How quickly time flies. Renaissance, the symphonic progressive rock legends who started in England and became American, are releasing “50th Anniversary – Ashes are Burning – an Anthology – Live in Concert with The Renaissance Chamber Orchestra.”

It's a Blu-ray/DVD/2CD set of the 50th anniversary Concert at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pennsylvania. The event was performed Oct. 12, 2019, featuring their own 10-piece Renaissance Chamber Orchestra and with special guest Renaissance co-founder Jim McCarty.

Among the band's most popular songs are their 1978 British top 10 hits "Northern Lights," "Mother Russia," "Carpet of the Sun" and "Ashes Are Burning." Their most popular performer and lead singer, Annie Haslam, called into my show on New Jersey 101.5 on Tuesday night, May 25, to talk about it.

What is your favorite NJ memory/story?

"We played a convention hall, I think [The Asbury Park Convention Hall]. And I remember we were doing a sound check. And one of the roadies came on stage, shouted over, or somebody did, 'oh, somebody's just heard that your song Northern Lights is being played on Radio 1.' Radio 1 then was the main national radio station.

You and both had a common friend in Philadelphia disc jockey Ed Sciaky who passed away in 2004, what's your favorite Ed Sciaky memory?

"He was a special man, wasn't he," Haslam said when she called into the show. "No other voice like that...he was my concert buddy...we played the TLA, no, something like that in Philadelphia, whatever. And instead of going back to the hotel, because I was so friendly with the family, I went back to their house. I remember, I think the guest room for some reason wasn't available, I don't know why I can't remember, cause it was a big house. I ended up sleeping on the trundle bed, I'd never heard of it in my life before."

Talk to me about the new release.

"It actually started in 2017 with the orchestra thing...why don't we call our agent and we don't we see if we can put our own orchestra together, a smaller one. And he knew all the guys. Some of them are in the New York Philharmonic and some of them are great jazz musicians as well. So he knows a lot of people in the New Jersey and New York area. And so he found 10 musicians and that's what we did, we put the 10 musicians together. Brilliant, brilliant musicians it's like going out with a 16 piece band...we called out agent and said 'this is what we want to do.'"

What’s next for Renaissance and when are you coming back to NJ?

"We lost 2 years of work which was kind of upsetting. More than anything we lost the momentum that we built up over the years since we got back together in 2009...the plan is that next year we want to do a tour, whether it's our last, I don't know. I can't go on forever."

To get  “Renaissance 50th Anniversary – Ashes are Burning – an Anthology – Live in Concert with The Renaissance Chamber Orchestra,” click here.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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