Reviews:: Jerry Leger Traveling Grey

Much like American folk poet Joe Pug, Jerry Leger seems too young to understand and document the human condition so accurately. You wonder if Leger was born too late, missing out on his destined era. His preferred vocabulary and imagery could slide into coffee shops decades ago, when the song writer was embraced not just by the people attending show, but those trading songs in hotel room or back stage guitar pulls as they killed time waiting to take the stage.


Leger’s latest LP, Traveling Grey is a heartfelt blueprint of small town life. Acting almost like a musical accompaniment to Richard Russo’s epic Empire Falls, Leger builds characters that may see moments crawl by and on quick glance assume nothing changes - “Looking out the window of the old hardware store. Twenty-five feels a lot like twenty-four.” - but under the surface the town’s residents are torn apart by love, anger, small town politics and the cutting bite of a neighbor’s whisper. What makes this record feel alive is Leger presents each flaw, each flame without judgment. These are stories he’s heard or dreamed; they aren’t better or worse then him, simply now a part of who he is.


These tales would be engaging backed only by melodic acoustic chords and harmonica, but Leger’s trusted players (The Situation) provide boombast and restraint at just the right moment. Eliminating every superfluous sound on the title track helps push it along, but standing alongside are a fiddle laced, heartbreaking epic (“John Lewis”) and a foot stomping barn burner (“The Joke’s On You”) that benefit from every note the band so tastefully adds. Each arrangement, although alive, feels like if it were put together any other way, it would have felt wrong.


I’ve long thought Leger’s eye and pen would push him into the limelight considering our country’s love of charismatic guitar wielding storytellers, but maybe that path isn’t his desire. Maybe he’s better served watching and listening unnoticed from across the bar, and if that allows him to paint characters as detailed and heartfelt as those on Traveling Grey, I’m hoping for years of obscurity for this young man.

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MP3:: Jerry Leger - Truth is all Around You




This entry was posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2011 at 9:41 am and is filed under 2011, Canada, Music, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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2 Responses to “Reviews:: Jerry Leger Traveling Grey”

Tweets that mention Herohill » Blog Archive » Reviews:: Jerry Leger Traveling Grey -- January 27th, 2011 at 11:25 am

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by herohill, Matt Charlton. Matt Charlton said: RT @herohill: New LP from Jerry Leger is what song writers should aim for. The chars make me think Empire Falls. @ … [...]

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 depth of [...]

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