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Salvatori, Michael: Waiting For Autumn

Having recently reviewed and very much enjoyed the1976 recorded but 2022 released Castle by Apocalypse, when one of their key members, Tom Salvatori, offered the opportunity to delve deeper into his back catalogue, it was a chance not to be missed. For those who haven’t read the Castle review, you can find it HERE but in short it’s a perfect encapsulation of what the prog world was becoming in the mid-70s and had it been given the opportunity to get traction back then… who knows?

Waiting For Autumn is equally shrouded in the midsts of time, an album given a limited LP run back in 1982 only becoming more widely available many years later. The press release that accompanies the CD talks of it being, in many ways, the follow up to the Apocalypse album, but as with any band transposing their music from 1976 to 1982, the difference is stark, even if similarities remain. The two releases contain the vocals and guitar work from Michael Salvatori, while his wife Gail provides backing vocals and his brother Tom adds excellent classical guitar. This time round the band is completed by Gary Polkow on keys and Henry Bahr on drums, with a few others also helping out on occasion.

The album kicks into life with “When I Look Into Your Eyes” and truthfully, I’m left scratching my head. I mean, the performances throughout are excellent, but the jazzy, poppy tones and gentle, if heartfelt, chorus are so far removed from what I’d anticipated that I wondered if three members of Apocalypse really were involved here - especially when the vocals add a tuneful croon that is almost loungy in tone. What makes this track an even more unexpected opener is that it then goes on to have basically no connection to the music that follows it, the title track quite beautifully moving things into the more considered world of Greg Lake through stunning acoustic guitar work, classy vocal harmonies and an inner spirit that can’t help but capture your imagination. With “Throw It To The Wind” combining melodic vocal led sections and clever, involved instrumental workouts, the prog quotient kicks up a further gear without ever feeling anything other than natural, before the three part “Letter From The Front” pulls in some Apocalypse flavours, with a Steve Hackett era-Genesis tone welcome indeed.

The short “A Matter of Time”, instead of being the palette cleanser anticipated, seems to combine early Collins-led era Genesis to some Gentle Giant sensibilities, leaving the nine minute “Epilogue” to fall back into Greg Lake like acoustic guitar and beautiful vocals before building and receding through some wonderful instrumental movements, and proving a fitting close to the album as it does so.

I wouldn’t say that Waiting For Autumn is a mixed bag, but it does begin in a way that captures the attention, but not maybe in the way hoped for. From there the journey is much more rewarding and invigorating, with the feel that the songs really came from the heart pretty much unavoidable. Lovers of 80s prog - before it went pop - really would do well to check this out. My guess is that they’ll find much to like.

Track Listing
1. When I Look In Your Eyes
2. Waiting For Autumn
3. Throw It To The Wind
4. Letters From The Front
a. Our Love Is Real
b. A Place of Solitude
c. The Final Entry
5. A Matter Of Time
6. Epilogue

Added: January 3rd 2023
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Michael Salvatori online
Hits: 335
Language: english

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Salvatori, Michael: Waiting For Autumn
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2023-01-03 17:21:19
My Score:

More than 40 years ago, the singer and musician who would go on to compose famous jingles (Flintstones Chewable Vitamins) and video game soundtracks (Halo) released a limited-run album that became a rare find for collectors before being reissued on CD for the first time in 2022.

Michael Salvatori’s six-song Waiting For Autumn is a sonic time machine that takes listeners back to the golden days of yacht rock (“When I Look In Your Eyes”), the melancholy of flute-flecked folk rock (the title track) and the majesty of instrumental rock (“A Matter of Time”). Salvatori sings in a sweet voice and plays smooth guitar, and he’s backed by family members and musician friends.

While Salvatori and his brother, Tom, recorded a prog-rock album (The Castle in 1976 under the name Apocalypse, Waiting For Autumn can’t really be considered a pure prog album. But elements of it will appeal to pure prog listeners -- the keys on “Throwing It To the Wind” echo early- to mid-period Genesis, for example, and Salvatori conjures the gentler side of ELP on “Letters from the Front.” Just don’t expect anything as “ground-breaking” as the promo materials for this album claim.

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