Reviews:: Jerry Leger You, Me and the Horse

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It would be easy to talk about Jerry Leger and point out the talented musicians already in his corner. Knowing that Ron Sexsmith used to show up at his Toronto gigs, played piano on his last record and called him, “One of the best songwriters I’ve heard in quite some time” is probably enough praise to get most of you interested. Throw in the fact Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers) and Tim Bovacanti (Sexsmith’s band) produced/played on You, Me and the Horse and it’s pretty obvious that a lot of people are already championing this young singer.

You can go ahead and add me to that list.

The 23-year old Toronto native’s newest stripped down record will get countless Dylan comparisons – with good reason, as Leger is a classic folk story teller and the barely audible harmonica that closes Looking For A Friend ensures the obvious connection – but when I listen, I am more impressed by the similarities to Tom Brosseau (especially on songs like To The Harbour, Raspberry Bush and Daddy’s Lantern). Tossing that name out there won’t appeal to many (maybe only two people that occasionally read this blog), but Brosseau is one of my favorite singers. The way he paints the most detailed pictures and invokes the deepest emotions from the simplest scenarios is gripping and Jerry Leger has that same gift.

You get the feeling that Leger grew up wanting to be a traveling story teller, romanticizing the idea of a wandering hobo and dissecting Dylan’s poetry and that’s why I think Leger’s stories seem real. The songs are filled with the minor details you pick up from snippets of a conversation overheard at a diner, not from hours staring at a pad. There are only so many chords you can play and only so many metaphors to go around. Eventually it all comes down to the story you tell, not the phrase you turn, and for such a young man, it’s amazing that Leger already has the confidence and charisma to stand behind his tales.

You, Me and the Horse shows Leger taking a step away from his band and working with the most spare arrangements. Well placed fiddle, steel and upright bass offer a shoulder to lean on, but for the most part Leger stands front and center and quietly tells his tales. That’s why I shook my head when one of our nation’s biggest music resources said, “The tunes aren’t sub-par, but they’re not particularly catchy or good, either”. I couldn’t help but think they missed the point of this record completely.

First, Leger does pen some catchy tunes (the country fueled romp Half Asleep And Drunk sticks in your head and the harmonies, bended steel and confident strums of Love’s Abandoned Your Heart is beautiful), but more importantly, his songs are not the type of songs you play for a room full of people, hoping one sticks. His nasally draw and unfiltered admissions are more suited for a more personal listening experience; a rewarding one at that.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 6:36 am and is filed under Canada, Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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2 Responses to “Reviews:: Jerry Leger You, Me and the Horse”

Herohill » Blog Archive » Quick Hitters:: Jerry Leger The Good Old Days Are Back in Drag December 19th, 2011 at 6:50 pm

[...] been a fan of Jerry Leger for a while now, but even with the strength of his songs and the surprising [...]

Quick Hitters:: Jerry Leger The Good Old Days Are Back in Drag | Music Blog List December 28th, 2011 at 11:41 pm

[...] been a fan of Jerry Leger for a while now, but even with the strength of his songs and the surprising [...]

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