Craig Maher is a New York-based singer/songwriter/guitarist that has been gathering some momentum with a strong grassroots following emerging from the New York metro area. He has been at it for over twenty years now and with a new album titled Propel, he may have tapped the mainline of rock listeners worldwide.
Maher gives U2, David Bowie and Lenny Kravitz credit for influences on a musical level and you can hear all of that on this CD. I appreciate all of the aforementioned artists, particularly Bowie and Kravitz. The classic rock sound that Maher produces is accessible to all. The lyrics revolve around spiritual beliefs and the esoteric all wrapped up in a nice package to “Propel” its way into your consciousness. After a few listens it is bound to stay there too because this is real catchy stuff, filled with hooks delivered by a sparkling production – everything you would want in a rock album that features commercial elements and clean enough so anyone in earshot can listen.
I like this recording because it maintains a straight-ahead attitude driven by Maher’s Bowie like vocals and a myriad of six strings layered throughout each track. “Living In Utopia” is one the very best tracks and an example of his all around capabilities and how he wears his influences on his sleeve, and that by no means is a detractor, it’s what makes him so fresh and inviting in every song. That track is a rocker that sends you to the stratosphere then Maher downshifts to bring you down to earth on the following track “Summer”. It’s a nice acoustic strummer that creates a pleasant ambience, you can almost feel that warm summer breeze brushing up against your face. This is the kind of diversity I like to see in an indie artist trying to get somewhere in this highly competitive landscape.
This music intrigues me, rocks me to the core, and compels me to find more artists that have the same approach. Craig Maher is the exception to the rule on Propel because he does all the right things and takes you on a “Cosmic Ride” that you will not forget. If this album does not push him to another level in his career, I am not sure what will.
Propel, Where I Belong, Living In Utopia