Onlyness is the self-titled debut and latest installment from upstate New York based singer-songwriter Rick Spataro. For anyone familiar with his previous work as the Firs or playing and producing in Florist (a collaborative effort between Spataro, multi-instrumentalist Jonnie Baker and the band’s songwriter, Emily Sprague), the tonal palette will come as no surprise. Soft pillowy snare drum and muted bass guitar contrasts with layers of vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, upright piano, analog synthesizers and other electronics. Spataro’s approach to writing his own songs emphasizes melody and lyric, with a production and orchestration style that aims to support the underlying song, rather than dress it up or drown it out. The words are plain and direct, equal parts sarcastic and sincere. Certain songs sound at home next to any of the country and Americana music that New York’s Hudson Valley is known for, while others lean more toward woody, vintage pop or depraved alt-rock. On this album, as seems to be the pattern, Spataro plays and records most of the instruments himself, but is helped graciously by a number of others. Longtime collaborator Jonnie Baker contributes heavily to the album, playing a variety of instruments. Paige Allen sings backup vocals, Eric Margan plays upright bass and flute, and Josh Marre of Blue Ranger plays lap steel.

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