JJ Appleton | Uphill to Purgatory

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Rock: Modern Rock Pop: Power Pop Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Uphill to Purgatory

by JJ Appleton

A true rock and roll record in every sense...love, anger, humor, irony, and big rock guitars.
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Anyone
3:48 $0.99
2. The More Things Change
3:39 $0.99
3. We Always Say Goodbye
3:38 $0.99
4. Someone Else's Problem
3:18 $0.99
5. Because I Do
5:03 $0.99
6. I Mean Well
3:20 $0.99
7. Picture This
3:10 $0.99
8. Still Think About You
3:02 $0.99
9. If I Can't Have You
3:27 $0.99
10. There Is No Pill
6:41 $0.99
11. Downloader's Blues (Bonus Track)
3:08 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Music was total escapism for me. I remember listening to Rubber Soul when I was 3 and, I'd swear I was in the music."

To say that JJ Appleton came from a musical family may be a bit of a cliché, but in his case, it's also an understatement. For the most part, he grew up in the small town of Norwich, VT, not far from Dartmouth University where his dad Jon Appleton has taught the offbeat subject of Electronic Music since 1967. A pioneer in the field, Mr. Appleton was an accomplished composer, not to mention one of the developers of the Synclavier, the now-legendary top shelf synthesizer. As a result, the family traveled all over the globe. Wherever the Appletons went, Jon had a musical agenda, which afforded JJ the rare opportunity to immerse himself in the indigenous music of such exotic places as Tonga, Sweden, Israel and Turkey.

Growing up in this musical incubator, JJ's home was a revolving door of the noteworthy artists of the day. The Appleton household had a constant stream of musical guests as disparate as Don Cherry and Wang Chung. But, JJ's older sister, who listened to a lot of Elton John and Doobie Bros, was mostly responsible for introducing him to rock. Dad would play just about everything from the music of Astor Piazzola to Fats Waller to the West Side Story soundtrack. JJ studied classical piano and essentially tried to mimic everything he heard, especially the blues. "For me," he says, "when you want to develop into an original, you have to imitate the masters." But JJ had the most fun copping from his first loves - the Beatles and The Band. It wasn't too long before he realized that it's a good pop tune that always gets the girls.

When you first meet JJ Appleton, what is likely to occur to you is the striking resemblance to comedic actor Ben Stiller. JJ actually had a chance meeting with Stiller at the Nantucket Film Festival. In true form, JJ had attended the island festival to participate in a storytelling event whose theme was, "Love... What Was I Thinking?" A better premise could not have been found for our hero, who would perform a tune called, "Someone Else's Problem."

JJ says with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, "Someone Ele's Problem" was written with an amalgam of ex-girlfriends in mind, but it's mainly about snapping out of that sentimental state of reminiscing and, like a flash of light, you remember the hell they put you through." The chorus refrain JJ maintains, is clearly, "about relief, not anger."

And so it goes with Appleton's second full-length offering, which he has chosen, for reasons beyond his own knowledge, to call Uphill to Purgatory. Surely, there are no religious themes running through the record, which for the most part, was written over the past 2 years in New York City, where JJ now lives. But, the image of going up to sit in the waiting room may be interpreted as being about humility, which can be essentially spiritual...can't it? This is perhaps best illustrated in the song, "There Is No Pill". Inspired by some of JJ's friends who were visiting from the UK, they noticed how "pill-obsessed" this country is. JJ took it one step further relating the "you" in the lyric, "there is no pill that can ever bring me closer to you," to God, the Universe, the Collective Unconscious, etc... and explaining, without getting too trippy, that, "if something feels wrong in your life, the first place you need to look is at yourself and your relationship with the world." The song features the beautiful accompaniment of cellist Dave Eggar who also plays on "We Always Say Goodbye."

Introspection is definitely a theme, ironically, since Uphill To Purgatory was produced in New York by the notable Stephen Lironi (Altered Images, Black Grape and Hansen, among others) in June/July 2005 around the omnipresent din of a city that never sleeps, and moves way too fast to think about anything for too long. Unlike JJ's first record, 500 Moments, recorded in 2002 in Los Angeles, Uphill... is clearly an edgier offering.

