There are voices and then there are voices. You can practice and take lessons all of your life but every once in awhile a voice is touched by God or possibly the result of superior genetics, and so it is with Sally Spring. Her voice has a clarity and tone only a few artists possess.
An independent artist before the term became popular, Sally Spring has been touring and recording for close to thirty years. She has kept company with such artists as Mama Cass, Doc Watson, Gene Parsons of The Byrds, Taj Mahal and many more. She falls into the singer/songwriter category with her sound embracing pop, country, and folk. She also composes most of her own material as she wrote or co-wrote eight of the eleven tracks contained here on Made Of Stars, her fifth studio album.
The music flows along gently but at times the lyrics have some bite to them. “Beautiful Ride” is a poignant song of love that still burns brightly after “a million miles from our first hello.” The title song is a positive look back at life and its possibilities, its music sounding a little more ambitious as she adds a cello and viola to the mix.
Spring’s choice of cover songs is eclectic yet effective. She transforms “Short Side Of Nothing” by Los Lobos into a simpler song. Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone” has been recorded dozens of times down through the years but her vocal and basic backing gives it a rare beauty. “It Don’t Make Sense,” by the great blues artist Willie Dixon, was recorded live and is probably a good example of her concert act. Backed by bass, percussion, and acoustic resonator, it proves that for her simple is best.
Several of her songs go in a different direction. “Summer’s End” tells the story of a town praying for reprieve from a drought yet the results are bleak. “Boys In The Cornfield” is an eternal story of the American Civil War. The battle of Antietam included the bloodiest single day of the Civil War with 23,000 casualties. Her imagery of the soldiers lying in the summer corn is vivid and chilling as it speaks to today’s generation.
Sally Spring has traveled a lot of miles during the course of her career. Her experience and talent has produced one of the better independent albums of the year. Made Of Stars deserves to find a wider audience.