‘Never Grow Old’ reviews

The reviews are rolling in! Listen and download your copy of Never Grow Old

Soundwaves Magazine April 2014
The Rivergods “Never Grow Old”
Good Sponge Records

When I was asked the review this disc, I thought, “Four songs…what’s to review?” Then I heard it and felt a bit differently. All four songs were written by lead vocalist, Ben Parent, who also plays lead and rhythm electric guitar, various acoustic guitars, dobro, banjo and harmonica. This CD has continuity, yet, each song has it’s own personality. The common thread is the quality of the writing, instrumentation and arrangements. Let me not forget the integrity of Ben Parent’s voice, that is beautifully complimented by his wife and musical partner, Nancy Parent.

“When Times Were Good” opens this disc sounding as though it was being played on an old recording player, with acoustic guitar and accordion, then the entire band kicks in. This songs has a hook that goes inside your ears and makes itself at home. The first time I heard this song, I found myself singing it throughout the day. Although I could not identify with, “champagne…in buckets” and/or “Mercedes,” (plural) I think most all of us who are over thirty…and even more if you’re a little older, will identify with the sentiments of the closing chorus of this song: “When will the times be good again?”

Track two, “The Curse,” starts with unbridled energy…drums blazing, a scream, and commanding guitar riffs! The lyrics have an evolution to them, “There is pain, where there is pain there is the curse, where there’s the curse there is the truth…” This evolution reflects the cover design (visible at http://therivergods.bandcamp.com). The words of this song are somewhat cryptic, as they are in the third, and title cut, “Never Grow Old” and fourth and final tune, “Rush Hour.” It’s obvious that Ben Parent has a poet’s soul, leaving some things to the listener’s imagination.

The title track “Never Grow Old” begins on a mellow, Bob Dylan-esque note with acoustic guitar and harmonica. This tune is a particular treat to listen to thru headphones, as the acoustic guitar intro enters softly in your right ear, then the sound of the organ slowly swells in your left ear, joined by the harmonica, electric guitar and drums. Here again, the chorus is contagious! “I’m not gonna try and tell you it’ll be alright, ‘cause it won’t. So never grow old, never slow down. Never say when, you won’t always be around. And when you’re flying high, may you never come down. When your ship sets sail, may it never run aground!” The lyrics of the verses are embellished with allegories. The solos are tastefully woven into the center of this tune. Ben Parent starts off on electric guitar, followed by harmonica, and an organ solo punctuated with drum stops. As a person who is facing the impending “sunset” of my life, I was particularly struck by the lyrics of the final chorus of this track, “They like to say that youth is wasted on the young, ‘cause it is. So never grow old, never slow down.” With these sentiments in mind, this song was a great choice for the title track!

The final track, “Rush Hour,” parades the poet Ben Parent is. The lacy acoustic guitar intro fills both ears. The hook positions itself between equally flowery electric guitar and organ as the rhythm section joins in. The chorus, “Rush hour’s the wrong time for a scenic drive,” sits between verses with cryptic messages. The solo portion is subtle, featuring Nancy Parent on pedal steel guitar, which is also present throughout this song like a hauntingly sweet spirit. The final chorus fades out with all the instrumentation floating gently into the air.

I truly enjoyed this recording. I understand that it is an EP, but, all I have to say, in conclusion, is that I wish it was longer. It left me wanting more!

Unsung heroes:
Nancy Parent: acoustic guitar, pedal steel, vocals
Dan Spano: organ, piano, accordion, Wurlitzer
Mike Palazzolo: bass, vocals
Trevor Chandonnait: drum kit
David Dorfman: baritone sax

—Ms. Marci Hooper (Sound Waves Magazine)

Other reviews:

Blood on the Tracks-era Bob Dylan and Harvest Moon-era Neil Young in a poppy, less guitar centric, package … Ben and Nancy Parent both have wonderful voices that work incredibly well together … 60’s folk rock and pop influence mixed with a more modern tonality, song structure and recording techniques …  It’s channeling your forefathers through the lens of your own life and experience.” —Wailingcity.com  (Read the full review here.)

“Beckons with wise words, memorable melodies, and a five-piece ensemble sound that makes listeners rock in their seats … Parent’s lyrics pack that hard-to-find combination of power and poeticism. Nancy Parent’s harmonies, as always, elevate the vocals … a timely and yet timeless arrangement of music and words that will never grow old.” —Userloseit.wordpress.com  (Read the full review here.)