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ALBUM REVIEW: "Anger Management" by Gerry Spehar

Richard Barnes / Christine Spehar
"Anger Management" is Gerry Spehar's second studio album.
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ALBUM REVIEW: Anger Management by Gerry Spehar (independent) 2018

In all honesty, before hearing Anger Management by longtime singer-songwriter Gerry Spehar, I was unfamiliar with his ramblin’ life and his whip-smart sensibilities and concern for his fellow human beings.

But Anger Management won me over after one listen.

So, following 2017's critically-acclaimed I Hold Gravity, featuring backing by the roots-rock band I See Hawks in LA, the current band of singer-songwriter Robert Rex Waller, Jr.

And while that former album was more about the unique cross-section of working-class folks and scoundrels and everyone in between, Spehar decided to put up a musical mirror to the current political nightmare unfolding daily under the toxic Trumpenfuhrer.

So, from the bluegrass notes that kick off “Thank You Donald,” a song about an American patriot at the end of his rope – and when he learns of Trump’s victory on Election Day 2016, decides to go on living and fight the bastard, tooth and nail! - to "Pearl Harbor," a folksy call for world peace, Spehar wonders if we will all finally decide to get along.

Oh, and on the former track, "Thank You Donald," I must say that banjo player John David’s plucking really add a lot to this track.

But it’s Spehar’s gritty passion that make Anger Management so kick ass! From the autobiographical “Son of an Immigrant” to "Freedom to Grab," about a misogynistic jerk grabbing at his wife's you-know-what, cuz, after all, it's ok if the president does it. 

Some of the standout tracks are “Except for the Bomb,” about the menacing silence of a Dakota nuclear missile silo to my absolute favorite – “Bitch Heaven” – a modern-day take on Woody Guthrie’s “Old Man Trump” which eviscerates the orange-faced buffoon now occupying the Oval Office.

Spehar sings: “I’m taking Woody to the end of my days / Ain’t no amount of money Old Man Trump can pay / Gonna change my mind, turn this ship around / Yeah, I’m takin’ Woody cause he’s standin’ on moral ground.”

And speaking of moral ground, Spehar wraps up Anger Management with "What Would Jesus Do?" and wondering aloud if Jesus would "build a wall," "wear a gun," "turn little kids away?" or "Vote for Trump"? I think we know the answer to Spehar's questions.

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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