Sally Spring – Made Of Stars

January 01, 1970



Like some of her better-known peers (Tift Merritt, Allison
Moorer, buzzed-about newcomer Jessica Lea Mayfield), North Carolina’s Sally
Spring’s stock-in-trade is soulful, twangy/strummy Americana infused with
classic folk-rock and lined around the edges with luminous country. That she’s
operated more or less under the commercial radar despite issuing a quartet of
albums warmly received by tastemakers among the American press and radio corps
is a bit of a crime, but save your tears, fans – this time will be the charm,
as Made Of Stars is a wondrous affair
indeed, boasting crystalline, radio-ready sound and brimming with the kind of
palpable emotion that you rarely find on contemporary recordings.


 The album builds upon
the strengths of 2006’s Mockingbird,
which earned her comparisons to Sandy Denny and Linda Thompson, additionally boasts
a coterie of gifted, intuitive players that includes hubby/producer Ted Lyons,
Graham Maby, Chris Stamey (who also mixed the tracks), James Mastro, Fred
Smith, Gurf Morlix, Susan Cowsill, Peter Holsapple, Caitlin Cary, Harvey Gold,
Fernando Saunders and Jack Lawrence. Among the obvious standout cuts: “Mattie,”
a part-brooding, part-celebratory number patterned after classic Fairport Convention
updates of vintage Brit-folk (“I’ve nothing left to barter/ I must cross this
great water”) and powered by Lyons’ resonator guitar; “Lake Pontchartrain,” a Spring-Holsapple
tribute to New Orleans bearing a Joni Mitchell lilt; “Made 0f Stars,” an elegant
meditation on the power of memory (and how it can keep you young if you just
believe in that power) featuring a modest-but-moving string arrangement; and
unexpected covers of Johnny Cash, Willie Dixon and Los Lobos (the latter, “Short
Side Of Nothing,” is a terrific showcase for Spring’s core band of Lyons, Maby
and Mastro).


Throughout, though, it’s the Spring voice that keeps you
circling back to the tunes. Blessed with the sweetest tremble you’ve heard
since your mama sang you to sleep as a child, it’s instantly familiar, and
intimate, in the best possible way. Even during these cold, bitter days of
winter, that voice will crack open the walls of your heart and bring to it a
warm, lasting glow. Can you feel the heat?


of Stars,” Mattie,” “Short Side Of Nothing” FRED MILLS

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