Greetings fellow audiophiles! It seems it’s been a while since I’ve been able to add my humble contributions to The Indie Blender (actually it’s my first post since our gigantic overhaul), and with the summer wrapping up I am eager to get right back into a new season of blogging goodness. Recently my wanderings took me down south to Guatemala, which would explain my month-long absence from this wonderful space, but now it’s time to return to my usual musical wanderings from the comfort of my Canadian home. So, what better way to get back into it than a little write-up about a musician soon to be performing at the Ottawa Folk Festival. For those of you who are not familiar with this little Fest, it will take place over five days starting tonight and running all weekend at Hog’s Back Park. The lineup that FolkFest manages to bring in every year is absolutely stellar, with this year no exception. To give you a little taste, I present Leif Vollebekk, the bluesy, soulful, pensive, and introspective Montreal folk singer.
Leif Vollebekk admirably fills the role of travelling folk musician and storyteller. His second LP, North Americana, is a compilation of poetic tales from the road that describe people and places in Canada, the US, and even worlds as far and remote as Iceland. Leif’s colourful stories seem to be effortlessly brought to life by a voice that is gentle but at the same time full of power and character. He lets his words roll over a scene created by the folk musician’s best friends; the acoustic guitar, the piano, and of course a rough and beaten harmonica. While these are Leif’s typewriters of choice, he is backed by a band that equals the care and deliberation he puts into every chord, making sure that every drum line, every anchor in the double bass, every note of the fiddle, matches the precise rise and fall of each story.
North Americana seems to channel the stylings and spirit of Bob Dylan, Neil Young (the unfortunate Folk Festival cancellation), and Joni Mitchell. Still at the beginnings of his career, Leif Vollebekk is set to carry on the traditions in musical poetry in a way that brings about a feeling of great nostalgia for anyone who will take the time to focus on his beautifully constructed yet simple tunes. At the moment my favourite songs on the record would be “When the Subway Comes Above the Ground” and “Takk Somuleidis”.
My first exposure to Leif Vollebekk came when I was in Montreal checking out a Plants and Animals show. Leif was opening but I was only able to catch the last few songs of his set. What I heard immediately impressed me, and I wished I had a chance to catch the full set. Now that opportunity will come again at the Ottawa Folk Festival. He will be opening my day on Saturday at 2:00 PM. I have no doubt that he will kick start a phenomenal day which includes Mac Demarco, Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Sheepdogs, and The Avett Brothers. For all my readers in Ottawa: do not miss this festival! For my Montreal readers: make sure to catch Leif Vollebekk at POP Montreal this year!
And with that, it’s great to be back at The Indie Blender