JRS Wings of Gold

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JRS Spank Your Inner Monkey

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Wings of Gold      Wings of Gold was written and performed by myself and percussionist David Beardsley. Dave and I are both progressive rock fans. However, for this project we tried to temper our progressive rock leanings with some of the straight-forwardness of modern rock. We sought to achieve a paradox--create songs that are accessible to a broad audience, yet are still challenging to play for the musician. I think we achieved some measure of success in this. The songs on Wings of Gold are exciting and memorable, and still allow us to stretch as musicians.

      The remainder of this page contains audio clips, links for purchasing Wings of Gold, and excerpts from the many positive reviews the album has received. I hope you give the music a listen. And, as always, I welcome your comments!

Wings of Gold Available for Digital Download

     JRS - Wings of Gold is now available as a digital download! Below are direct links to ITunes, Rhapsody, EMusic, and MSN Music.

ITunes iTunes US
Rhapsody RealNetworks
EMusic eMusic
MSN Music MSN Music

You can now order your copy of Wings of Gold (and my other albums!) directly from CDBaby, using the order form below:

Get JRS music today from CDBaby!

      Wings of Gold is also available online at these fine music stores: Fossil Records, Guitar Music 9, Dream Disc, Musicdude, and CD Palace. All the online stores offer secure (encrypted) credit card transactions. If you are uncomfortable with online transactions, all the stores also allow you to purchase by phone, fax, or mail.

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MP3 Files

Intro

Living


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Excerpts from Wings of Gold Reviews (most recent reviews listed first). A note about the reviews: Many are written by reviewers whose first language is not English. I admire and respect them for translating their reviews into English, so if you see some slightly strange sentence construction and grammar, please forgive them. Consider how you would do if you had to write a review in Portuguese!

From Flash Forward - MP3.COM Radio Station, May 2000. Review by Loren 'Lo' Woods:

Jeffrey's music brings to mind several things. "Intro" reminds me of how much I enjoyed the Billy Cobham, Tommi Bolin collaboration on Spectrum. The same tune gets "The Dregs" going through my thoughts. In the song featured here I thought I heard a banjo . . . got me thinkin' about Bella Fleck. It probably wasn't a banjo, just Smoots going about his clever manipulations of guitar sounds I would imagine. Through all of the instrumentals I hear Neil Peart playing drums although I know it's not him. I hear Gambali like arpeggios, 7/4 timing and all kinds of interesting stuff. Jeffrey's tunes leave your imagination running wild. Which is exactly what instrumental music is supposed to do . . . right?

From Krepuskulum Underzine Online - Brazil, December 1999. Review by Edgar Franco:

      "One-man-bands are sources of its mentors' virtuosity, here it is very different; Jeffrey Ryan Smoots knows the difference between virtuosity and feeling in his progressive rock. With influences of hard rock, if it is not innovative, at least it is very well built. The references are 'Asia', 'Europe', 'Whitesnake' and 'Stryper'. Most incredible is that Smoots just has as company the drummer David Beardsley, and yet this way gets an amazing acting with the guitar, drums and keyboards. Besides his vocal is inserted perfectly in the proposal of the band. The letters are varied, some speak about love, another of space travels. The music is full of feeling, with refrains very well built, see pearls as 'Homeland' and 'Never Never Land'! Wings of Gold is an extraordinary album for the lovers of the style."

 

From Gajoob, October 1999. Review by Craig Conley:

      "Supported by David Beardsley on percussion, Jeffrey Ryan Smoots provides the vocals, guitar, bass, and keyboard on the album 'Wings of Gold.' Smoots crafts radio-friendly rock songs which sound for all the world like they're being played by a five-man band. With this much talent and energy, there must be some extra to go around...if not for fellow musicians then for the next JRS album. Most often compared to bands like Rush, Queensryche, and Dream Theater, Smoots explains that for 'Wings of Gold' he and percussionist David Beardsley 'tried to temper our progressive rock leanings with the straight-forwardness of pop and hard rock. We sought to achieve a paradox--create songs that are easily understood by the listener, yet are still challenging to play for the musician.' The resulting intricate guitar work and finely-crafted progressive rock songs do not disappoint. My only suggestion is that Smoots' excellent vocals be brought even more into the forefront of the music."

