Reviews & Fan Comments
Lennon Re-Imagined, The Nutopians’ sophomore album, is an album that anyone belongs in the record collection of anyone with even a passing interest in the music of John Lennon. It surpasses their debut album Imagined. That’s no surprise, given the combined experience and talent of The Nutopians. Their experience is put to good use on Lennon Re-Imagined. Thirteen songs are given a musical makeover, totally transformed. In the hands of The Nutopians, they become variously understated, subtle, emotive, beautiful, poignant, powerful, inspiring and joyous. Combining elements of folk-rock, pop and country music, John Lennon’s music is a remarkable reinvention of familiar, much loved music. Nothing is lost in the process. Still John’s music is innovative, influential and inspirational.
Maybe, Lennon Re-Imagined which will be released on 1st July 2013, will introduce a new generation of music lovers to the music of a true musical genius. I hope it does. After all, music has become bland and anodyne. What it lacks is someone of the stature of John Lennon, someone who wrote music that was innovative, influential and inspired a generation. Lennon Re-Imagined is a poignant reminder of John Lennon’s music. It’ll certainly find its way into the collections of all fans of John Lennon’s music. When it does, a percentage of the profits from Lennon Re-Imagined and ticket sales are donated to WhyHunger, the Artist Against Hunger and Poverty Program, founded by Harry Chapin. John Lennon would’ve approved of this, and would’ve approved of The Nutopians’ homage to his music Lennon Re-Imagined. Standout Tracks: You’re Gonna Lose That Girl, No Reply, If I Fell and Love/Oh My Love.
Derek Anderson - Derek's Music Blog
I had the pleasure of seeing The Nutopians at the recent Fest for Beatles Fans in Secaucus, NJ. A friend who had seen your show in Ma recommended that it was NOT to be missed and she was so correct. As a Fest-goer for several years I have seen these songs performed umpteen times in so many different ways yet I was completely blown away by your show. The unique and gentle treatment of these beloved songs was awe-inspiring. I hope that you will continue to add dates to the calendar in the mid-Atlantic region.
"The show itself was something to behold, and first-class in every respect; an excellent concept with captivating arrangements, beautifully performed and very nicely presented. I personally enjoyed it very much and found it to be a great fit for our venue."
By re-imagining the music of John Lennon (Beatles and solo years), founding members Rex Fowler and Tom Dean of The Nutopians have taken on and achieved the nearly impossible: striking the right balance between preservation and innovation. Copy the records note-for-note, and risk being labeled as just another tribute band; or diverge too much from what devoted Lennon fans know and love, and lose them altogether.
Their success in this delicate balance is what makes The Nutopians: Celebrating the Songs of John Lennon one of the freshest acts to play our stage this season. Their intricate arrangements, incredible harmonies and inspired song performances by the 7-piece ensemble created an experience much bigger than our 300-seat room. One of our favorite concerts of 2011, we can’t wait for The Nutopians’ return.
The Nutopians Labor Day weekend show at City Winery was amazing. Simply put, your band has captured all the nuances and emotions of those Lennon songs. Every word and chord and subtle note seemed to evoke so much meaning to us. We NEED to see your band again. I also want to commend you for the quality of sound. To have all those instruments and voices together and still manage to allow everyone to be heard was wonderful.
I just wanted to drop you a brief note after catching your show on Saturday night in Jim Thorpe..
“With these intelligent heartfelt renditions of Lennon’s best known songs, The Nutopians ranks right up there with the very best Lennon interpreters ever.”
"Lest you think these are a couple of old folkies getting their John Lennon jollies out, the arrangements are alternately complex, freewheeling and stirring. "Help!" is presented with the poignancy Lennon often cited, while "Julia," featuring the cello and chromatic harmonica, packs an emotional punch through its extended instrumental break. Covering the Beatles is often a crapshoot at best but The Nutopians have pulled this off with aplomb and reminds us how relevant and affecting this music still is."
The live production of the entire CD, Imagined, and then some, is the single most heartfelt, loving, real to the bone concert I have ever seen. And I am a 52 y/o "left over hippie" who saw many of the greats among greats. With The Nutopians there is little to no special lighting absolutely no backdrops or fancy dancers. The magic is ALL in the music and the hearts and souls of the musicians. If you get the chance, do yourself the best favor you'll do yourself for a long time: See it!
Saw you folks perform last night at longfellow square and was blown away. gorgeous and thoughtful and loving fresh arrangements of some amazing songs. brilliant musicians. i came home and ordered the cd, and was sorry that (i don't remember her name) the girl who sang revolution (moved me to tears) was not on the cd. i would love to see the whole show again, and hope that maybe you'll be bringing it back to Portland soon. thanks for a wonderful night. maybe put it out on a live cd?
"Tom Dean and Rex Fowler are two folk veterans who have created an album around the songs of John Lennon.The surprising thing about this album is not that the folky, acoustic versions of Beatles songs work so well, or that the voices of Dean and Fowler mix together so beautifully, especially in the surprising combinations that the two have made. Several songs are telescoped in a manner that sounds totally obvious, sometimes when a guitar riff from another song is subtly woven through it. Furthermore, they sing those songs also in a way that once again you really have to listen to the lyrics, which is certainly also quite amazing for these songs, who have been for half a century in the collective conciousness. So much fun!
