Mark Spiro - Devotion

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited November 2022 in Year-1997

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ARTIST: Mark Spiro
ALBUM: Devotion
LABEL: MTM Music
SERIAL: 199630
YEAR: 1997
CD REISSUE: 1998, Victor Japan, VICP-60243

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Mark Spiro - vocals, all instruments * Dann Huff, Michael Thompson, Tim Pierce - guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 My Devotion * 02 Rhythm Of You * 03 The Rain Came Tumblin' Down * 04 Time Keeps Ticking * 05 Love Is War * 06 Kiss The World Away * 07 Sunset City * 08 Better With A Broken Heart * 09 Campbell River Road * 10 Valdez * 11 Don't Leave Me In Love * 12 Guardian Angel * 13 Desert Bloom

Background

Mark Spiro is in the elite division of songwriters for the hard rock genre, without question. He's written a ton of material made popular by many artists over the years. As a result, he's picked up gold album awards and other accolades in his 30+ years in the industry.

Interestingly, despite the success he has generated in the U.S, all of his solo records and CD's have been released in foreign countries; namely Sweden and Germany. Why is that? Perhaps that's a question to pose to the great man one day.

The 90's saw a brace of albums released by Spiro. Arguably his best came in between the years 1996 to 1999. We'll look at this 1997 release 'Devotion' in more detail. Joining Spiro are three of the best guitarists in the business: Michael Thompson, Dann Huff and Tim Pierce, all legends without equal.

The Songs

There are some pearler songs here. Dann Huff contributes a few, such as the Giant like 'Time Keeps Ticking', or how about the woodblocks stolen from 'I'm A Believer' and re-rendered on 'Love is War'. The guitar solo is a bit of a killer too!

'Better With A Broken Heart' will be familiar to Stephen Bishop fans, as it was rewritten as 'Kari' on his 1989 LP 'Bowling In Paris'. Both versions sound great to me. 'The Rain Came Tumblin' Down' rides the darker edge of melody, coupled with Spiro's introspective lyrics makes this a repeat listen.

There's a couple of songs that are heavily programmed but still come out on the right side of the ledger. Some examples include 'Kiss The World Away' and 'Desert Bloom'. Fans of Fake ID may enjoy 'Guardian Angel' as it sounds a lot like 'Heartbreak Moon'.

A couple of slower moments are exquisite, 'Sunset City' is an example of what might happen if Michael Thompson Band and Giant join forces. OMG, perish the thought! 'Don't Leave Me In Love' is another soft and slow burn tempter, a late night contender.. where's the coffee?

For something different, 'Campbell River Road' drives down the path already created by the likes of Bruce Hornsby And The Range, very organic and mid-west.

In Summary

'Devotion' is one of the better albums of 1997, a year that didn't have a lot to show for it to be honest (Frontline's 'Heroes' the notable exception).

Spiro released one more album for MTM Music: 1999's 'The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of', before moving on to Swedish label Atenzia Records for a couple of releases in 2003 and 2005, albeit in a west coast vein.

Still a going concern after a health scare, Spiro was recently signed to Georg Siegl's AOR Heaven label.


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