 

From Amp Music, October 1999:

      "Mental metal from Jeffrey Ryan Smoots, an obvious fan of Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen. 'Intro' is reminiscent of the latter's warp 9 take on Paganini, while 'Living' layers stabbing, Bon Jovi-style synths under the guitars and impassioned vocals. 'Pound' gives David Beardsley a few seconds to shine on percussion before the grinding guitars start up, while 'Change' has some nice electro-acoustic 12-string and elsewhere there are a few decent harmony vocals and string pads. Mostly it's blazing guitar time though, and none the worse for that, and there's a big thanks to Spinal Tap on the sleeve. Enough said..."

 

From Jurriaan Hage Homepage, October 1999. Review by Jurriaan Hage:

      "...The music is quite accessible...'Fade' is a driven rock song with vocal harmonies. All in all I'm not reminded of any band or musician in specific, but the music may remind you of a heavier version of Styx, Rainbow or a more melodic version of King's X (but without the Beatles influence). In any case, this is the direction in which to think. The music is clearly very song directed...'Homeland' is a more symphonic piece: more bombastic and referring to recent progmetal. I like that opening melody, but I'm not fond of the chorus. The instrumental guitar part in the middle is thoroughly enjoyable though. From melodic hard rock we seem to go more and more into the direction of progmetal, not the fast, but more the heavy kind. The songs are of surprisingly high level and also the guitar playing is not too standard. 'Change' opens with acoustic guitar, but becomes a rock song anyway, consistently loud. No ballad yet. 'I Know' opens slowly, but heavily. Again, much attention was paid to finding a good vocal melody to erect the song upon. 'Never Never Land' is certainly less "catchy", but the catchiness returns in 'Natural Disaster'. I'm not fond of the rather prominent chorus, but the guitar riff is a good one. 'V' is a love song, a somewhat desperate one, with a lone guitar and doubled vocals. The rock returns with 'Find A Way' and the album ends with the heavy riffs of the mid-tempo 'Wings Of Gold'...The songs are all-important on this album, which to me seems a typical example of melodic hardrock to come from the U.S.: harmonies, tight, and not too much into atmospherics and not at all into high screaming vocals. If you liked Platypus, King's X or are into heavy AOR or don't mind your progmetal NOT to be accompanied by quick arpeggios and high pitched vocals, this might be a place to lay your ear to listen."

 

From Strutter'zine, August 1999. Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem:

      "...There are some good songs on this record. Such as [the] opener 'Living', a good midtempo melodic AOR rocker with some impressive vocals of Jeffrey that remind me of the new FAITH NATION vocalist. Even the song has a little FAITH NATION vibe to it. Next track 'Fade' is also very melodic, an almost AOR sounding uptempo rocker that has some great harmony vocals during the chorus. These first two songs show that Jeffrey can play some good music. 'Never Never Land' and 'Natural Disaster' are also more techno progressive based, while still having very melodic vocals and choruses that sound really well. The best track of the whole CD to me is 'V' which is without any of those hi-tech influences, and is just a very good melodic AOR ballad that sounds relaxing, calm and has some superb lead vocals. If it was up to me, I would have rather heard some more of such ballads of Jeffrey. Nevertheless, this CD contains some good material that is recommended to a fan of Melodic Rock with some light Progressive influences. (Points: 7.5 out of 10)."

 

From Progression Magazine, Issue 30, 1999. Review by James Bickers:

      "Great songwriting, great guitar work, and fantastic vocals."

 

From Heady Metal, June 1999. Review by Corey McKenzie:

      "There is is no question that there is signifcant talent on this CD."

