North Americana

North Americana

Leif Vollebekk is determined to keep the spirit of casual acoustic music alive. Several years after his debut album, Inland, the Montreal-based singer/songwriter returns with North Americana, which sounds as if he recorded it in one take with anyone who happened to be around. Yet that’s hardly the case. Vollebekk worked at getting that perfect balance between "crafted" and "not overdone." Whether he was at his home, a studio in Manhattan, a mansion outside Paris, or a farmhouse in Woodstock, N.Y., Vollebekk let these performances come to him. The heart of the songs were captured live to tape. The emotional honesty and piano/guitar and vocal basics of “Photographer Friend” and “At the End of the Line” sound as if they’re happening in a living room in the country, with a fire keeping everyone warm. Only the full-band explosions of “Southern United States” and “When the Subway Comes Above the Ground” suggest the year isn’t 1970. Vollebekk has earned his comparisons to Nashville Skyline–era Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams, with a touch of Devendra Banhart in his playful vibrato.

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