Angie Aparo rose to prominence when country diva Faith Hill covered his song “Cry” in 2002. The success of the song for Hill wasn’t enough to save Aparo’s deal with Arista/Melisma after poor sales of his debut effort The American, but no doubt flush from his royalty income from “Cry”, Aparo is carrying on regardless.
For Stars and Moon is much less polished than the Matt Serletic-produced The American and has a more organic sound, but this proves to be a comfortable fit for Aparo’s warm voice and simple, yet deeply affecting singer-songwriter tunes.
Upon first listen, you may wonder where all Aparo’s trademark melodies have disappeared to, as a more restrained production means you have to dig a little deeper to truly appreciate the Atlanta native’s songwriting this time around. But those melodies are there alright, and when they reveal themselves in glorious style on the likes of “Sweet Loretta”, “Child of the Revolution”, and the wonderful “She’s Alright By Me”, you wonder why you ever thought that Aparo had lost his knack.
Opening with the rootsy “Hard Woman to Love”, Aparo’s stripped-back, down-home rootsy approach is immediately revealed with some harmonica flourishes and honky tonk piano, but the beauty and simplicity inherent in the majority of Aparo’s compositions is still clearly evident in his songwriting.
The delicate ballad “Broken” is probably closest in style to the material on The American, while “Suicide” is something of a new direction for Aparo — dark, atmospheric, and gloomy; a fitting vibe for a song detailing Aparo’s response to those responsible for the awful events of September 11th.
“Falling Leaves” has a classic ’70s edge to it as its uplifting, Chicago-esque chorus demonstrates. “Shine On” returns to a more rootsy feel with some delicate piano and clear, crisp vocals. “Love” hints at a more soulful approach and boasts some typically honest lyrics: “I had a lot of money / I was not free / I had a lot of honey / From all the honey bees / Had all I ever wanted / But not what I need / I had everything / It was my disease”.
Aparo’s focus on the universal themes of grief, loss, and the human condition is explained by the passing of six of his family members during the recording of For Stars and Moon and the album is a classic singer-songwriter’s: reflective, brutally hones, and naked in its emotive power.
I doubt For Stars and Moon will see Aparo return to the heights his career reached a couple of years ago, but this is an album made on Aparo’s terms of which he can be justifiably proud, which is both cathartic for him and immensely enjoyable for the listener.