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MP3 Brian Spahr - Deeper

Modern, acoustic/folk with Christian spiritual overtones.

12 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, POP: Folky Pop

Brian Spahr is a postmodern, christian, acoustic singer/songwriter. His songs dig deep and reflect the ups and downs of life and love and faith. Check out this review:


It was one of "those" days. I was having difficulty focusing on work, so I popped the trunk, loaded Brian Spahr''s Deeper into my CD player, and hit the road. The sky was cloudy and slate gray as I drove along a road next to the Missouri River. The large trees silhouetted beautifully against a backdrop of bluffs and running water. As Spahr''s voice softly and easily wafted through the car speakers, I was stirred by the correlation of his music with the simple beauty of the river front.

Niagara Falls and The Grand Canyon overwhelm. Their beauties smack you right between the eyes. Appreciating such wonders is easy. Contrast that with the sparse, unadorned beauty of trees without leaves on a cold winter''s day. Here, we find subtle beauty, like the music of Brian Spahr. Deeper features Spahr and his capable acoustic guitar with an occasional drum beat, lonely bass guitar, or stray accordion. It''s as if Spahr has implemented a "no more than two instruments per song rule".

Upon my first listen, I was intrigued. By the third listen, I was a fan. Brian Spahr''s music might best be delivered and appreciated in a house concert with a small cluster of close friends. Appropriately, Spahr leads a group of like-minded artists in a cooperative circle called https://www.tradebit.com, devoted to promoting little known, but talented acoustic artists. If this style of music is your bag, you may wish to read Brian A. Smith''s review of the Living Room https://www.tradebit.com compilation CD called Keepsakes at https://www.tradebit.com

"Empty Church" is a haunting, poignant song in which the writer considers the past of an old, abandoned church. Spahr paints such revealing word pictures, you feel as if you are sitting in that old dusty pew with him. The tone of the song spawns a deep heartache as we realize the demise of this church was probably not a happy event, but a slow, painful, insidious process:

I look through the window of an old abandoned church, Somewhere close to nowhere, a little bit west of here. I wonder if there was a time when this place was alive, And if there was, I wonder how it died, how did it die?

The question, "Did everybody move away?" is delivered repeatedly with faint reverb, and an eerie, inexplicable harmony. That part gives me goose bumps. The song is probably meant to be taken literally although it could just as easily be taken as a metaphor for a disenchanted, carnal Christian.

The title cut, "Deeper," is a confessional that ponders the value of leaving what might be termed the comfort zone, for heightened significance and meaning. "Giants" boldly contemplates facing the scary monsters of life, literal and figurative, just as David courageously faced the tall Philistine. Jesus & Gepetto compare human life with that of Pinocchio. The track "Love Song "is not a cover of the old Love Song classic of the same name. No, this is another original Spahr composition which attempts to tie loose ends from an unrequited or unfulfilled love. It is written in Spahr''s restrained, yet straight-ahead style. Spahr shows a refreshing and hilarious sense of humor with "The Infomercial Song." Capturing humor in a song is a daunting challenge, but Spahr pulls it off with style and flair. "The Infomercial Song" is a gentle tongue-in-cheek poke at the Tony Robbins and George Foremans of the world.

Deeper features three bonus cuts, two of which come from out-of-print works. It''s interesting that both songs, "Even Me" and "Water" were recorded in one take. Was that a result of choice or chance? Considering Spahr''s obvious talent and the generally limited budget of an independent artist, it could be either or both. The other bonus track is referred to as "Deeper (Acoustic Version)". Hmm. That left me scratching my head, since the first version of "Deeper", in fact the entire CD, is acoustic.

Spahr''s vocal range and timbre doesn''t vary much. That''s fine by me because insincere vocal gymnastics often strain or taint an otherwise impressive performance. Spahr writes, sings, and plays within himself. He understands and accommodates his own strengths and weaknesses. His songs are unvarnished, but finely crafted and thoughtful. Although Spahr is a better than average guitarist, singer, and songwriter, he''s probably not a blue ribbon winner in any one of those arenas. As a total package though, his blended talents are far greater than their component parts.

Like the photograph on the front cover, Deeper is homespun and unpretentious. Nobody will ever refer to this album as over-produced. If you relish sparse, acoustic arrangements with little fanfare and embellishment, Deeper is for you. It''s honest, simple, and understated beauty.

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