 

From Through Different Eyes, March 1999. Review by Greger Rönnqvist:

      "J.R.S. - Wings of Gold USA (Rating: * * * * ). Both Jeffrey and David are progressive rock fans, but on this album they are trying to do more straightforward pop and hard rock. The music is rather commercial, yet musically skilled, with rather good vocals. I would call it melodic guitar oriented progressive metal with neo-classical influences. The music is a mix between Yngwie Malmsteen, Queensryche, Dream Theater and Rush. The difference between J.R.S. and the aforementioned groups, are that J.R.S. don't show off as much. The opening neo-classical track 'Intro' would appeal to fans of Yngwie Malmsteen. 'Living' is the best track and it's got a Prog Metal touch to it. The track 'Homeland' could have been a track written by Rush with a typical Rush guitar riff. This is a very good album that won't leave you disappointed."

 

From Jim Santo's Demo Universe, February, 1999. Review by Jim Santo:

      "...This is a good record. Smoots, who handles all but percussion here, conveys an infectious energy that elevates... Influenced by such luminaries as Alex Lifeson, Eric Johnson and Yngwie Malmsteen, his guitar playing is spectacular...and his commanding tenor would bring down the house on Broadway. If you have an appreciation for the genre, Smoots is well worth your time. "


      Prior to the retail release of Wings of Gold, the album was distributed to reviewers as a demo under the title Simple Truth - Less is More. Here are some reviews of the demo:

From Guitar Nine Records' Undiscovered Artists online magazine, October-November, 1998. Review by Dan McAvinchey:

      "The disc features a total of twelve tracks of melodic, guitar-driven hard rock with progressive and neo-classical influences. The album also features the powerhouse drumming of David Beardsley. In addition to the extraordinary guitar playing by Smoots throughout the record, each composition displays an attention to song structure and instrumental dynamics, making for some highly listenable tracks. Instrumental fans will love the ambitious, neo-classical opening tune, The Introduction."

      The complete article, including some Real Audio excerpts from the album, can be found at http://www.guitar9.com/undiscov15b.html.

 

From Artifact Electronic Magazine. Review by John Clark:

      "Simple Truth is a progressive rock/metal band which has something most other prog bands don't - subtlety. Instead of hitting the listener with a barrage of highly technical riffs which sometimes can just add disjointedness to songs, the concept of Simple Truth is to put out progressive music that is still enjoyable to non-musicians. ST pulls if off well with intelligent songs that should appeal to both proggers and melodic rock/metal fans.

      Prelude is ST's demo consisting of 4 songs. ST itself consists of only 2 members, Jeffrey Ryan Smoots (guitar/bass/keyboards/vocals) and David Beardsley (drums). They recorded this demo with the help of a computer in Jeff's spare bedroom! The results are impressive. The production is good by demo standards and also comes with nice packaging and lyrics.

      The tape begins with 'Living', my personal favorite. Proggish keyboards open up the song with the guitars and drums joining in to form a light prog metal sound. Jeff's voice is in the upper end and is VERY melodic. The chorus is very catchy - you just can't resist singing along with it. The music is in the realm of prog rock and metal but as mentioned before they don't go off into any 'Let's show the listener how awesome we are!' riffs, yet the listener is still impressed by solid musicianship.

      Next is 'Fade', another song with a good chorus. One of the big influences of ST is Rush and it is heard in this song. Another of ST's strengths vocally is the excellent harmonizing Jeff does in the singing heard throughout the tape. The lyrics are, like other prog bands, very philosophical. 'Pound' and 'Change' conclude the album with more of the same, melodic music which flows very smoothly and never gets out of control. I think Prog rock/metal fans will really get into this band, especially the fan that listens to rock AND metal.

      Progressive Metal Chart Rating : 8.0"

 

From The Unsigned and Independent Label Artist Page. Review by Michael Backof:

      "Simple Truth is a Rush, Yngwie Malmsteen influenced band with good instrumental talent, 1980's metal vocals, and catchy lyrics. It has nice bass riffs too."


email: jeffrey@jrsmoots.com

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