(4 / 5)
You want different? You crave an artist with a distinctive voice and his own sound? You long for lyrics that mean something from a writer with something to say worth hearing? Me too.
Lucky I found this guy then, US artist Peter Gallway, and his striking piece of work “Feels Like Religion”. One of those that on first listen….hmmmm, not sure about this one. But it stays with you, gets under your skin and you hear the man’s voice in your head a good while later.
Second listen and you are sold. A few more spins and you really get it. The simplicity of the production values, the strength and impact of the vocal, and the power of the material across all 11 tracks, penned by Peter – one cut a co-write with Annie Gallup.
But the voice has a mysterious quality to it that draws you in to want to know more, and holds your attention. There’s a life lived in that vocal tone and timbre. Tales to tell. Sights seen, sadness overcome, joy fulfilled. Writ large in these songs and that voice.
Called “a master of free verse” by one US ‘paper, Peter Gallway has released more than 20 albums on various labels including Warner and Reprise, as well as independent labels. A founding member of The Fifth Avenue Band, his most recent solo release ”Muscle & Bone” was his most politically impassioned work to date.
Along with iconic singer songwriter Annie Gallup, Peter Gallway has collaborated on six album projects in as many years as the duo Hat Check Girl. Their most recent collection ”Two Sides To Every Story” this year attracting positive reviews. The pair currently at work on a new project due for release in 2018.
In addition to his solo and band recordings, California-based Gallway has produced more than 50 albums and special projects, such as the Grammy-nominated ”Bleecker Street : Greenwich Village In The ‘60s”, featuring Chrissie Hynde and Jonathan Brooke, and ”Time And Love : The Music Of Laura Nyro”, featuring Suzanne Vega and Jane Siberry.
He has produced projects for singer songwriters Laura Nyro, Cliff Eberhardt, Annie Gallup, Louise Taylor, Aztec Two-Step, Wendy Beckerman, and Japan’s Bread & Butter, to name a few. He has had his music featured in film and theatre, and his songs performed and recorded by Bette Midler, Kenny Rogers, Cliff Eberhardt, Bread & Butter, Kalapana and many others.
“Feel Like Religion” is his 60’s R&B influenced ode to New York City and the world, then and now. It opens with a confident and convincing title cut. Tom Petty-esque in vocal attitude, on the lovely “Tonight At The Fair”. There’s a sniff of David Byrne vibes on “Longing Lasts Longer”, before the groovy “Shorty Moves On”, dipping into Steely Dan jazz- tinged territory.
Perhaps subtle nods to the likes of Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, his voice also kept taking my mind back to the singer with The Cars, Ric Ocasek. There’s a vulnerability and a melancholic edge to Peter’s delivery, and it gives this material an emotional connection.
Kind of like Peter is going through a photo album in his mind, and bringing back lots and lots of memories; good and bad, about his time in New York with this material. A mental stock take of his life thus far…
If you look at the cover of Laura Nyro’s classic 1969 album, “New York Tendaberry”, it shows a photograph of Laura on her penthouse terrace on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Peter used to go to visit her there and they’d sing new songs to each other.
“Feels Like Religion”, is inspired by and dedicated to Laura, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 49 from ovarian cancer, which also claimed her mother at the same age. Peter says: “She changed my life in countless ways; some of which took a very long time”.
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’