"Anyone," taps into the sadness and desperation of a breakup and is seen through both parties. "Picture This" is a "wooing song," says JJ, confessing that he was busted trying to write a George Harrison song. "It's kind of about creative visualization. Things just don't happen in your life unless you can picture them in your head. And so many times things fail because you're not keeping the right picture in mind."

The 11 songs on the record, half of which are co-writes with ubiquitous composer David Wolfert who has worked with Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston and Eddie Murphy to name a few, offer moments of Matthew Sweet and Fountains Of Wayne, flashes of Tom Petty and the occasional channeling of Jeff Buckley (if one is really in need of comparisons). However, there is often artful meandering into other worlds, such as in the case of "Because I Do" that JJ says was the result of "my wanting to write a Leonard Cohen song sung by Johnny Cash. The problem is my vocal range is, like, 8 octaves too high", but the point comes across. "It's kind of a zen love song about not having to explain your feelings and just letting what is, be," says the Man. Likewise, "If I Can't Have You" may conjure the Stones and the Faces and "Downloader's Blues" is a smart-ass neo-folk tune with an obviously mod theme.

With Uphill to Purgatory, to be released in mid-October 2005, JJ remains clearly in the music, whether he wants to be or not. He can't get away from it. And that's a very good thing for all of us.



to write a review

Geoff The Dit

Go up there and hit ADD TO CART now!!!
First off, out of 5 stars...I wish their was more higher stars to pick from! This album is like a 10 out of 5 its that good! The whole album is awesome, I've listened to it numerous times and still go back for more. Hearing the same song over and over again sometimes gets boring, yes. BUT, hearing JJ Appleton's "Uphill to Purgatory" album over and over again makes you like it each and every time you listen to it. My personal favorite song-wise has to be "We Always Say Goodbye"! Check it out, and if you listen to a stranger for one time in your life...listen to me. BUY THIS ALBUM. You won't regret it, and you'll thank me later.

Uphill To Purgatory

i love the cd it came so fast
i was really suprised at how fast the cd arrived since it was being internationally shipped, and also it was such a good price im so happy!

Bev Valentine

Can't Live Without It!!
Hearing JJ's latest CD will make you do a double take. "Is this the same JJ Appleton I knew in '500 Moments?'" It's definitely a slap in the face. Different...and I like it. His emotion runs a little more deeper this time.

We learn in this CD that relationships/love can be so hard on you and other times it can be the best thing that you've ever experienced. 'Anyone' is typical, your friends complaining about their relationship to you. (As I side note, maybe JJ's friends in this song, were the one's that we're going out with each other?) 'Someone Else's Problem' and 'The More Things Change' follow the same road. Then you hit 'Picture This,' 'If I Can't Have You' and 'There Is No Pill' and you think, "Geez, maybe love isn't so bad after all."

It was great for me to hear the 'transitional stages' of these songs and they come together fabulously, a great work of art! An awesome job on the hard work you did. Big kudos to Stephen Lironi, David Wolfert, Jeff Juliano for their efforts on this project. As for the bonus track 'Downloader's Blues'...I'll quote JJ on this "It had to be redone." You may recall it being one of the downloadable songs on his web site. JJ it sounds like a new song!

Sandwich Feet

This CD cuts straight to the bone. Well written lyrics combined with a big groove drum sound combined with a classic les paul rock tone. It doesnt get any better than that- especially on "Someone Else's Problem". This track especially should be playing on every rock station across the world!


JJ keeps coming through with great songs - and a wonderful new record
JJ keeps coming through with records that put major labels and their rosters to shame - always great songs delivered with his impeccable vocal/guitar style. Rock N Roll with balls AND brains. A perfect followup to his last offering, "500 moments" - a little more polished and a little less aggravated but still as potent and a masterpeice in it's own right. He has blended a little tech edge to his signature rock sound and croons in falsetto on several tracks showing a growth that runs throughout the record - "because i do" is enough to melt butter on your lovers favorite body parts, the world will be a better place if radios everywhere play "someone else's problem" and just to show you that he hasnt lost his mojo the record opens with the blistering "anyone".

Autumn Frazee

You don't have it yet?
If you don't have this yet, hurry up and get one! As you'd expect from JJ, this is alive and fun. Great lyrics, butt kicking music too. The list of artists he worked with was impressive as well. Mark Williams and Todd Wright- two of DC's best. JJ has outdone himself once again.