Get Ready To Be Revived -By Michael Morsch
SpringHouse Revival is the songwriting team of lyricist/producer/arranger Gordon Glantz and composer/vocalist Terri Camilari.
Their aesthetic is built on the core belief that words need music to come alive and that a well-constructed tune needs the right words to create original material with resonance.
Glantz, though into the classic rock of his older cousins at a young age, was instinctively intrigued by lyrics and their deeper meaning.
With a voice that “would make Johnny Rotten sound like Caruso,” Glantz fronted some garage bands in high school and college, before deciding to play to his strengths and hone his songwriting skills. He eventually transitioned over to journalism and made his living as an award-winning writer of sports, news and political commentary.
Camilari grew up “surrounded by music.” Whether it was Gershwin or Steely Dan, the Mills Brothers or Joni Mitchell, she always had an appreciation for all genres. She spent her early years as a vocalist, singing wherever she could find an opportunity – at church, school productions, around the campfire, on family trips, etc.
That led her to pursue a career on stage, and she earned a degree in theater from DeSale University. While choosing a career in education, she stayed involved in music by learning to play guitar and composing. While teaching, she continued singing professionally.
Meanwhile, on the other end of Northeast Philadelphia, notebooks upon notebooks full of lyrics provided the foundation to Gordon’s first garage band, The Last Wave, which took on water early on and sank without making much of a splash.
Friends, during their college days, Glantz (Blue Bell, Pa.) and Camilari (Lansdale, Pa.), reconnected on Facebook and shared thoughts on where music may have taken them. Glantz sent some lyrics and Camilari tried her hand at putting them to music. From there, SpringHouse Revival was born.
Their long-awaited debut CD, which has been three years in the making, is titled “Return to Nothing” and has 14 original songs, featuring fan favorites “You Won Me At Hello (Bye Goodbye)” and “Prayin’ Kind.”
They enter the musical world with the goal of getting air play as a new act while also marketing their songs to other artists.
They started recording with Glenn Barratt at Morningstar Studios (East Norriton, Pa.), with the idea of putting a collection of songs together for other artists but the project grew larger.
The new release has a mainstream folk-rock feel, kind of a Joni Mitchell meets Crosby, Stills and Nash and The Eagles and a hint of Creedence Clearwater Revival. It features top-tier local studio musicians - Grant MacAvoy (Philly International Records) on drums, Tom Hampton (Marshall Tucker Band, Pure Prairie League) on guitar and mandolin and Michael Ronstadt (Ronstadt Generations) on cello.
Said MacAvoy: “Terri and Gordon have merged the best of two worlds -- Terri's use of contemporary musical nuance entwined with the tradition of classic rock and Gordon's lyrical insight of an individual's journey overlaid with a social protest of the highest order. The stylist approach to each song was a mining of ‘feels,’ to marry the appropriate musical interpretation to the lyric. Nothing was left untried in this artistic endeavor to find the best fit. I think they were successful.”
Key tracks include first-person dirges about the Holocaust (“Tell Me Why”), drug abuse (“My Son”), both of which feature Larry Zelson on Viola, that are balanced by the driving “Come On With It” and the mainsteam pop-rock sound of “(They’re Gonna) Spin You, Baby.”
Barratt, who said it was “inspiring” working with the duo: “Reflecting back to the great radio stations of the 1970s, this group spans multiple genres with infectious hooks and passionate sincerity, and the combination of words and music brings to mind everything you loved about your favorite songs through the ages.”
Other songs – “Stumblin’ On The Run” and “’Til I See The Sun” and “Silent Witness” and “Heart On My Sleeve” – have a heartland rock feel that would be pleasing to the ear of fans of John Mellencamp or Bob Seger.
The title track -- as well as the likes of “Voice Of My Heart” and “Silence of Peace” and “Chameleon” - are in the vintage introspective singer-songwriter tradition of the early 1970s.
As critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Lizanne Knott noted, “(SpringHouse Revival) is bringing a fresh perspective to the folk era” adding that there is “something here for everyone to enjoy.”
Gordon draws from a variety of lyrical influences, with Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen topping a list that includes U2’s Bono, REM’s Michael Stipe, Peter Gabriel, Natalie Merchant, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, Steve Earle and many others ranging from punk to folk to country.
“Gordon and Terri have a creative empathy reminiscent of some of popular music’s great songwriting teams,” said Hampton, after a recent session for the group’s second CD. “Their songs are both unique to their own experiences and universal to the human condition.
“You should check them out.”
-By Michael Morsch