CD Review: Craig Maher’s Propel

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Craig who? It’s not a name as recognizable as Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith, and technically, he’s not even a classic rock act. However, I’m including a review of this CD here not because I was paid (I wasn’t) and not because I got the CD for free (I did). It’s because it actually sounds pretty good.

I get promotional CDs and DVDs in the mail from time to time, and unfortunately, most of them are either completely unrelated to classic rock, or just something I don’t care for. In fact, it’s rare for me to get any more than 30 seconds or so into each song on most CDs I receive before they wind up in “the pile.”Craig Maher's Propel Album

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to pop Craig Maher’s new CD, Propel, into my player and have it play from beginning to end. Was I jumping up and down about it? Not quite, but it’s a lot better than most of the other stuff that shows up. Heck, it’s actually pretty good.

Interestingly, Maher describes his music as “Cosmic Contemporary” and cites influences as “the best of the 60’s and the early 70’s rock scene and its ties to Eastern music, Mysticism, and spirituality.” He also credits artists such as U2, David Bowie and Lenny Kravitz as influences.

Certainly, some of the lyrics seem true to Maher’s notion of “Cosmic Contemporary,” but at the same time, there is little doubt that you are listening to a rock album.

Maher covers quite a bit of territory even though the CD might be considered a bit on the short side with just 8 tracks. From the hard-driving rhythm of the title track to the more flowing and laid-back tempo of “Ten Thousand Dreams.”

The eastern influence mentioned earlier makes its presence known in “Where I belong,” although not in sufficient quantity to detract from the track’s rock edge. It’s a passage that reminds me of what Max Webster did with the intro on “Beyond The Moon” from Mutiny Up My Sleeve.

Yeah, I know – a lot of you are thinking, “Huh?” (See the Broaden Your Classic Rock Horizons for more on Max Webster)

It’s clear that Maher has assembled a seasoned group of musicians and engineers to back him on this album. The performances are tight, and I find the mix and engineering to my liking.

Your best bet is to simply go to Maher’s MySpace page and get a taste of his music for yourself. The sample tracks should give anyone enough to make a decision on whether or not Propel should be part of their collection.

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