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"4 STARS from Coffee House Tour"

Stereopool – “Freedom Finds You” – Incredible! That is the first word that popped into my head after listening to the debut album “Freedom Finds You” by Maryland’s own, Stereopool. The trio, consisting of Bob Sima, Chris Ritch and Gary Shenk has put out a successful release on their own with no label backing, a very impressive first leap for this newly up and coming band. The sound is all over the place bouncing from pure Americana pop to a folk-rocking sound. It’s like attending a party with Dave Matthews and Del Amitri as the hosts with Ryan Adams, Jack Johnson and Ben Harper stopping by for a jam fest. Excellent musical choice for anyone of any age, Stereopool is impressive, pure and simple. Sure to cause feelings of wanderlust and joy, “Freedom Finds You” contains lyrics and melodies that are sure to keep you singing and dancing, long after the record ends. This is exactly what you have been looking for. A new band, a new sound and a new release you have been hoping for all wrapped up into one incredible CD. A four-star recommendation from CoffeeHouseTour!

CHT Pick: "I Don’t Know a Soul Here" Reviewed by Heather Corcoran
- Coffee House Tour

"Uk Rave Review for Whisperin and Hollerin"

Those who cannot wait long enough between Dave Matthews Band albums should definitely aim their eyeballs at Stereopool (, a three-piece acoustic pop group that can jam and bring the funk as well as they can. Thankfully, Matthews isn't Stereopool's only inspiration; there are traces of John Mellencamp and even Eric Burdon's War.

Vocalist Bob Sima has a Matthews-esque talk-singing style that is nevertheless more bluesy. On the opening cut, "I Don't Know a Soul Here (a.k.a. The Lime Green Song)," the group's strong chemistry becomes clearly evident; these lads can truly groove. Lyrically you want to pay attention to them as well. There's sly wit in some of these tracks as well as interesting observations about human existence.

Without getting pretentious here, there is an intelligence at work in the songwriting of Stereopool. On the surface, it may seem like self-conscious rambing; however, after repeated spins the meaning of the words becomes clearer. For example, "Frozen" is about romantic rejection. "Frozen in the sidewalk is a leaf that's long since dead," Sima sings of his love. The fallen leaf represents decay, but a changing of the season - or, in this case, a life - as well. The woman doesn't love him anymore; however, her memory is stuck in his mind, in his heart, preserved for all time.

A lot of acts these days try to reach the electrifying acoustic swagger of the Dave Matthews Band without the lyrical smarts to give meat to the bones. Stereopool thankfully give us more to chew on.

-Adam Herrington - Whisperin and Hollerin

"A Cut Above Traditional Acoustic Bands"

Stereopool belong to the increasing trend of acoustic-based jam bands, acts that seem to be sprouting every day thanks to the mammoth success of the Dave Matthews Band. What many of them do not realize is that it takes quite a bit of talent, and I'm not just talking about musical skills, to pull off that hybrid of folk and funk. A number of these groups are completely bland, dull as white bread. Thankfully, Stereopool does not torture us with mediocrity.

Where Stereopool cross the finish line while number of their peers collapse after a few miles is through the lyrics. These guys are smarter than much of their competition, having college-bred smarts that distance themselves from their peers. For all of their catchy hooks and energetic live performances, I believe that is why people were attracted to Dave Matthews in the first place.

No, Stereopool are not self-consciously trying to ape Matthews, but the resemblance is there, and it is undeniable, especially in Bob Sima's vocal work.

-Kyrby Raine
- Ink 19

"yet another acoustic pop act, though filled with the intense and brainy melancholy absent in adult pop."

The world may sigh at yet another acoustic pop sighting, but Stereopool are no mere faded clones. With ordinary gentlemen such as Jack Johnson, John Mayer, and Jason Mraz putting American rock into a collective coma, one would understandably believe that Stereopool is another brick in the wall. While the band certainly flows with the slickly polished adult pop of their major-label contemporaries, there’s an intensity and brainy melancholy here that is missing from those chick magnets.

