Steve Palmer Band’s ‘Apparition’ A Pleasant Surprise

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This is one of those instances where the subject matter strays away from what we normally consider “classic rock” and more towards what I like to call “contemporary classic rock.” For those of you who are unfamiliar with that reference, I use it to classify groups that sound as though they might have formed back in the 70’s or 80’s, but are actually contemporary bands.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I occasionally receive promotional copies of albums for review prior to their release. Unfortunately, most of what I receive appears to have been sent by promoters who have no idea that this site is about classic rock, and I get quite a few albums by contemporary groups that bear no resemblance to classic rock, and frankly, some that sound more like noise than music.

The most recent arrival landed in my mailbox about three days ago. I had never heard of the Steve Palmer Band, and I braced myself as I placed the CD in the player. Expecting the worst, I was actually pleasantly surprised after just a few short minutes listening to this new album. What’s even more surprising is that I listened to the entire album two or three times, and have listened to it a number of times since.

I think we’re all quite accustomed to comparisons to well-known artists when reading reviews of new artists, but fortunately the internet makes comparisons far less important these days. In many cases, potential fans can get a taste of a new artist’s material directly from a number of sources that are only as far away as their computer or smart phone.

With influences such as Kansas, Yes, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and James Taylor, it’s not hard to see why the group’s sound has that classic feel to it. The up tempo tracks have plenty of energy, but at the same time, they don’t quite cross the line into what I would consider “heavy.” More akin to Bad Company or Foreigner than to groups like Kansas or Rush, for example.

“Getting this CD out to the public is my lifelong dream,” Palmer says. “I am very happy with it and thrilled to try to get our sound out there and finally play in front of people.” If my impression is any indication, a lot of potential fans will also be very happy to discover this new group.

The Nashville-based group plans to embark on a cross-country tour following the release of Apparition on April 20th.

My personal favorites from this new album are the first track, “Living on the Streets” and the number seven track, “I Think I’m Falling in Love,” which brought to mind the work of Rush’s Alex Lifeson, thanks to the minor-key rhythm guitar work.

I’m no Simon Cowell, but I think this new act has a bright future ahead of them. Exhibiting just the right mix of classic style and commercial appeal, I think they will be well received by fans of genuine, old-style rock and roll.

You can read up more on the Steve Palmer Band on their website and check out a few select tracks from the new album on their MySpace page.

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