The Rivergods “Passages” (Good Sponge Records, 2020)

The Rivergods have been creating their mix of roots, blues and country music since 1997 and have released their seventh album ‘Passages‘ in 2020.  The band’s lead singers are a married couple (Nancy and Ben Parent, also the primary songwriter) whose harmony-filled hooky songs are strengthened by the band’s varied musical styles throughout the album. The Rivergods are very popular in their local area (Connecticut, USA) and have won a number of “Whalies” (the local equivalent of Grammys) since they started out. The music on ‘Passages‘ flows easily and it is evident that this is a band who enjoy playing together and who you could picture playing outdoors in a field (whenever that may happen again).

The opening song ‘Tropical Depression‘ kicks off the record sounding anthemic and aiming for something similar to grand music like The Waterboys, and they go on to switch up musical styles throughout the album but with varied success. There are a number of songs which work well and are fun to listen to including ‘Let Me Out Lord‘ a bluesy-rootsy stomp with some honky-tonk piano and strong vocals by Nany Parent.  Two other tracks (‘Yankee Rant (Stay)’ and ‘Long Way Down’) which are rockier deserve to be played on your car stereo loudly on your next road trip.

Passages‘ closes out with the band’s first cover (Neil Young’s ‘On the Beach‘) on one of their own albums and it is given an overhaul with Nancy Parent’s vocals adding their own take on the classic.  It isn’t easy to add anything new to such a haunting song but they do themselves and the song justice with their interpretation.

A largely successful mixture of musical styles to be explored
6/10

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