The Michael Spear Duo featuring Smiling Ed is a Philly-based duo and Philadelphia Folksong Society Music Co-op member, featuring multi-instrumentalist Smiling Ed and singer-songwriter, guitarist and occasional pianist Michael Spear. Michael is a prolific songwriter, having written over two thousand songs. Smiling Ed is a wizard of the strings including banjo, mandolin, dobro, guitar and bouzouki, and has studied with banjo legend Pete Wernick. Ed is a sought after sideman and plays with many local and regional acts including the Manatees.
Michael Spear Duo was a co-winner of the Godfrey Daniels 2016 best of Godfrey’s open mic and have played at Bethlehem’s Musikfest and multiple times at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Their home venues include Malelani Café, Philadelphia Folksong Society, WaR3house 3, and the Mermaid Inn. They are also long-time members of the decades old weekly unnamed night jam group, jamming regularly with a number of well-known local musicians including Phyllis Chapell of Siora; Jay Popky of Beaufort, and The Cornerstones; Katherine Rondeau; Ken Ulansey of the Ken Ulansey Ensemble; Stacy Weathers of The Cornerstones and other bands; and, Jefferson Berry of the Urban Acoustic Coalition—who included a cover of Michael’s “Circus Song” on the their 2018 EP.
Their all original songs cover topics such as the political system (“Get Back Hope,” “Children of the Corn”) USA-born children of immigrants (“Call Me An Immigrant”), juvenile criminal sentencing (“Life Without Parole”), freedom (“No More Russian Lullaby”), homelessness (“We Need A Home”), the #MeToo movement (“For All of the Hurt”), and Black Lives Matter (“Already Dead”). They aren’t just all doom and gloom and politics however. Funny songs (“Circus Song”) & love songs (“Done Fly Away in the Morning”) round out their traditional-sounding yet original tunes.
Like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/spearduo/