Jeff Symonds Releases 'riverrun'
riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. – James Joyce, Finnegan’s Wake
Jeff Symonds steps into the spotlight for the first time with riverrun, an album that celebrates and looks back at a life lived in love with music; it’s a four-part exploration of youth, adolescence, adulthood and the glorious noise of rock ‘n’ roll. Written and performed almost entirely by Jeff, it represents his attempt to make sense of a life lived primarily from stage left. “It finally felt like the right time to gather up all the tunes and ideas that I’ve stuffed in a drawer and see if something worthwhile emerged,” said Symonds. “And after writing a dozen new songs, a narrative started to reveal itself. It’s a loose story of my life and the lives of the people around me, good and bad, from childhood to last month. I know it’s a little much to wait over thirty years to make a record and then make a concept record when you finally do, but if I’m only going to take a few at-bats, I might as well swing hard.”
riverrun features swampy Pettyish rock, throwback New Wave pop, Who-ish guitar anthems, wall-of-sound SST-laden punk rock, a whispered ballad or two, and a few other surprises. The album was brilliantly recorded and mixed by Gawain Matthews. Jeff sings and plays every instrument on riverrun with the exception of some terrific stunt guitars by friends and bandmates James DePrato, Max Delaney, and Matt Jaffe.
“Kissimmee,” the album’s first single, was co-written with longtime friend and colleague Rich Price, who also sings on the track. A lost song from Price’s All These Roads sessions, it closes side one of riverrun with a sense of optimism. “I was so glad to pull this one back from obscurity,” says Symonds. In addition to Price’s vocals on “Kissimmee,” Symonds also received help on vocals for the album’s second single “A New Place” from Megan Slankard, for whom Jeff has played bass since 2004. “Having Megan sing background vocals behind me is borderline criminal, but the track didn’t come to life until she did.”
After decades as a collaborator, Symonds is excited to have a record out with his own name on the cover. “It feels great to put something out there, and to have all of its faults be all mine.” Take a dive into riverrun and get lost in the flow.