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Gerry Spehar

Gerry Spehar is a man on a mission. Following up his critically acclaimed albums, I Hold Gravity, Anger Management, Lady Liberty and Delta Man, the Colorado singer songwriter guitar picker is back with Other Voices, a double album celebrating four decades of songs brought to life by an all-star cast of great singers: Teresa James, Dale Watson, Lisa McKenzie, Gary Lynn Floyd and Lisa Daye. A songwriters dream team!

The album is packed with  renowned Nashville and LA session players: Strings Greg Leisz (Clapton, Cocker), Dan Dugmore (Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor), John David, Jay Dee Maness (The Byrds, Buck Owens), George Marinelli (Bonnie Raitt), Rick Plant, John Thomas; Keyboards Pete Wasner (Vince Gill), Chris Tuttle (Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell), Dennis Wage (Delbert McClinton), Mike Carr, Jim King; Bass Michael Rhodes (Mark Knopfler, Joe Bonamassa), Mark Prentice (Elvis Costello, John Fogerty); Drums Lonnie Wilson (Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn), Vince Santoro (Rascals), Michael J. Dohony and Stephen Croes (Fleetwood Mac, Kenny Loggins).

 

Produced by Spehar, Other Voices is an impressive feat: An eclectic journey through songs that soar from poignant to humorous; from love to regret to desire to foolish pride to politics to death; from acoustic folk to Nashville twang to LA roots rock to New Orleans swamp to jazzy soul ballad. Grammy winning mixing and mastering aces Alfonso Rodenas and Emerson Mancini make marvelous sense of its twenty tracks.

The songs are undeniably catchy and a compelling listen - some are collaborations with songwriting partners Bobby Allison and Mike Becker. And the same description of Gerry's previous releases applies: The spirit of the 70s, fresh and unbattered. 

Other Voices is dedicated to its cast of great singers and players who reached into the heart of its songs and made them dance, and to the incomparable Paul Lacques who co-produced I Hold Gravity, Anger Management and Lady Liberty. The heavens have gained a great one; take care of him. 

Gerry Spehar is from an old Crested Butte, Colorado pioneer family--coal miners, ranchers and homesteaders. He was born and raised in Grand Junction, and as a young man worked on his uncle and grandfather’s ranch punching cattle and farming. Uncle Will gave him his first guitar, a Stella, when Gerry was 13. He immediately started writing songs and practiced like a fiend, absorbing Mississippi John Hurt finger style guitar and drinking in everyone from Haggard to Hendrix. 

 

    Gerry lived the late 60s dream, hitchhiking  between CU Boulder and home. When his 1968 study abroad in Bordeaux France was interrupted by the student revolution, Gerry bummed all over Europe, playing in train stations and cafes, living off tips. He came home to his college sweetheart Sue and got serious about music, resuming a duo with his brother George, then in a country rock band with brothers George and Tom. 

 

    The Spehar Brothers were the buzz of the mountain club circuit, opening for Boz Scaggs, Ian & Sylvia, John Fahey and Townes Van Zandt. Bill and Bonnie Hearne cut Gerry's song "Georgetown" with Nanci Griffith contributing backing vocals. Things were happening. 

When Sue got pregnant with their second child, Gerry put on his only straightjacket—gray mohair— walked into a bank and got a job. For a few years he juggled music and day gig in Denver, winning the Regional Wrangler Country Showdown with partner Bobby Allison and playing the finals at the Grand Ole Opry, landing a publishing deal with Buzz Cason (“Everlasting Love”), returning often to Nashville to play the Bluebird and push his tunes, opening for Merle Haggard. 

 

The day gig won. Gerry got a fat job in LA and gave up performing to raise a family. But he never put the guitar down, amassing hundreds of tunes in late night sessions in the man cave, recording demos with Nashville and LA hotshots, looking for the hit. 

 

In 2000, Gerry produced and played on a tribute album to his brother George – For Always. The record featured renowned instrumentalists Greg Leisz, Pete Wasner, Mark Casstevens, Milton Sledge, Bob Wray and Sam Broussard, and was recorded and mixed by the legendary George Massenberg. 

 

Gerry and Sue did things right, raised two brilliant daughters, made a home that welcomed all. Thirty years on, they became songwriting partners, chronicling their cross country drives, their mountain heritage, and an LA to Texas landscape filled with shrimpers, dynamiters and wildcatters, wrestlers, roughnecks, overambitious farmers, and Monsanto lawyers – the 2017 album I Hold Gravity. 

Sue passed from cancer as Gerry and friends were finishing I Hold Gravity. All were lucky enough to share her grace, and to know that she heard the songs brought to completion in her last days. Gerry went on to release three more critically acclaimed albums: Trump protest album Anger Management in 2018, Lady Liberty celebrating Biden’s victory in 2021 and the retrospective Delta Man with Bobby Allison in 2022. (Reviews below) 

 

I Hold Gravity, Anger Management, Lady Liberty and Delta Man may prove to be folk country and protest classics. Other Voices is another new direction for Gerry Spehar, fearless as always. 

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