It’s not uncommon for the peasants to repeat the words of royalty. It’s a tradition as old as time, and one that now extends from historical accounts to coffee shop open mic nights. Dylan. Neil. Wilson. These names are as much lore as currency. Their songs have been morphed, rewritten and re-imagined so many times that music cannon is an exercise in revisionism. We live in a time where most forget the boldness and charisma these kings exuded.

Leif Vollebekk’s name might not be shared as frequently or fill the same marquees, but as he pays tribute to artists that only need one name, you hear his value. You hear how effortlessly he turns economy of sound and spirit into magic. Simple tapes loops, horns, piano, and upright bass turn memories into moments. I’ve spent years with these songs, taken meaning and inspiration from emotion uncovered decades ago or sung in language I can’t understand. Borrowed Time assures me that these years were not wasted.

These thoughts were written by the greats, but these songs belong to Vollebekk.

The most impressive thing about Borrowed Time is that he turns a song I never liked into something I can’t live without. She never seemed so perfect when she held my hand. Her charm and wit, the things I now can’t stop seeing, were little more than tarnished metals then. Now, I can’t help but think, maybe if I had just tried, rolled up my sleeves and got dirty, things would be different. Maybe, all I needed was to be someone else.

I should take solace in the simple fact that all that beauty was in there, and maybe now, she’s happy… but the sad reality is that I was never the man that made her sparkle and he makes that painfully apparent.