Friday, January 15, 2010

Shout out: Leif Vollebekk.

Montreal (by way of Ottawa) folkie Leif Vollebekk was recently signed to Nevado Records, which will re-release his debut album, Inland, on 19 January. And it's about time. The 10-track stunner was self-released a couple years back, but it's great that it will now get into a few more hands, on both CD and vinyl.

I first saw Leif at a No Shame show back in the winter of 2008, and he really made an impression. (This is what I thought then.) In addition to his prowess with a loop pedal---a sure way to win me over---what struck me was Leif's unique voice. He understands the importance of balancing strength and vulnerability in singing, harnessing both elements with rare skill for such a young performer. He's got a gorgeous vibrato, impressive range, and a keen attention to volume. His songs are stories beautifully sung and arranged for guitar, violin, piano, banjo, and the occasional harmonica and percussion appearance.

is worth listening to in its entirety, over and over again, perhaps most on cold, winter nights. Here are a couple tracks to get you started:

Download: "Northernmost Eva Maria"
Download: "Don't Go to Klaksvik"

Leif's performed a good number of times in Toronto over the past couple of years, but not usually in settings that are well-suited to him. Properly staged, a Leif show is moving, something to treasure. It's also entertaining: the man is hilarious, and quick to laugh with a wide grin and twinkle in his eye. Next Friday, 22 January, he'll be at the Cameron House. I suggest you get yourself there, have a class of wine, and prepare to be enthralled.

Here's where else you can catch him this winter:

Jan. 16 @ Cafe Deckuf, OTTAWA
Jan. 19 @ The Mansion, KINGSTON
Jan. 21 @ Phog Lounge, WINDSOR
Jan. 22 @ Cameron House, TORONTO
Jan. 28 @ In the Dead of the Winter Festival, HALIFAX
Jan. 29 @ Cafe Aberdeen, MONCTON
Jan. 30 @ Cafe Ampersand, CHARLOTTETOWN
Feb. 6 @ Blacksheep Inn, OTTAWA (*In the Dead of Winter Festival)
Feb. 12 @ L'Astral, MONTREAL (w. Basia Bulat)
Feb. 13 @ First Baptist Church, OTTAWA (w. Basia Bulat)
Feb. 27 @ Casa Del Popolo, MONTREAL
More tour dates to be announced soon.

No comments: