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“One of the area’s finest and best-loved bands.” —Rick Koster, New London Day
“Together since 1997 and as American as music comes, the Rivergods are a genre-defying collection of the ethereal, the gritty, the raw and the real.”
– Tim Malcolm, Norwich Bulletin
“The Rivergods have been a durable part of Connecticut’s richest original music community, New London, since 1997. That kind of experience will give a band time to grow and find its own way, and they have. They’re generally regarded as an Americana band, but their roots are in rhythmic, well-crafted pop music of all sorts. … They were good then, and they’re even better now.”
—James Velvet, New Haven Advocate
“There is a difference between soul music and music with soul. … Consisting of an interesting array of rock, bluegrass, country and (other) rhythms, the Rivergods are building a foundation of fans throughout southern New England. … The Rivergods have this incredible chemistry that in turn, creates incredible music.” — David Fidrych, Soundwaves Magazine
“The Rivergods know how to pull people in, keep their attention and make them listen to and enjoy things they wouldn’t expect.” —Wailingcity.com
April 2017 – Cover story on The Rivergods, Sound Waves Magazine – Read here!
Reviews of ‘State of the Union’:
“Their best release to date … ‘State of the Union’ is an album that sets up shop at the intersection of Alt Country and Roots Rock, waiting for Indie Folk to show up in her pick-up truck so they can take off together down the back roads of Americana, windows down and dust flying.” –The Metal Dad Read More
The New London Day says: “‘State of the Union’ is a fine, 12-song collection reflecting The Rivergods’ consistent but always evolving brand of roots music: harmony-teased heartland rock, modern country-folk, and bits of bluegrass and gospel. Parent is the main composer, and his work displays maturity and a weary but appreciative worldview. Too, with Nancy Brossard Parent, they exhibit a savvy skill at finding like-minded musicians to nuance his material in textural fashion. A lot of great players have been Rivergods over the years — all of whom are still friends — and the latest lineup, including keyboardist/vocalist Bil Groth, bassist Mark Gehret, violinist Dana Takaki and drummer Chris DiBiasi, is undeniably strong.” Read more
Soundwaves Magazine says “[The Rivergods] keep forging ahead as a band, and they are as relevant and entertaining as ever. ‘State of the Union’ couldn’t be more time-appropriate. It is a 12-song collection of beautifully crafted and thought-provoking pieces with precision, state-of-the-art production. Recorded at PWOP Studios in New London with award-winning producer Carl Franklin … Care is taken with every note, and Ben’s vocals let loose genuine, impassioned grit and growl. … What we’ve come to expect from these seasoned songwriters and talented musicians is prevalent here … [the album is] full of radio-ready hooky licks and memorable melody lines. Nancy takes over lead vocals beautifully on ‘Station Down the Line’ with a gentle, pleading and pleasing melody reminiscent of Neil Young. … ‘Dress Like a Poet‘ is classic Rivergods with a driving rhythm and super-fancy cascading instrumental melody lick that is very unique. [‘State of the Union’] has a BIG ENDING which, of course, leaves the listener WANTING MORE!” Read more
The Hartford Courant says: “[The Rivergods] release a great new album every three years or so. ‘State of the Union,’ this year’s model, is a collection of approachable, Heartland rock songs, with acres of harmonies … and lyrics about marriage, religion and the daily struggle to understand what’s going on in America. Acceptance is tempered with spunk and anger; the waltz-time ‘Churches’ is a song-length, fearless indictment of malicious acts — misogyny, violence, misdirection for political gain — performed in the name of religion. The brooding title track, which closes the album, channels late-’80s Neil Young rage, rolling all of ‘Union’s’ aggression up into one mighty spitball…” (Woah! Another Neil reference…) Read more
No Depression/Adobe and Teardrops says: “The most fun part of listening to ‘State of the Union’ is the Rivergods’ themselves. … They know what they’re doing and the confidence brims over on each song. But they’re not cocky, nor are they too comfortable … they just know each other’s tricks and are having a grand old time doing a good thing.” Read more
(The New London Day‘s Rick Koster and Peter Huoppi also did a podcast, celebrating ’20 years of the Rivergods’ and analyzing our evolving musical style over the years… Listen here.)
Reviews 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!
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 of “Never Grow Old”:
“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.)
Read a review of the Rivergods’ 12/30/12 Holiday Acoustic Show by Patch New London.
Take a Double Dose of Rock n’ Roll (Norwich Bulletin 9/22/11)
The Rivergods and Dogbite share a bill Friday Night at New London church hall
Two of Eastern Connecticut’s favorite bands will take the stage for a special Community Showcase Concert beginning at 8 p.m. Friday at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation in New London.
The Rivergods and Dogbite will combine for the Friday Night Folk-produced show in Unity Hall.
“It’s always great to perform at any venue that’s designed for listening,” said Rivergods founder Ben Parent, of Waterford. “… as opposed to a bar, which is fun for other reasons. It lets the songs shine, the music breathe … it allows for nuance and subtlety that you might sacrifice in a louder venue.”
The Rivergods, born in 1997, are an original roots-rock, Americana band with no definitive genre.
“I think we’ve become known for our diverse style … no two songs really sound alike, and no two performances are usually alike,” Parent said. “We have 13 years of material to draw from, and we like to mix it up from show to show.”
