After years of struggle and perseverance, the Steve Palmer Band finally releases their debut CD “Apparition” on Arythmia Records. Highlighted by stellar musicians, original and inspiring music and piercing lead vocals, their music is “timeless and transcends genre” (Celebrity Café 2010). Muzik Reviews gave it a five star rating adding, “Famous rock bands don't make this kind of music anymore,” and comparing the CD to Skynyrd, Springsteen, Dylan and Tom Petty.
A ground breaking addition to the east coast rock scene, SPB carries on the proud tradition of winners like the Beatles, Led Zepplin and Chicago. They then meld the classics with contemporary trends generated by Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay and Nirvana. With a unique sound, Palmer hopes to “transcend a segregated music industry and still reach Top 40 charts.”
The single “Apparition” renews the rich widescreen pop-rock power of the 1970s for the modern zeitgeist. “Nothing To Do,” which Palmer co-wrote in England during an economic downturn, speaks to today’s hard times with enhanced resonance. “Livin A Lie” rocks with an antagonistic edge mocking those who misinterpret and ridicule those who are different. And “Living On The Streets” implores the youth to explore, understand and overcome cultural and religious differences. Throughout the CD there is an aching soul juxtaposed with a snappy soulful backbeat and gospel-inflected background vocals.
Palmer has gathered the “best players and the best hearts” and formed them into a genuine and committed band. SPB currently includes Bryan Ewald (Musical Director / Lead Guitar), Brandon Bartlett (Drums) and Josh Chapman (Bass).
SPB recorded “Apparition” live off the floor with minimal overdubs at Nashville’s Blackbird Studios, the ground zero recording facility for the city’s rock community thanks to fellow habitués like Kings of Leon and Jack White. While the CD was recorded three times and mixed six times at Cue, Sterling, Drop Trou Productions and Blackbird, Palmer has finally coerced a dynamic and contemporary sound out of multiple tiers of engineers, musicians and studios.
“Music was always a big part of my life,” says Palmer. “It says so much about people, their lives and their emotional experiences. And it always made me feel good even in tough times. I could always express myself and my observations and weave stories with my creative mind. . . just like any good writer.”
After committing himself full-time to music in 2002 and moving to Nashville in 2009, he has spent every waking hour battling fierce headwinds, writing, recording (in at least a dozen different studios), developing his band and growing a record company into a production, distribution and marketing label. Palmer currently resides outside Philadelphia where he grew up, attended Gladwyne Public Elementary School and played soccer, baseball and tennis as a kid.
In running Arythmia Records, Palmer mixes in street smarts he learned earning money working in yards, supermarkets and restaurants, founding a student paper in England, bringing student groups together to promote appearances by Dick Gregory, Chick Corea and Gil Scott Heron, working with Alderman Danny Davis on Chicago’s West Side and working for the disadvantaged in the Washington area.
Born in Denver, the SPB frontman entered his first studio at age 18. “I drew from the music I knew and loved as a kid. I grew up with bands like Steely Dan, The Beatles, the Stones, Peter Frampton and legends like Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Kansas and Billy Joel. And I learned to write from solo artists like Joni Mitchell, Dan Fogelberg, Bob Dylan, Harry Chapin, James Taylor and Usaf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens). And my biggest rhythmic influences were Yes, Led Zeppelin and Joan Armatrading, and all the great jazz artists like Stanley Turrentine, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Herb Albert, Chuck Mangione and Weather Report.”
Steve also listened to country icons like Willie Nelson, Kenny Rodgers, Dolly Parton and Waylon Jennings, just to name a few. “The first few songs I performed were ‘If I Were A Carpenter’, ‘Sunny’, ‘I Saw The Light’ and ‘Cat’s In The Cradle,’ which also got me writing stories in the different genres.”
Palmer’s first of many performances to come was in sixth grade. By junior year of high school he had made his initial solo quarter-inch reel- to-reel recordings, followed soon by studio sessions at age 18 in Plymouth, England and then Connecticut with first call New York musicians. His schooling and later work were “to keep one foot in the ‘work world’ and the other searching and writing,” Palmer explains.
He moved on to record in top studios in the Chicago area, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, Philadelphia and Nashville. “Unfortunately, no one really reached out or wanted to help and some people actually hurt us, so I just kept on recording and writing because it was something I had to do,” he explains.
In 2002, Palmer made it his 24/7 pursuit. In Nashville he found some dynamic players but he found a second group of great players and good people through his buddy Bryan Ewald. “Touring and recording was so problematic for us that I needed a group of loyal players who could roll with the punches on the road. So Bryan introduced me to Brandon Bartlett on drums and Josh Chapman on bass, both of whom I am tracking “Mirrors In Your Mind” with right now. Bryan has done a lot for me – no question about it. He’s a very giving person and a fantastic player.”
The members of The Steve Palmer Band boast blue-ribbon live and recording experience with rockers like Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad), Pat DiNizio (Smithereens), Warren Zanes (Del Fuegos), Joe Grushecky (Iron City Houserockers), The Pierces and Niles Rodgers as well as such country staples Randy Travis, Little Big Town, Restless Heart, SheDaisy, Ronnie Milsap, Lari White and Ray Price.
The group recently filmed three concerts in Nashville at Mercy Lounge, Sound Check and 3rd aVenue South, as well as a live music video at Blackbird Studio for their debut CD's title track. Clearly in it for the long haul, Steve’s indie label, Arythmia Records, distributes “Apparition”. “I didn’t want to do it this way but I had to. No one would help.”
“We're trying to bring back the best elements of music, art and culture for anyone who loves and is moved by music,” explains Palmer. As SPB hits the road in 2011 and beyond to spread its sound to every corner of the globe, Palmer is thrilled to finally share the music he has envisioned. He spent 2010 playing in front of Bob Schneider, Sister Hazel and Blues Traveler among others.
“Getting this CD out to the public is my lifelong mission,” he says. “I am very happy with it and thrilled to try to get our sound out there and finally try to move the people with strong harmonic currents.”