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SAGA – Symmetry

Saga SYMMETRY CD


Canadian prog rock outfit Saga has been releasing captivating music for nearly five decades now. Many Americans know the band by their 1981 hit “On The Loose,” but this is a band that offers so much more. With this Symmetry release, Saga has polished some of their most epic songs into flavorful nuggets of pristine gold.

From the lead track, “Pitchman,” we get everything that makes this band great. Singer Michael Sadler shows strength and swagger while the backing vocals add perfect harmonic support. Longtime member Jim Gilmour does his usual magic on the piano here, but we also hear his proficiency with the clarinet. (We are treated to Gilmour’s accordion skills on this record as well.)  The bass line throughout the song gallops and sways, drifting and twisting with every musical turn. The highlight for me was hearing the cascading staccato notes of the bridge join the fiddle soloing with the banjo and guitar picking that ends the track. This is sheer brilliance in songwriting and composition. I believe this song exhibits the true soul of Saga – a juggernaut of progressive excellence.

The band’s exhibition doesn’t stop with the lead track. They keep a musical climate that is acoustically temperate yet still vibrant and intense. Every instrument seems to nestle itself in your ear as its presented to you. Every note is crisp and fresh. Even when the band is banging things out or working itself into a large crescendo, every sound from every instrument demands your attention. This record was self-produced by the band, and I can’t see anyone doing it any better.



I often hesitate when I’m about to listen to acoustic renderings of songs that I love. They rarely get improved upon, and often times get ruined in the conversion. On this Symmetry record, I find myself liking some of these versions better than the originals. “Pitchman,” “Always There,” “The Right Side Of The Other Hall,” and “Tired World” all hold new excitement for me as a longtime fan. I have been listening to and loving these songs for years in their original form, and I just might love them even more after hearing them getting worked over with the tasty musicality that is this Symmetry record.

If you’ve never explored Saga’s music past the radio hits “On The Loose” and “Wind Him Up,” this wouldn’t be a bad place to start exploring what this band is capable of – musical excellence.


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ARTIST INTERVIEW

Dr. Music talks with multi-instrumentalist Jim Gilmour from the legendary Canadian band Saga as they get set to release their 23rd studio album titled, Symmetry. Jim talks about the decision to make an acoustic record, some of the biggest moments in Saga's long history, the quintessential Saga song, and much more!


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