Revolution of One
Singer/songwriter Rob Seals enlists some high-profile musical guests for his debut solo release. Guests include members of Vertical Horizon, Bruce Hornsby's band, and Evan Olson's band. Groove-driven guitars provide the framework for heady lyrical concerns in eleven songs on this CD. The record features 'Generation Why,' an exploration of generational identity in the wake of a rock star's suicide. The song won BMI's Mid-Atlantic Song Contest for Best Progressive/Alternative Song. 'Well-crafted, expert, radio friendly, smart pop! [it has] Paul Simon's clever musical conversationality downpat.' - (ESP Magazine) Awarded 2001 Male Singer/Songwriter ALBUM OF THE YEAR by Just Plain Folks among it's 13,000 members internationally. The most recent published review, fall 2001, in IndieMonkey by UK freelance writer Andrew Ellis: It is perhaps entirely appropriate that Rob Seals' press biography not only lists his notable achievements as an independent musician, but also details his career as an English teacher. Because on 'A Revolution of One', Seals demonstrates that music and education are strongly bound together. Most of Seals' superbly written, performed and produced songs deal with personal and collective lessons learned, intertwining thought-provoking, intelligent lyrics with a strong sense of melody, and the fact that various members of Vertical Horizon and Evan Olson's band help out on numerous tracks speaks volumes about his talent. The title track is one such song to benefit from the contributions of Vertical Horizon's Ed Toth and demonstrates exactly what Seals' music is all about with a distinct Paul Simon influence and a pinch of the Dave Matthews band sound. Already it's clear he isn't shy to tackle strong lyrical concerns and this is reaffirmed on the excellent 'Generation Why', exploring the labeling of the so-called Generation X. Despite the weighty content, the songs are undeniably melodic which makes the presence of an artist with something interesting to say even more welcome. Nowhere is this more evident than on the infectious jangle pop of 'Jenny Millennium', the stop-start rock-pop of 'In Our Time' and the acoustic pop of 'The Key'. The depth of Seal's music is a trademark of the whole album, and the detailed picture of relationships painted in 'Savannah and Japan' or the pastiche of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in 'Count The Ways' is a fairly good indication that Seals is a cut above songs about booze, girls or nights out with the guys. Diversity is the key word here, and some Clapton-esque bluesy acoustics on closing track 'Me Back Here' mix effortlessly with the folky ballad 'A Prayer At Sea'. But the standout track amongst a whole collection of gems is 'A Few Repairs', a rootsy, melodic tune that demonstrates a lyrical tangent reminiscent of Mary Chapin Carpenter's brilliant 'This Shirt': 'This car drives me crazy/worn tires losing air/it breaks down but then we all do/I could stand a few repairs'. Some great guitar work and a neat structure give the song the same impact as it's illustrious cousin, and demonstrates enough talent to suggest Seals could follow Carpenter into the mainstream arena very soon. Even though I'm sure such success is a goal of his, it's obvious that Seals has entirely different priorities for his music. However clichéd it may sound, Seals is more concerned with the message of his music rather than the reward it can bring and that's a lesson worth remembering in the hollow pop landscape of 2001.