The world isn’t much of a happy place for Stereopool. On the surface, the music is slightly funky and often jamming with precision and perspiration. But leader Bob Sima’s words are laced with grams of sadness. He questions materialism (“Money Can’t Save You”) and selling out (“Freedom Finds You”) without seeing true happiness in anything else, including love (“Frozen,” “All This Time”). In “Frozen,” Sima is unable to let go of a memory, a girl he once dated. His pain isn’t illustrated with obvious shapes. There are no “you broke my heart” clichés here. Instead, Sima describes two people with opposing views on what kind of person he really is. It’s a relatable story, the woeful tale of lovers who are not on the same page (“She don’t understand me/She don’t know my kind”). There are clever lines in “Frozen” that display a smarty-pants, sardonic wit such as “She’s the best thing that never happened, she said.”

Critics have been tossing the Dave Matthews Band similarities with Stereopool, and to these ears they’re not really that evident. For example, Sima’s bluesy talk-singing on “I Don’t Know a Soul Here (a.k.a. The Lime Green Song)” is more raw than Matthews’ polished croon. If anything, Sima recalls John Mellencamp, but with the stinging narratives of Steely Dan.

Michael Sutton

- CDReviews.COM

"Adult Contemporary Oasis (November 2005 Issue)"

Your search for bouncy, light-hearted acoustic pop, is over. Look no further, you've found your adult contemporary oasis. Stereopool is surprisingly pleasant and honest, with no rock star façade to piss you off. Just three guys making music, granted not the most inspired music in the world, but heartfelt, fun, and straightforward music that delivers exactly what it promises. In a world littered with hardened, "confessional" songwriters, it's refreshing to hear a band with no pretenses -Nice guys writing nice guy music"

Kevin Keating - Origivation Magazine

"Stereopool: S for Solid"

Freedom Finds You from Stereopool opens with a strong "I Don't Know a Soul Here", a song that will instantly bring to mind The Dave Mathews Band. With a catchy acoustic/electric guitar sound and a loose funky feel, the salbum stays that course and delivers a solid performance that'll appeal to lovers of that particular sound. Stereopool is fronted by Bob Sima, who plays guitar and writes and sings all of the tunes. He has a songwriting style that is observational and conversational in nature, like he's checking out the situation and reporting back to you. On "I Don't Know a Soul Here", he recounts the events of an evening spent as a lost soul at a gathering of people he doesn't know, while getting trashed on lime green colored drinks. There is a terribly cheesy, but funny video of that song included on the CD that portrays the lead character as a "fish out of water". Poor slob wanders around in his "wife beater" looking totally out of place among the well-heeled folks in attendance. All the while, everybody sucks down lime green colored drinks and shows their greeen tongues, while the band performs in the background. Wheh the other guests set him up in an ass-grabbing incident (a what??), he gets ejected from the party and ends up stumbling down the street while trying to flag down passing vehicles, finally catching a ride. Fade to black. There's a bit more to it (not much), but that's the gist of it. It also gives new meaning to the term "low budget". The songs on Freedom Finds You are rhythmic guitar-oriented. You are not going to hear a lot of guitar solo's and, when you do, they are provided by Bryan Ewald, and for the most part not in the front of the mix. The album alternates between a laid back vibe like the Jack Johnson meets John Mayer sound of Amazed By You, to the full out rock assault of "Death and Sox'", "Junior" and the title track. With a dominant acoustic plugged-in feel, Freedom Finds You is a great sounding record that is as well produced as it is written. Nice and bright sounding, it also has a warm tone that is well suited to a jangley guitar and vocal harmony. The drums and percussion of Gary Shenk figure in prominently in the entire mix, who along with Chris Ritsch on bass really help propel the whole thing forward. The softer numbers have a pleasant "airy" quality..Sima's songwriting style can also be described as somewhat autobiographical, with the occasional flash of wry humor, as in Death and Sox', when he wonders out loud "we've always been concerned about life's little mysteries, especially the one about the missing sock." And don't forget that video. Freedom Finds You will certainly find fancy fans of acoustic rock who appreciate the nuances of well-strummed guitar backed by a driving rhythm section. Comparison's aside, Freedom Finds You is a well written and well played offering. I don't think it will change anybody's life, but it can make it a little more enjoyable. - Chesapeake Music Guide

"Music Monthly Review Dec 2005"

Put Stereopool in the groups to pay attention to along with Naked Blue, Bens Bones and Jim Dugan. At the risk of prophesizing, there seems to be a critical mass forming within the Baltimore indierock "scene"? I was led to believe that there was no Baltimore music scene.

