Music Matters Review

Peter Gallway—Muscle and Bone
2015, Gallway Bay Music

The sound of this album is somewhat of a departure for Peter Gallway. Over the years he has shown himself to be a master of quiet arrangements and eloquent spaces between notes. On many of the tracks on this album he fills the spaces with keyboard chords, overdubbed vocals and drum samples. This denser texture is well-suited to songs that deal with the complex and intense issues of the day. “Downtown Ferguson” marches head-on into the emotions behind the headline shooting. The roiling rhythm of the song boils the tragedy down to its most basic element, “Fear, shot from a gun.” “Hymn,” by contrast, is just piano and vocal as Gallway seems to answer the despair of "Downtown Ferguson" with a call to express spirituality, to “help us through the night.” “Tear Something Down” is complex, with rage juxtaposed with a desire for sanctuary and peace. “Reversal” traces the echoes of hatred from the holocaust into the present. Gallway presents no easy answers to the mysteries written in muscle and bone and spirit, yet the diverse flow of sound and emotion of this album points towards a credible hope for the future. This is best seen in a chanted quote from Mahatma Ghandi heard in “Downtown Ferguson” and in the last song, “Blow This World.” “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words/ Your words become your actions, your actions become your habits./ Your habits become your values, your values become your destiny./ When I despair I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won./ There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they can seem invincible./ But in the end they always fall.” The complexity of it all is beautifully expressed in Muscle and Bone.—Michael Devlin