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Mark Spiro - Traveling Cowboys

Mark Spiro
Traveling Cowboys
by Mike McMahan at 15 August 2021, 11:37 AM

Singer-songwriter Mark Spiro has remained quite the busy man over the last few decades. In between working on his own solo career, which began with the release of “In Stereo” in 1986, he has continued to be a prolific songwriter, producer, and collaborator; writing hits for such acts as BAD ENGLISH (“Heaven Is A 4 Letter Word”“Forget Me Not”), GIANTCHEAP TRICK (“Mighty Wings”, from the TOP GUN soundtrack) and KANSAS, amongst others. He has released several solo efforts during this time, as well, with Frontiers releasing a “Best Of” compilation titled “2+2=5 Best Of + Rarities” in 2020. “Traveling Cowboys”, released earlier this year and also on Frontiers, is his latest effort, and is a mixed bag of style, leaning from an almost modern Country approach to straight ahead Rock ‘n Roll.

The title cut, “Traveling Cowboys”, opens this album with an understated pop of clever lyricism and charm. This is one of the tracks that has an almost Country-tinged sound about it, reminiscent of some of the works of Amos Lee or Chris Stapleton, except for seeming to have computer driven drum beat throughout. The song misses the mark for me on most levels, with the attempted “Rap” midway through and the usage of prefabricated instrumentation killing any and all hope for me. It was a recurring theme for the remainder of this fifteen song release. The second song, “Rolls Royce”, is another let down, with the exception of some really good, though sparse, guitar work.

“Vanderpump” trys damned hard to be a rocker but would be more at home on modern corporate Country radio. The song represents to me all that is wrong with the music business today, from the ludicrous lyrical content to the aforementioned pre-fabricated musicianship. The song is simply a total loss. Julian Lennon, who Spiro has had some writing success in the past, makes a guest appearance on “7 Billion People”. Again, the song misses the mark for me, on a musical note, and no amount of decent lyricism or phenomenal guitarist Tim Pierce’s help can save it.

I expected much more from Mark Spiro, considering his past work as both a solo performer and songwriter. It was a terrible let down, and possibly the worst release I have heard this year.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

1. Traveling Cowboys
2. Rolls Royce
3. Vanderpump
4. Going
5. 7 Billion People (featuring Julien Lennon)
6. Someone Else
7. Kingdom Come
8. I Ain’t Leaving
9. Between The Raindrops (Revisited)
10. Dance
11. Feel Like Me
12. Let The Wind Decide
13. Nothing In Between Us
14. The Fisherman 3 2020
15. Still
Mark Spiro
Tim Pierce
Gia Sky
Record Label: Frontiers Music srl


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