Stereopools' "Freedom Finds You" was recorded and mixed at Les Lentz's LSP studio just outside Annapolis with Mike Best and the group at the controls. The group being Bob Sima with Words, music, vocals and guitar; Chris Ritsch on bass and backing vocals and some keys and guitar work; Gary Shenk on drums and percussion and Bryan Ewald lends some guitar licks.

As I listen to Sima's lyrics and vocal performance, I hear these little stylistic cues that make me think of Elvis, Bruce and Burton Cummings; the latter of the Canadian group, The Guess Who. Wrap around those influences the chops and plain talking lyrics of contemporary and stylish indierock, and that's Stereopool.

These guys are not just bashing out chords and wailing, I can hear, understand and appreciate the lyrics. That is a big plus. I like the thought, chops and arrangements behind the instrument tracks. Thy are a few drum happy moments when the ride cymbal and side stick get pushed up enough to mess with the vocals, but that doesn't happen very often.

If there is a weak link in the chain it's that Sima's vocals are the only vocals. Even though he's obviously made the leap from singer to vocalist with strength, control and versatility, the occasional backing vocals added by Chris Ritsch are not enough to keep the CD from sounding a bit "same-y". That can be said for a lot of groups out there. The efforts to change the sound of his vocals with more radical EQ and different reverbs are tips to me that they understand the problem and are in search of a solution.

Given what I hear on this CD, the best solution is continuing to use really strong material. The long term solution may be to think about adding equally well arranged vocal harmomies to take some burden off of Sima. Even so, however, this is a CD you can out in your player or Ipod and mix with national acts and it will seldom draw attention to itself.

Stereopool includes a music video on this CD. That's extremely cool and very savvy. Produced and directed by Noah Suchoff with a cast of about 20. The video fulfills the vision created by the song of "I Don't Know a Soul Here". The song is a good choice for a video. I remember "seeing" the action the first time I listened to the CD. There may be a few weird plot points – How did the protagonist get invited to the party in the first place? What happened to his car? He parked it in front of the house at the beginning of the video and we don't see it as he is ejected from the party – but otherwise it's a very good storytelling effort and raises the bar for every band in the Baltimore music scene. There, I said it again. Put Stereopool on your "Go See Live" list. This CD proves they deserve it.

-Ty Ford
- Ty Ford


Bob Sima
Pour It On
streaming audio:


Feeling a bit camera shy


Bob Sima is the lead singer/songwriter for the successful acoustic power trio STEREOPOOL from the Annapolis, MD area. As a locally grown talent, Stereopool has made a name for themselves in the local and regional scene for their brand of energetic, evocative acoustic power folk music. They shared the stage with NRBQ, Eddie from Ohio, Ari Hest and many local legends. After landing a deal with a UK Based distributor (Smart Choice Music), they were selected for their 10,000 unit compilation that featured a track from Lyle Lovett and was featured on the cover of Maverick Magazine.

While performing many of the Stereopool shows as a solo effort, Bob began to feel the desire to explore his diverse songwriting and create a solo record. In late 2006, Bob is releasing his first solo release entitled “Pour It On”. It was produced by David Weber (Krista Detor, Carrie Newcomer) and is an amazing collection of songs captured "in the moment" with a very live feel. It features some amazing players including Krista Detor, who's vocal and piano work is tightly woven into the spirit of the record. Players include Jason Wilbur (John Prine, Todd Snider, Iris Dement), Slats Klug, Brandt Smith, Jamey Reed and Jack Helmsley....truly the best of the best in the Bloomington music scene. The songs range from quiet lullabies, sultry duets, to poppy acoustic toe tappers and even a full out folk/gospel epic. Most songs were spontaneously combusted in under 10 minutes. most were written under the stars....and ALL were immaculately captured by David Weber in what will truly be an exciting new release for Bob.

Bob has been featured and is receiving airplay on Z104 (DC), WRNR (Annapolis, MD) WTMD (Baltimore, MD), WRYR (Churchton, MD) the song "Amazed By You” has landed him in the top 1% of all time in the Acoustic Genre at GARAGEBAND.COM. He has also reached #2 ALL-Time in Male Vocals (Acoustic). His music has won awards from, has been webcasted, podcasted and beamed through satellite radio waves.

Bob has played all of the top venues in the mid Atlantic including Rams Head, World Cafe Live, Fletchers, and the Dewey Beach Music Conference.