Dreams & Reality Intermix in After
By Nick Tsui
When Aly Spaltro was a teen working behind the counter of a small town video store, she found her voice at night. She taught herself how to play guitar, banjo and bass, began writing her own songs and recording them.
“I started out making music for myself but a few months into making secret recordings, I chose to share them anonymously at the counter of my local record store, Bull Moose,” Spaltro says.
The stack of homemade CDs only had an email address on them. The idea was that whoever picked one up, would be doing it for the music alone, and not because it traced back to the “girl at the video counter.”
Now Spaltro is a name that even Rolling Stone magazine knows. Better known by her moniker, Lady Lamb, the 25-year-old’s unique brand of gritty and melodic folk rock was featured in RS as a singer/songwriter to know in 2015.
Not bad press for the Brunswick, Maine native whose sophomore album, After, was released March 3.
Personal experiences and dreams — from childhood memories to snapshots of family and friends — meet at a crossroads, forging an alternate reality.
“I like to mix reality and moments from dreams (her moniker came to her in a dream) to create a world that’s half-real, half-imaginary,” she says.
That might explain why the themes in After are all over the map — UFO sightings in Arizona, dying in a plane crash, questioning whether she was really born or not.
While each track may be its own entity, there is one thing above all else that remains constant throughout: sincerity. Through a soundscape rich in imagery and imagination, it’s clear Spaltro has grown as a musician who knows how to deliver her message.
“I’m not a drummer, but am proud that I was able to arrange the drums on this record, as well as tackle the bass live in addition to playing guitar. It was exciting to be able to go back to my early strategy of layering instruments to bring about the full arrangements.”
The first album Spaltro owned was The Beatles White Album on cassette. Her influences include Neutral Milk Hotel, Mama Cass, Kate Bush, and Stevie Nicks.
A Fender Jazzmaster is her go-to guitar.
“I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older that it can be tough to find the time to commit to mastering new skills, so I’m very glad I picked up the guitar when I had time to dedicate to it.”
Spaltro has appeared at SXSW and toured with Beruit. This month, she’s headed back out on the road with her bandmates to promote After throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Recently, she contributed an earlier song of hers, “Apple,” to an independent film called La Loteria. The song is credited to her retired stage name, “Lady Lamb the Beekeeper.”
Given her history as a video store clerk, Spaltro admits she’d love to do a film score or soundtrack. “It’s on my bucket list,” she says.
Asked about whether or not she’d ever consider writing songs for others, she shoots back, “I think it would be an interesting challenge to write concise, formulaic pop songs for others, but I couldn’t imagine writing ‘pop’ lyrics. I’d have to hand the song off to someone else for that! I am better at writing what inspires me personally and hope it resonates with others.”
3.07 The Sinclair Cambridge, MA
3.13 Port City Music Hall Portland, ME
4.03 Columbus Theater Providence, RI
4.04 Iron Horse Music Hall Northampton, MA
4.06 Signal Kitchen Burlington, VT
5.12 The Space Hamden, CT
5.13 The Press Room Portsmouth, NH