Leah And The Moonlighters
Hometown: Austin TX
It seems nowadays we have endless devices that play music- iPods, iPhones, iPads, even those little bedside iClocks. But finding good new music to put in them can be a challenge. Adventurous listeners, hungry for something more than the usual Black Eyed Peas with a side of Gaga, often find themselves frustrated trying to navigate through the increasingly fractured world of independent music. When you do find that undiscovered gem it’s particularly rewarding.
Such is the case with the self-titled debut from Leah and the Moonlighters. Their genre-bending ensemble performances are at once sophisticated and infectious, and the musicianship is top-notch.
The Moonlighters feature singer-violinist Leah Zeger and guitarist Aaron Goldfarb, leading a band of first-call Austin musicians. The fourteen original compositions blend elements of Jazz, Pop, Rock, and Folk, into a classic mosaic of American roots-music.
The CD kicks off with the upbeat-yet-romantic “If It’s Not You” and leads into the engaging story-song “Take Him Back.” “Parker and Shorter” is reminiscent of classic Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell, paying homage to musical legends while forging fresh stylistic ground.
The compositional elements of the songs keep the listener engaged but not fatigued. “The Day Before,” for example, morphs effortlessly from a cool Funk groove with tight horn refrains, into atmospheric guitar passages. The achingly beautiful “Like a Ghost” blends Zeger’s haunting vocals with a rolling 5/4 pulse from drummer Graeme Francis. And the Alt-Country crooning of “South Side Boys” gets its soul from Zeger’s pizzicato violin and plaintive voice.
The musicianship and songwriting on the album are consistently excellent. Aaron Goldfarb delivers a world-class performance, displaying a soulful intensity on the acoustic and electric guitar. Leah Zeger fronts the band on vocals and violin with style and authority. Her voice, at times sweet, becomes suddenly powerful, and her impressive range allows the songs to realize their emotional potential. And it’s perhaps the songs themselves that make the biggest statement. Zeger and Goldfarb are a tremendous songwriting team, weaving melodies and stories that hold up to repeat listening. And these days having great music you can listen to over and over is a valuable commodity, whether you’re listening to it on an audiophile stereo system… or your iClock.
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