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The Wizards of Winter (with TSO alumni) - 2015 News & Tour Dates
This is pretty exciting news for these guys and gals, as The Wizards of Winter have attracted the attention of and signed on with a Tier 1 Management company and a Tier 1 Booking Agency.  As the press release states: "It’s amazing how much growth the Wizards Of Winter had on their own. Now with the union of our two organizations, we plan to expand this ensemble to greater horizons on a national level.

I am a fan of this band, and it is exciting to see them grow and watch the crowds embrace them and their original music, as they grew out of their early TSO-tribute-band years. They partnered with several TSO legends over the last couple of years - some of whom have become integral parts of the band and show, released a fantastic new album, and now have partnered with some of the industry's heavyweights.  I hear that Tony Gaynor and Guy LeMonnier will both be back for the 2015 tour!  Pretty cool.

If anyone hasn't caught one of their shows yet, I urge you to if they come to your area. Tons of great original Christmas Prog-Rock material, a few TSO classics thrown in, and performances from some fantastic performers. It is a more intimate show - it might remind some of the theater years of TSO - as the music, the original Christmas story, and connecting with the audience are clearly the top priorities.

This has the press release with all of the news:

Guy LeMonnier belting it out in concert:
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That is pretty cool news - those are some industry heavyweights! Pretty cool to attract the attention of them.

I will keep on the look-out for tour dates - so awesome that some of the original TSO guys are still out there with this kind of music and show!
Was all excited to see them last year, even was lucky enough to score front row seats for their New York City show...which they then cancelled. I think it could have been the fact the show was scheduled for the same day/night TSO was playing nearby in Newark. (So I went to TSO show after all.) If they add a date and play closer to New York City proper, maybe I'll be able to see them this year. The videos I've seen online look like a great show!
Would have loved to have seen them in Orlando, but I will be out of town watching TSO in Columbia and Greenville.  Oh well, maybe next year it lines up better!
The Wizards of Winter have announced their tour schedule, and fans of Guy and Tony in particular should quite enjoy the show. Guy is one of their featured lead singers and Tony is the narrator. Though the band used to include mostly TSO music, their shows have evolved into almost all original music with a few TSO songs thrown in.

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TSO alum Tommy Farese, Michael Lanning, and Joe Cerisano have also guested with the group over the last couple of years, but Guy and Tony have become full-fledged members of the band. Guy sings lead on two songs on the band's self-titled 2014 album, and is very involved in the forthcoming release as well. The band just shot a music video for their first single from the new album that features incredible soaring vocals from Mr. LeMonnier.

As for what their shows are like, they make it clear that they are not trying to be TSO. They are inspired by them though, and the show is very similar to TSO shows from 1999-2001 with the focus squarely on the music and presenting a full Christmas concert (first and second halves being all Christmas).

I have seen them the last two years, and highly recommend their concerts. They will not blow you away with lasers, dancing girls or dragon visuals. They will entertain you with a great Christmas rock concert though, with catchy hook-laden songs, progressive-rock elements, and top notch talent on stage. Highly recommended if you are looking to add a show to your concert itinerary this upcoming season.

A commercial for their Syracuse show:

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This is good stuff. I like the TV commercial too. I am in NY but going to try and make their show at the Count Basie Theater - that's a wonderful place to see a concert. I like the idea that their entire concert is Christmas themed - I used to like it when TSO played more Christmas music in their second half.
Also - for those that haven't heard their new song - the Asbury Park Press debuted their first single ("The Spirit of Christmas" with Guy LeMonnier on lead vocals) from their forthcoming album here - it's already being hailed as the Christmas Anthem of 2015:
You obviously can't trademark a "sound", but WOW... this is the most blatant copy of TSO I have ever heard.  That's not necessarily a bad thing but I might be a little pissed if I was one of the founders of TSO.  Maybe they should have treated some of their band members better?   Smile
Hi. This is Scott from The Wizards. Thanks for the compliment...I think?? LOL.   So let me put this in context. First off, I write all the music for The Wizards and the band helps flesh out the arrangements. While I really enjoyed the early years of TSO, ( they were really something special back in the day) personally I don't find any of the new material to be even remotely creative. I think the creativity left with Kinkel. To me, the new album sounds like something thrown together to appease the label gods.  Of course, all of these statements are controversial, but they are just as I see things. Nothing more or less.  
As far as sounding like TSO, I actually don't even consider them much in my influences. I believe overall, we are more like a Styx/ Kansas  with some female vocals thrown in for good measure.  If anything, the new song you heard can be likened to "Grand Illusion" by Styx. Our instrumentation is string section....and we feature the flute to some degree. Even when you take it down to bare keys patch sounds, we are much more heavy orchestral brass and organ than TSO. When hearing from Jane, she will tell you that  just about all she plays is piano and strings.  You will also find odd meters in our material. I don't recall TSO ever doing pieces in 5/7 etc.  If you listen to the song  ' The Journey" from our last album, you will hear ELP " Tarkus" influences in the keys. Keith Emerson is my all time favorite player.  , As you have heard from the first song off our new album, besides being prog oriented, we also write with a lot of commercial hooks. What was the last hooky TSO song you heard?  Again, I am not saying what is right or which is better, just that we are very different in the end.  Lastly, I don't tend to lean as heavily on re-crafting existing holiday songs or integrating classical works. While we do some of that, it is not nearly with the same focus that TSO puts on them.  Obviously TSO is a massive success. We are not even remotely in the same league. But as I of right now, I am very excited about the new material we are about to release and the possibilities it will bring. If you boil it down in the world of holiday music, there is TSO on the high end production,everything staged to the last detail side of things.....and Mannheim Steamroller for the over 70 crowd. That leaves plenty of room for us to present our brand of music, without it impacting the others in the least. Hopefully this doesn't come off rude because that absolutely is not my intention. Sometimes the intent of written word can be misconstrued. Thanks for letting me post.
(10-20-2015, 04:18 AM)admin Wrote: You obviously can't trademark a "sound", but WOW... this is the most blatant copy of TSO I have ever heard.  That's not necessarily a bad thing but I might be a little pissed if I was one of the founders of TSO.
I'm a fan of these guys, and I agree to a certain extent. They obviously have been influenced by TSO - they after all were huge TSO fans and started out as a TSO tribute band - and yes, they work with many former TSO performers. But I don't hear them as a copy. Especially not this new song - the songs that TSO put out there that were this catchy and hooky are few and far between, imho.

But even if you hear them as a copy, I agree that it is not a bad thing. Their self-titled album released last year gets as much listening time with me as the TSO classic Christmas albums - and I expect this new one to fit right in there as well. If TSO is done making great Christmas music, I am glad these guys are doing it just as well.

(10-20-2015, 04:18 AM)admin Wrote: Maybe they should have treated some of their band members better? Smile

I agree.

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