CANADA’S Leif Vollebekk is another excellent alt.folk singer-songwriter in a country that seems, these past few years, to produce them just for fun. Andy Shauf, Patrick Watson, Yves Jarvis, Sing Leaf … there’s so much delicate and necessary songsmithery being produced north of the 49th parallel.
He’s just released a digital two-track EP, “Long Blue Light”, the title track from which we’ve embedded for you below; please to find a rather excellent slice of laidback acoustic tunesmanship with a lovelorn slant and an effortless Jeff Buckley-like quality. Swoonsome.
It’s his first new material since his little two-tracker, Rest, back in the summer.
“Long Blue Light” is a brand-new original, while the second track is a cover of the Bon Iver song “29 #Stafford APTS”, from the album 22, A Million.
Leif explains: “‘Long Blue Light’ was recorded during the sessions for [2019 album] New Ways, live with just myself and a drummer, Homer Steinweiss.
“I had all but abandoned it but this year I kept coming back to it. I added some overdubs and had Cindy Cashdollar finish it off with a gorgeous dobro part.
“It was supposed to fade out but I rather liked how it just falls apart at the end.”
And of that cover on the flip: “When that Bon Iver album, 22, A Million, came out, it put something of a spell on me. It acted on me the way records of my youth did. I could take a walk in that record and see things. I still do.
“I started playing around with this song some December evening way up north, when the light of dusk lasts hours and hours and everything goes blue. The snow, the faces, the houses. The two songs are a bit wrapped up together.”
If you haven’t caught up with Leif yet (did you see him slay the tipi at End of the Road, 2013?), then his most recent album, New Ways, is a great place to start. He put it together with the more than capable help of fellow travellers Olivier Fairfield, of Timber Timbre, and Homer Steinweiss, of The Dap-Kings.
It was a sonic documentation of everything that Leif felt at the time; tenderness and violence, sex and rebirth. “Anything that I wouldn’t ever want to tell anyone – I just put it on the record,” he says.