Get this crazy baby off my head!


Simon Apple

Simon Apple - River To The Sea - 2004 - Trunk

Prolusion: "River to the Sea" is the second full-length studio album by Pennsylvania's SIMON APPLE. Their first, "From the Toybox", was released in 1998, and next year the outfit's original lineup undergone some changes. The singer John Feldmann left the band because of his inability to tour with his newfound family responsibilities and was replaced with Dan Merrill. Simon Apple often donates their time by playing at the annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Valentine Gala held each February in their native state. A portion of the sales of their new album will be donated to the Foundation as well. Analysis: Just by the look of the lineup on "River to the Sea", i.e. before listening to the album, any experienced Prog lover would have faultlessly guessed that this is solid material, regardless of what it's about stylistically. The band spent several years creating it, and their effort was not wasted. This is really a grandiose show and is an exceptionally pleasing listen, because the music and the arrangements, just everything was thought out even to the smallest details. The sound is elitist and is a true art in itself. Although guitarist and keyboardist Jeff Miller, alone or along with his band mates Buzz Saylor and Dan Merrill, penned nearly all of the tracks, the guest musicians' contribution to the album is quite appreciable. A few of them were in Pink Floyd's cohort on the band's latest studio outputs: "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" and "The Division Bell". Having initially perceived this fact as another significant sign, just by association, I didn't miss with my presupposition about the album's prevalent style, too. No, please don't think that Simon Apple is one of the open Pink Floyd followers, like Solar Project, for instance (whose music I also like, though). This is an honest and really huge band, whose creation has nothing in common with anyone's save stylistic similarities, which, though, are always inevitable in the presence of benefactor. Conventionally, the album can be divided into three parts, being separated from each other by the two instrumental landmarks: A Way Outside and The Weight Is On (5 & 9, no other instrumentals here), the first of which marks the change of the prime style, and the other the return to it. To me, the music in the first and the third parts as if unfolds the way that Pink Floyd could have moved on to after "The Division Bell" if they'd have gotten rid of some cliches and were about to recommence creating acoustic guitar pieces, as they did before Roger Waters' departure. So on most of the tracks on the implied territories we have what classic symphonic Space-Art-Rock of the '70s has transformed into during the next two decades (when the 'spacey' component was almost lost), with mostly intensive arrangements, diverse instrumental parts, lots of truly memorable themes and solos, and naturalistic sounds-effects in some in-betweens. There is one exception, however. On the longest track on the album, the largely instrumental Weight of the World, the band is extremely adventurous, entering territory that most of the genre's other units never ventured into. Art-Rock, Space Metal, Classical music-like interludes, quasi-Jazz-Fusion and more: its stylistic diversity is inseparably linked with the band's excellence in everything, which concerns music, though their latter value is evident everywhere on the album. As for the songs with acoustic textures in their basis, by these very textures, and also atmospherically, Katherine and Hold Me resemble Hey You and Wish You Were Here, and the short A Reason Why the opening track of "The Wall". The most unique and intricate music is presented on the four tracks in the middle of the album: from highly eclectic authentic Jazz-Fusion on A Way Outside, A Way Inside, and Significance to just a brilliant combination of quasi-Jazz-Fusion and a raw, dark Prog-Metal on the rather long Taken Root. With plenty of brass and piano improvisations, these compositions have probably more than a full-fledged band sound, like being performed by a small Rock orchestra, which, though, is true as a matter of fact. There is also one bonus track, the single edition of the amazing Weight of the World. It's twice shorter than the original, with all the 'subsequent events'. So the inclusion of it in the album was unnecessary. Conclusion: The release of Simon Apple's "River to the Sea" is a major event, as this is a really major album, by all means, and is worthy of a platinum status, which it would have definitely received if it were released at least in the '80s. Nevertheless, this ace of trumps will be on firm ground in the pack of cards of contemporary Progressive. Only those exclusively into highly complicated music may remain cold about it. © VM: November 9, 2004 © http://www.progressor.net/review/simon_apple_2004.html

In the same way that a new album release from bands like Blue Nile or Steely Dan is always a cause for celebration, so is the case with the fabulously talented Simon Apple. It’s amazing how this band remains invisible to so many music critics. This album is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Guest artists include bassist Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, John Lennon), guitarist Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult), saxophonist John Helliwell (Supertramp), cellist Hugh McDowell (Electric Light Orchestra), bassist Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny Group), and trumpeter Dave Stahl (Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick, Jr.). Buy the band’s “From the Toybox “ album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 157 Mb]


