The legend of an artist who has traveled, created and mastered performance. That is what can be heard almost instantly listening to Jeff Symonds. His latest album Riverrun is full of those years on the road, guest performances and a gig curator, all rolled in one.
Using the power of live instruments to create, Jeff Symonds takes music lightly, seriously. From where he began to where he has ended up now, Jeff makes sure you know his first and last love is music, and it’s how he expresses himself. His tracks begin with untamed energy, and close with polished panache.
A gift from the past in the present
Praising the point of incipience with Florida, Symonds rolls on with his heavy blues Van Morrison style track. With the guitars in ambient depth, his voice and story sure sticks out.
Move over with your 80’s synth album John Mayer, because A New Place makes a heavier impact. With the REO synth sound and fun lyrics, Symonds takes you for a short trip down nostalgia lane. The mixing is on point, making it almost a radio sounding track, complete with our share of cowbell.
Immediately we switch to hard rock revue Out of Here. As Symonds progresses on his journey, he makes sure his style of sound is heard, distinct and fresh. The original effects are available in this punk rock length track. Sounds like a great Stiff Little Fingers song.
Driving down Tom Petty’s memory lane, Kissimmee is a groove of it’s own. It has all the marking of a classic rock song, completed with the solo-signed, sealed and delivered. So is the next track, I Never Lie (WhenIt Comes to That). Full of travel and road trip music, it has the swing and swerve of the 80’s and 90’s you missed.
A quicker number, Shades of Grey starts with a relatively simple but catchy hook that guides you down the song. It has a fun, rock classic vibe, straight from the diaries of The Boss himself. The bassline is catchy as well. I would increase the level of the guitar for this track especially when the band comes in. Sounds like it was fading in the background.
Traversing through genres
Gracing us with the good-hearted wholesome nature of fingerstyle acoustic, Symonds treats us to Music I’ve Forgotten. Like Kissimmee, it has the same road trip style vibe that is dripping with nostalgia and a great story and experience to listen to.
The Heartbreakers seem to feature in Can’t Believe, Symonds 8th track in the album. He seems to capture entire emotions and instances with his music, a rarity given the style of music slowly wearing away. Another quick track in the style of Simple Minds, Hold On really shows what range of music knowledge and style Symonds hones. Bre
Breathe It Out Again is a groovy number with a powerful introduction and powerful lyrics. Moving on, creating memories and changing spaces is the message, with a nice swing that makes the track instantly likeable.
Opting for the acoustic gravitas of the piano with Elegy, Symonds delivers an emotional piece full of memories and experiences that have created him. It has a wonderful progression and touching lyrics.
Three Portraits is Jeff Symonds masterpiece. By just the track length you can guess this is a tale and an important track to him, with the effort taken for the layering and musicality in depth. Though it has similarities to some of his other songs, he pushes and creates a tale like Bob Dylan’s Hurricane, by the narrative. For the resounding chorus, it becomes a tad repetitive by music alone, though the lyrics make it something worth listening to, just to hear another detail.
Like Elegy, Symonds closes out with another beautiful piano based piece called Luckiest Person Alive. It is a full stop to an album that seems to play in your head forever, due to the roots in true aspects of music and the way he’s put across stories and moments from his life. Jeff Symonds has made an album that is truly himself, explaining the way he’s made his way along this journey and what he has learnt.