Michael Spaly is one of ‘those’ players. The guy that shows up at the table session and you can just throw instruments at him and he excels at each and every one, painting exciting lines across the music that is circling around him. He may be the guy in the band, or maybe 5 or 6 different bands, that you have seen around town and each time you said “wow that fiddle player was great” or “that mandolinist was shredding some mighty fine runs” or “wow that guy has brilliant harmonies”. Well, Stars Galore by Green Monroe seems to be Spaly’s time to shine. And shine he does.
The efforts contained on this 23 track monster are a collaborative amassment of songs with some of the most talented players from the music community around Boston and engineered by the masterful Dave Westner. I would expect no less from Spaly, as this man lives and breathes to create with others. Stars Galore is a collection of songs and quick clips that amount to poetry of sorts.
Rock n’ roll anthems, folk ballads, bluegrass burners and church sermons…don’t seem like they may belong on a record together, but what the songwriter has stitched together here does. There was a lot of time and effort put into this project, that is for certain. It plays out like a story or a movie as you listen intently to the songs and the little quips contained within. Spaly is one of those singers that has such a wonderfully pleasant voice. I really enjoy listening to him sing. It feels effortless and breezy, it just makes me smile. And, while he is listed as “various” in the liner notes, you can tell that there is some serious instrumentation embedded courtesy of this gent.
There is so much to be heard here on “Stars”. There are funny parts, there are serious parts, there are parts that are just simply good tunes played wonderfully by a host of phenomenal musicians that our community is damn lucky to have within it. On top of that list is Michael Spaly. A great collection put together by an even greater musician and songwriter.