1. Leap of Faith 3:46
2. Weight of the World 8:03
3. The Colors in Between 4:41
4. Hold Me 4:40
5. A Way Outside 1:12
6. A Way Inside 3:49
7. Significance 3:34
8. Taken Root 6:33
9. The Weight Is On 0:59
10. Take My Life 5:10
11. For Every Loss 5:46
12. Katherine 4:46
13. A Lot of Hope 4:49
14. A Reason Why 0:48
15. River to the Sea 4:47

All tracks composed by Jeff Miller & Buzz Saylor, except Tracks 4, 12, 13 by Dan Merrill, & Track 10 by J. B.Dykes & Francis Ridley Havergal

N:B: This original CD issue does not include any bonus tracks


Dan Merrill - guitars, lead vocals
Jeff Miller - lead guitars, keyboards, vocals
Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser - guitar (7)
Tony Levin, Steve Rodby, Stefan Pizzuto - bass
Buzz Saylor - drums & percussion
John Helliwel, Dave Miller - saxophone
Dave Stahl - trumpet
Hugh McDowell - cello
John Feldmann, Deirdre Masapollo, Johannah Mackin - backing vocals


"Simon Apple brings together a rare mix of influences with great writing and classy musicianship. Running from sophisticated "progressive" rock, to appealing pop, to articulate singer-songwriter material, they are likely to surprise you with the ease in which they move seamlessly between them. While many groups may have some difficulty translating such music from the studio into live performance, Simon Apple brings all the sheen of their CDs to the stage, while also launching into great jams!" - George Graham (WVIA- FM radio host; Wilkes-Barre/Scranton). Simon Apple is a band of world-class musicians, with radio chart acclaim, award winning CDs, and sold-out performances, that have been favorably compared to the likes of Sting, Peter Gabriel, Steely Dan, Genesis, Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Hornsby, and John Mayer, creating a sound that is uniquely "Simon Apple". Simon Apple's latest release, ‘River To The Sea’, yielded their first U.S. Top 10 single in December of 2005 - 'Hold Me [Like A Lover]’, reached #10 on the Adult Contemporary FMQB chart. The album features Grammy-winning engineer David Leonard (Paul McCartney, Prince, Rush), and a stellar list of guest musicians, including: Tony Levin (Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, King Crimson), Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult), John Helliwell (Supertramp), Hugh McDowell (Electric Light Orchestra), Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny Group), and Dave Stahl (Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick, Jr.). River To The Sea has received critical acclaim worldwide, including 4 nominations in the 2006 Just Plain Folks Awards: Best Contemporary Song (‘Hold Me’), Best Rock Song (‘Leap Of Faith’), Best Rock Album (‘River To The Sea’), and winning Best Male Vocalist (Dan Merrill). [Nominations were selected from over 25,000 albums and 350,000 songs worldwide.] Rooted in the Philadelphia area, co-founders Jeff Miller and Buzz Saylor, invited Portland, Maine, singer/songwriter, Dan Merrill, to join the band prior to River To The Sea, with intentions of writing material that combined their favorite elements of pop, rock, and jazz, coupled with positive, hopeful, spiritual, thought-provoking, and sometimes humorous messages. Prior to Merrill, Simon Apple released their first single, ‘It's Over’, taken from their debut CD ‘From The Toybox’. In April 1998, "It's Over" climbed to #21 nationally on the Adult Contemporary Gavin chart. By late summer, their second single, ‘A Boy Like Me’, reached #29, and the seasonal single, ‘Scenes Of December’, hit #43. Rounding out their current discography is a 2 CD set of pre-Toybox material, ‘Archives’, and 2 live ‘Official Bootleg’ CDs released in 2005. Simon Apple has been invited to perform at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia for Billy Joel three times, Elton John twice, Bruce Springsteen, Cher, Creed, Depeche Mode. They have performed to crowds of 65,000, in small intimate acoustic venues, and all points in between - receiving rave reviews along the way. Simon Apple also performs at numerous Cystic Fibrosis events, and donates a portion of every sale of River To The Sea to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - forever... until there is a cure. © http://www.sonicbids.com/2/EPK/?epk_id=95975#bio

1 comment:

A.O.O.F.C said...


P/W is aoofc