MIX OF SONGS
Parent said the Rivergods will play with arrangements from their own tunes, as well as throw in a cover “here and there.” But during this particular show, co-vocalist Nancy Parent is expected to debut music from her forthcoming solo album, Parent said.
The band was named Artist of the Month in May by the roots/folk website Folk-Alley.com, and the single “Buddha on the Road” from their album “Time Has Come” won the Independent Artist Communi-ty’s Best Americana song award in 2007. The Rivergods also won a New London Whalie award this year for Best Americana Band.
And what’s great is the addition of Dogbite to the concert.
“… it’s always fun to play with Dogbite,” Parent said. “We know those guys real well, and have shared many stages in the past. Expect lots of inter-band interplay.”
REVIEWS OF ‘SIGNS’ 2011:
Review of Signs by the New Haven Advocate 3/24/11:
The Rivergods, Signs (Good Sponge Records, therivergods.com). The Rivergods have been a durable part of Connecticut’s richest original music community, New London, since 1997. That kind of experience will give a band time to grow and find its own way, and they have. The Rivergods have seen a few line-up changes over the years, and they’ve supported and been supported by The Wailing City’s clubs, festivals and record labels. They’re generally regarded as an Americana band, but their roots are in rhythmic, well-crafted pop music of all sorts. The title track, “Signs,” is a perfect example of this eclecticism: country, gospel, pop and funky backbeats mix seamlessly. Ben and Nancy Parent write the band’s material, and most of the songs feature their close harmonies — Ben’s rough-edged tone, reminiscent of The Waterboys’ Mike Scott, and Nancy’s silky, Joan Baez-like sound fit together hand in glove. Underpinning a subtle mix of keys and guitars is the tight and tasty rhythm section of drummer Trevor Chandonnait and bass player Mike Palazzolo. Verses flow seamlessly into choruses and instrumental breaks, each passage getting its own fingerprint. It’s worth noting that Nancy plays pedal steel guitar in an understated manner not associated with the instrument’s usual pyrotechnics. It’s an important part of the group’s tight blend. Ben’s lyrics tend to question and prod; the unexamined life is not for him. Signs is The Rivergods’ first full-length release of new material since 2003’s Time Has Come. They were good then, and they’re even better now. —James Velvet
Check out the full review at the Sound Waves website here.
Review of Signs by WailingCity.com:
Stalwart alt-country folksters The Rivergods have been pleasing audiences with their unique blend of all things “Americana” for over 10 years. Their brand new full length Signs offering is full of everything you should expect from a word like Americana. It’s not just another day at the office though, there are moments that, if they don’t surprise you, then they’ll at least make you smile a little wider than you already were.
For all of the instrumentation on this record the sound is surprisingly sparse, not to be confused with “hollow” or “lacking”. Due to meticulous mixing and panning none of the instruments jockey for position and none of the sounds overlap or muddy each other up, a place for everything and everything in its place. This doesn’t add up to a wall of sound but it allows your ear to drift from instrument to instrument and catch sounds as they come into and fade out of the songs. A song that’s as quiet and personal as “Shallow End” most people would not play with anything but an acoustic guitar. The Rivergods took that song and used full instrumentation and by keeping everything subdued and minimal they made it even more powerful.
On the poppier side of that coin “Runaway Mind” is another tearjerker of a song set to a very choppy piano driven verse which makes it skip along so you’re hopeful rather than crawl along and make you cry in the dark. This is my vote for best song on the album. The lead guitar pop’s and chirps over Nancy’s natural and fluid vocals while the piano and bass boost her up and let her shine. The Rivergods have always been an “all inclusive” band, they know how to pull people in, keep their attention and make them listen to and enjoy things they wouldn’t expect.
The biggest surprise on Signs is the Neil Young meets Black Angels “Roadrunner Blues”. A tense psychedelic journey through the rock n’ roll desert. The clicking snare drum is a time bomb that explodes during the choruses. Guitars sneak up on you from all sides and the low distortion rolls over the whole song like a fog. This is probably the most atypical song on the record and though it may surprise some listeners it’s the song that showcases the production of the album the best.
Signs is a collection of great songs that you would have to try very hard to wear out. There is plenty of variety and nothing to push you away from it. —Adam Wujtewicz
Review of Signs by the New London Day 3/24/11:
“Signs” is a new CD – a labor of love from the Rivergods, one of the area’s finest and best-loved bands.
Recorded by world-class engineer Eddie Shea at his Underground studio in Ledyard, and featuring 10 tracks spearheaded by founding ‘gods Ben and Nancy Parent, “Signs” hits the high points of the band’s alt-country legacy and yet moves forward in fresh directions. —Rick Koster
Review of Signs by Blurt-Online (6 out of 10 stars)
“…One of the best songs the band has written to date (on Signs) is “Shallow End.” “Shallow End” fades in somewhat lazily and almost sneaks up on you. It’s the kind of summation of life wisdom you’d get when you find yourself suddenly sober after a night of trying, unsuccessfully, to drink away a bad day, week, or year. Keep your friends close, say what you mean to say while there’s still time, everything is temporary. Just a little something to think about before the fadeout.” – Nick Zaino
“Waiting for the Great Leap Forward” The Rivergods featured in No Depression Magazine
The Rivergods use their folk rock sound – Norwich Bulletin 10/14/2009
The Rivergods – Americana Embodied – Norwich Bulletin 9/3/08