic metal outfit Eden’s Curse, on the song “No Holy Man”. As years went by the two remained in touch, occasionally kicking the tires on the idea of working together on another project. But when Dream Theater performed in Glasgow during the late winter of 2020, LaBrie and Logue would run into each other at the airport – once again asking the question. But this time, armed with the knowledge that a drastic change in the world was all but imminent, LaBrie made the decision to set things in motion.
On the album, Logue plays acoustic rhythm guitar (both six & twelve string) and acoustic bass, while guitarist Marco Sfogli, who’s contributed on all of LaBrie’s solo albums since 2005’s ‘Elements of Persuasion’, handled the leads and solos. Logue recruited Eden’s Curse keyboardist Christian Pulkkinen to lend his playing on the record, while the suggestion to recruit James’s son Chance to play drums would also come from Paul. ‘Beautiful Shade of Grey’, as LaBrie describes it, was a title that only came to him once he identified the record’s two core themes throughout its track list. “A lot of these lyrics are dealing with the beauty of human beings, and a lot are dealing with the grey areas of the in between. You’re not exactly happy, but you’re not exactly sad, either.”
The record starts off (and ends) with the track “Devil In Drag”, which emerges as a wall of synthesizers and acoustic strumming before exploding into a full-blown ensemble. LaBrie expresses that the song was written about “someone who started out as a decent human being, but along the way lost touch with their roots – overtime becoming self-serving, narcissistic and devoid of principles or values.” Going on to say, “’Devil In Drag’ is written from the perspective of someone who’s known them all their life and, seeing them now, asking ‘what happened?’”