Sunday, February 13, 2011
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: JERRY LEGER - TRAVELING GREY
Raves for this Toronto roots songwriter keep pouring in. Already a favourite of Ron Sexsmith and Fred Eaglesmith, Leger's quietly been building an impressive body of work. Now on his fourth disc, Traveling Grey is the one that puts it all together. There's the country flavour, the images, the strong instrumentation of his group The Situation, the mix of old-time and alternative, and more. Leger has a lot of tricks and a lot going for him.
The disc was done quickly, and passionately, partially with the band and partially acoustic with gentle backing. It's pointless to stick an overall genre onto the disc, as you'll get a gentle ballad in the songwriter style, a parlour piano number, cuts with a fiddle weaving through, or a darker rocker with electric leads. For such a young fellow, he's got quite the world-weary twang, but you can tell it's real, not a made-up voice to match the material. In fact, there's nothing to suggest he's trying to channel the past for effect. This is simply Leger's music.
Best of all, for a lyrics fan, is the knowledge that another strong wordsmith has established himself. The groove on some tracks, and the mood throughout, is so strong, that it's easy just to sit back and enjoy the performance, but behind that is a writer pouring his heart into his work. Touching and true, never hokey or banal, this is the stuff that is so familiar, you keep straining to hear the influences, but of course, he's a combination of everything, and a complete individual.