River to the Sea
Review by Gary Hill
So many people these days give lip service to this charity or that, but you really have to admire the people who put their money (literally) where their mouth is. Such is the case with Simon Apple as they are donating a portion of the sale of each CD to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. So, they get points for helping out a good cause, but how is the album? The answer can be summed up with two words - "very good". In fact, this is definitely one of the best progressive rock albums to be released in 2004. Simon Apple's particular brand of prog features a lot of jazzy textures, catchy melodies and great vocals. This is not the overly technical, million notes in a song variety of prog, but in fact the more "song" oriented style that in many cases produces stronger material than the other type.
The guys in Simon Apple (Dan Merrill, Jeff Miller and Buzz Saylor) have produced a truly memorable and enjoyable musical excursion. They have even enlisted the help of quite a few notables, most prominently Tony Levin and Buck Dharma. Dharma provides lead guitar and the solo on "Significance" and Levin lends his immense bass talents to "Weight of the World" and "Hold Me". The only complaint I have with the album is that (at least for my tastes) at times the Christian themes can be a bit hard to take. Still, musically this one is incredible.
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.