Episode 186: Gerry Spehar
Air date: 7.12.2017
Gerry Spehar’s story is unlike many others’. The first part is pretty standard for a young, aspiring musician; he started out on a Stella guitar given to him by a kindly uncle, honed his chops and hit the road. There was some success - he bummed around Europe, playing anywhere that would have him, and he then returned home and formed The Spehar Brothers with his brother George. They worked hard, earned fans and opened for artists like Boz Scaggs and Townes Van Zandt - but Spehar hadn’t built the kind of career that prevented him from leaving the popular duo not long after he and his wife Sue learned that they had a second child on the way. Spehar’s selfless, courageous choice brought him another kind of success, this time in the banking world, thus providing a stable, financially secure life for his family and affording him the ability to buy a home as well as a nice guitar. He never stopped tinkering with songs, however, and when their kids were grown, Spehar and Sue began to write songs together, filling their compositions with imagery, characters, and real world experiences derived from their formative years growing up in the wilds of the Colorado Rocky Mountains as well as their own adventures traveling in the American West. But even after returning to music in earnest after a three-decade detour and tapping Los Angeles’ legendary band I See Hawks in L.A. to flesh out his songs in the studio, Spehar learned that life has a way of changing your tune. Sue passed away from cancer during the final stages of producing his long-awaited comeback album, I Hold Gravity. Her shadow and her spirit loom large over that now-completed album, and Spehar has dedicated his reinvigorated music career to the memory of Sue - his life partner and creative muse. I Hold Gravity is beautiful and fearless and it presents the kind of wisdom and perspective that can only come from someone who has the benefit of experience, and who knows that tragedy is part of life.