Luke Spehar is a Minnesota born musician. His latest release ‘The Pilgrim’ is an elegant and thoughtful collection of songs about love, life at home and his journey touring. His Folk/Americana style of music is a refreshing new look at these pre-existing and much loved genres.
‘The Pilgrim’ opens with the superb track ‘The Farmer’, documenting the story of a working farmer. The story unravels well showcasing Spehar’s exceptional composition abilities. This is followed by, ‘America and Me’ which is an extremely special song. It opens with the sparsely heard spoons being played followed by Spehars’ travis picking on an acoustic guitar. This style can be heard throughout the song which exhibits how special his guitar playing truly is. It is fast, accurate and foot tapping. ’America and Me’ is catchy in nature and when the banjo enters the song is lifted to a new dimension. Melodically, the song flows freely while allowing the organic nature of the other instruments to be absorbed by the listener.
There is also gorgeous guitar picking to be heard on, ‘Love Songs and Lullabies’. On this track there is also the alluring addition of an accordion. ‘Time with you’ feels honest and heartfelt. Spehar’s talent feels immeasurable and shines bright on this piece of work. We also adored the title track, ‘The Pilgrim’. It has an accapella opening followed by Spehar’s signature finger picking making it unmistakably him.
The production on the record is of an extremely high standard. As they should be, the main stars are the vocals and acoustic guitar. Both of which are at the forefront of the mix so the listener can hear and feel the thoughtful and well composed lyrics. Spehar’s guitar is rich and full of bass with the mid and higher tones still shining through. His style of guitar playing reminds us of Bert Jansch and Roy Harper but he puts his own unique reflection into it. Spehar’s voice is substantial and appealing with intoxicating qualities. He is able to draw the listener in and speak directly to them.
There is sparse backing instrumentation throughout the album. There are accompanying strings, brass, bass, percussion and even (the previously mentioned) spoons to be heard. However, these instruments are very much in the background weaving their way in and out when necessary, always enhancing and never intruding.
There is also a brilliant and insightful documentary which accompanies ‘The Pilgrim’ this can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cqZ5IYzbOo&feature=youtu.be
It really gives you an intimate look into Spehar’s thought processes, background to the album and his life as a special added bonus.
Luke Spehar really is a special artist to discover, so if you do just one thing today make sure you check out this brilliant artist.
Reviewed by FVReviews August 2018