Kevin Galloway

REVIEW: Kevin Galloway Steps Out With Beautiful New Solo Album

photo by Mary Bruton

“I’m feeling pretty humbled and grateful these days,” says former Uncle Lucius frontman turned celebrated solo artist Kevin Galloway “I’m very comfortable being on my own, and I’m enjoying the more intimate shows and the opportunity to dig into the stories behind the songs. I’ve always gravitated towards songs that I can connect to on a personal level, so this is perfect for me.”

Secondhand Starlight is Galloway’s second solo album, following a productive decade-and-a-half run as charismatic frontman of the beloved Austin, TX combo Uncle Lucius. The ten-song set continues Galloway’s emergence as one of his home state’s most distinctive and compelling vocalists and songwriters, with a personally charged edge that consistently gives his compositions an effortless emotional resonance.

Secondhand Starlight consolidates the creative strengths that Galloway honed in his years with Uncle Lucius. By the time they disbanded in 2018, the group had released four acclaimed albums and earned a fiercely loyal grass roots fan base, thanks to its powerful, eclectic live shows, and to such enduring songs as the hit Galloway anthem Keep the Wolves Away which was certified Gold by the RIAA three years after Uncle Lucius disbanded.

Throughout Secondhand Starlight, the organic emotional forthrightness of such Galloway compositions as “Not That Far Removed,” “Unavailable” (“I still want you … let’s talk about us…. I still love you.”), “We Row” and the infectious “Like Before” should ring a bell with listeners familiar with his work with Uncle Lucius, exploring the artist’s longstanding pet themes of love, commitment and expectation.

In “Sweet Highs and Lows” he advises to “just let ’em roll” as his vocals reach up above the clouds and his observations on sticking with the one you love.  Secondhand Starlight, recorded at Austin’s E.A.R. Studio, continues Galloway’s productive collaboration with his former Uncle Lucius bandmate Hal Vorpahl, who handled the new album’s production, as well as contributing a pair of memorable songs, “Long As It Shines” and “Been Threw A Few.” A third non-Galloway composition is the Shel Silverstein classic “Whistlers and Jugglers,” best known for Waylon Jennings’ 1978 version.  Galloway shines in his raw, hushed version.

To provide backup on the Secondhand Starlight sessions, Galloway called upon Austin’s own Doug Strahan and the Good Neighbors, local favorites led by guitar hero Strahan, whose skill and chemistry add immeasurably to the material. Adding their voices to the mix are two of Austin’s most celebrated young female singer-songwriters, Kelley Mickwee and Jamie Lin Wilson.

Having won widespread praise for his first solo effort, 2018’s The Change, Galloway approached Secondhand Starlight with a free-spirited attitude that’s reflected in the album’s organic performances.

”I went into the studio with an ease in my approach,” Galloway reports, adding, “These tunes were recorded in multiple two or three day sessions, once a month, over an eight-month period. My initial thought was to put out an EP, but things changed when I realized how fun and rewarding the process was.

“I’d give the tunes to the band, then we’d get together and work out specifics the day before the session. It was an old-school process; we recorded everything in the room together and used the best overall takes. I’ve known the band for a few years and they’re real pros, so that made things easy and fun. Also, I branched out on this project by playing guitar and singing live with the band, which is a first for me.”

Galloway’s emotional gritty vocals take fluid twists and dives, and then emerge on sometimes powerful, sometimes gentle, lilting inflections on every song he sings.  The band is thoughtful, bluesy, Americana gold.  Secondhand Starlight is out June 24th on Nachile / Nine Mile Records.
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Check out the official music video for “Like Before” :


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