“With lots of admiration and affection for the work of the man who has inspired them to start their own career in music, Tom Dean and Rex Fowler have created a great tribute album that all John Lennon-fans can blindly add to their collection of CD’s from their idol. This is a magnificent labour of love on respectfully selected songs from one of the greatest songwriters ever alive!
"Under the direction of Tom Dean and Rex Fowler, The Nutopians have achieved an outstanding album! Finally an outfit who rely simply on the great songs of the Beatles, and The John Lennon Song Project are original enough to pull it all through!
"Absolutely Brilliant!! I've been listening non-stop. What an amazing job of paying homage to Lennon and the Beatles and creating music that has so much of your own style and class. I can't wait to go on the radio and start spinning tunes from it. Album of the year!!!!!"
"If you’re going to cover John Lennon songs you better do it right or not bother. “Imagined, The John Lennon Song Project” often exceeds my critical expectations of anyone that takes on John’s music. Up until now, it’s all been blasphemy! Buy it!"
Thank you for creating this beautiful music by the genius John Lennon. Your combination of instruments, vocals and personalities was just perfect and what fantastic stage presence!! I have been missing out on great Aztec Two-Step and Devonsquare shows so I am inspired to hear more of both groups including The Nutopians again.
I have to say, for me, the first track on the Imagined CD just grabs you and leaves you with an anticipation that doesn’t disappoint thanks to the harmonica, accordion, cello, guitars, vocals, Alana’s violin and your arrangements. Your smiles and enthusiasm tell the story too and it was fun watching you have so much fun with your work. Seeing Tom smile after “You Can’t Do That/I Call Your Name” was especially nice.
"I was fortunate to attend the John Lennon Song Project concert on the evening that would have been John's 70th birthday. Reverent yet unique interpretations of Lennon's music, creative instrumentation and vocal arrangements, with thoughtfully selected medleys and combinations of his songs that flow together perfectly. Fun, different, warm and heartfelt, the concert was a wonderful way to spend this special evening".
"Saw the notice on Facebook about the project, went to CD Baby and heard samples of everything, saw the upcoming itinerary--it sounds great, it's such a great vision and SO great to see the concept and you, Rex and and Alana live large again (and again). Fantastic!!"
“Rex and Tom have brought a fresh new approach to John Lennon’s Beatle tunes with innovative arrangements that infuse their own style into longtime favorites. I particularly enjoyed the fact that they work with some songs in the Lennon and McCartney catalogue that are not often covered while also developing interesting new medley combinations not heard before. “
"It was an amazing night. The passion that you all have for John's music was so evident. The CD is a treasure. Thank you so much for this great gift. Hope to catch another show before the tour is done."
“The more I listen to Imagined, the more I like it…. the pairings of songs, the vocal interpretations, the harmonies, and awesome harmonica to boot! Really, really good. My friend in New Mexico loved it too! She’s a huge Lennon fan. Hope you sell gazillions! It’s really a treasure! I’ve been talking it up to anyone who will listen.”
"The arrangements on this offering are simple, well thought out, and hauntingly gorgeous. The beautiful harmonies woven between delicate acoustic guitar arrangements are a loving tribute to John Lennon. The addition of Alana's fantastic vocals and instrument work, as well as the brilliance of the musical guests only adds icing to an already delicious cake! Looking forward to the supporting tour!"
I just received the CD for winning the contest and I have to say, "Wow!". "Imagined" contains the songs of John Lennon and The Beatles as you have NEVER heard them before. Inventive interpretations, all acoustic and sweet harmonies, with some cello and harmonica. The weaving of one song to another on a few tracks is up... there with George Martin on The Beatles "Love" CD. Very impressive, beginning to hidden-track end. Not pretentious, not trying to impersonate...just a love for the songs. If you are a Lennon or Beatles fan, you must hear this!
“Loved "Imagined." I just bought almost the entire first row of your Boulton Center show…”
"I've been listening to Imagined in the car for the last couple of days... I truly love the album!"
"We received the CD today; thank you *so* much. We were going to retire for the evening after an eventful filled night with teen dramas and ten year old "please let me stay up mommy" requests when we finally sat down and decided to plug your Lennon CD in instead. Rex, it really is a beautiful accomplishment! You have maintained and grown in your beautiful artistry through these years and now it looks like we might just be seeing that Lennon concert as well as the other! Music heals the heart and soothes the mind! See you in November and "bravo!!!" on a beautiful soulful accomplishment! "
"Just purchased the new CD release "Imagined: The John Lennon Song Project." This remarkable new album features the venerable talents of my friend Tom Dean (Devonsquare,) Rex Fowler (Aztec Two-Step,) and vocalist Alana MacDonald (Devonsquare.) Along with a bevy of extraordinary musicians, they have put a unique and love...ly spin on the musical legacy of John Lennon. This is truly a standout recording. May the tour be a success, and may the warmth of John's spirit accompany you every step of the way!"