Rivers ( Vol V of The Gods The Gates and The Sweet Waters)
Roman Rhodes and the Born Again Pagans
Folk-Roots West at its World inspired best: A rich, deeply lyrical, multi-instrumented, magically unified melange of Alternative Folk, Canadian Singer-songwriter with Classic 60s Rock, Asian, Americana Country, Jazz, Pop & Blues highlights.
"Only when folk music is spiced with exotic sounds from the rest of the world does it transcend its roots and become vital again. Such is the case with Roman Rhodes and the Born Again Pagans, a band that uses folk as the first stroke of a paintbrush to realize their collage of jazz, psychedelic, and world music. There's no point in classifying them; it's best to swim in the wild waves of their [last] album The Emergent Sea and surf on the layers of visionary storytelling. " (From Jazz Corner Review of The Emergent Sea). Radio Indy said of the Pagans Music: Roman and his Pagans deliver spirited and decidedly spiritual, tunes that celebrate life and nature with a keen inventiveness, both musically and lyrically. "The Emergent Sea" offers an excellent showcase for the skills and influences of players with origins that stretch from Scotland to Japan and sundry points in between, but what ultimately makes Roman Rhodes and the Born Again Pagans' CD so effective is the cohesive, well balanced, and accessible music at its core. (Radio indy)
Jazz Times: For a band so plugged into the ‘60s, Roman Rhodes and the Born Again Pagans also feel utterly contemporary. This is mainly because Rhodes turns a blind eye to stylistic boundaries; on their latest album “The Emergent Sea,” they navigate through an assortment of varied inspirations including folk, psychedelic rock, world music, and jazz. However, the group somehow manages to stitch together their eclectic tastes in a seamless flow. It shouldn’t work but somehow the band manages to pull it off.
and All About Jazz: On the surface, Rhodes' work may recall the similarly sun-tanned acoustic pop of Jack Johnson; however, Rhodes is more adventurous and unpredictable, making listeners true believers of these Born Again Pagans. In a sense, the Pagans are the real Beach Boys because their songs truly capture the cleansing escapism provided by the surf. In a world enveloped by negativity and anger, the Pagans remind us of the beauty around us.
And of their first album RIPE: IME wrote: "A feast for the ears, mind and spirit."
RIVERS is the first out of a now in production 6 volume CD set entitled THE GODS, THE GATES AND THE SWEET WATERS. First of the SWEET WATERS couplet: RIVERS and RAINS, RIVERS delivers a decidedly more jazz-blues and world feel to the Pagan's repertoire, though all the 60s and celtic influences remain strong.
The incredible line up of musicians includes: ATSUSHI AKAZAWA: the Japan born, Celtic and Asian strings specialist from Kyoto, whose violin, bazouki, guitarlele and sanshien paying add a definite Irish music flair and Asian undercurrent to the tunes.
MORAY CRAWFORD: on Drums and percussion and harmonic. From Scotland, Moray adds a mix of celtic, Jazz and punk and traditional-rock rhythms to the album. Moray leads his own punk rock band, My-T-Hi has played in dozens of bands in the UK and Japan, including jamming with the world famous Osaka Women's band Shonan Knife.
PAUL FLEISHER: on Jazz Sax, bass clarinet, flute and piccolo. Paul is a New York city born, Japan living, Jazz musician with a number of albums to his name, has played with Joan Baez, the Doobie Brothers, Elliot Randall, and was part of the original band for broadway musical Jesus Christ Superstar. He has recorded with Kenny Barron, Bob Cranshaw and Al Foster. Again Paul's inventive and inspired winds bring both a magical 60s and sultry jazz feel to the album.
JOHN HULATON: on trumpet: Hawaiian born composer, voice actor, radio announcer, came to Japan with the Hawaiian orchestra and stayed. He has professionally composed all genres of music, but specializes in classical and jazz. Jazz Pianist Dr. Phillip Strange and Drummer Larry Marshall devoted a special filmed live tribute to his music in Osaka in 2010.
TETSUO KONDO: Bass is a regular in numerous jazz bands around the Kansai area. He add a warm and creative wood bass and driving dancing electric bass to the CD.
ROMAN RHODES: From Quebec, Canada, is the founder and songwriter for the Pagans. Over 200 songs to his name, he has written for the Canadian celtic band Orealis and professionally produced plays, and had his songs sung by choirs at the World Parliament of Relgions in Spain. Rhodes provides guitars, both electric and acoustic, guitarlele, banjo, bass and keyboards on this album. Again he fuses a wealth of influences into a complete unified whole, on his mission to bring back the concept album to new heights, and reinfuse meaning into contemporary pop music. With more powerful and distinctive vocals, this album aspires to top the Emergent Sea, with songs both accessible and unique.