There are a few artists that have stuck with me through all my phases. Specific albums that I will never part with and will always be in my playlist. These artists have woven their way into my identity and have had a significant influence on the type of listener I have become.

I still remember the first time I heard Montreal’s Leif Vollebekk. I was sitting in a movie theater. Cineplex was doing some feature on him for his latest album, North Americana, so they played an excerpt from a session he played with Southern Souls. I was listening to a conversation between two of my friends when I heard his voice, cutting through the ambiance of the theater, transporting me to somewhere else. To this day I remember the specific line that struck me.

“It takes two to tango. It takes one to teach. You were in my arms but you were out of reach”  

After the movie, I couldn’t remember his name or anything about him. All that stayed with me were those words. I’d spend a good amount of the next week trying to find him on the web to no avail. But about a month later I recognized the album cover in a record store I frequented as a highschooler. Immediately I fell in love with the album. Each song so carefully crafted. Leif quickly became one of my favourite lyricists and a staple for late nights and long drives.

Leif cites Bob Dylan as a major influence on his song writing, a fact that is very evident if you sat down and listened to the words. Leif tells stories in his songs, he paints pictures in our minds and uses sound to convey emotion in ways the majority of people can’t.

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Leif’s discography consists of three albums so far. His debut, Inland, was released in 2010 on Outside Music, same as his 2013 breakout album North Americana. Today Leif releases his latest album on Secret City Records. Twin Solitude combines his natural storytelling ability with a more percussive, groovy sound. Elegy, the third song was released in advance and really serves to encompass the albums thematically and sonically. The first half of the record is very much piano based whereas the second half holds more of the acoustic guitar sound found on previous releases.

Worth mentioning is his EP titled Borrowed Time, released through Noise Trade, where Leif covers five songs. From Dylan to Sigur Rós, Leif puts his own spin on classics from artists who are forerunners in the genre.

Leif will be playing Toronto on April 16th. If you have the chance I highly recommend seeing him play. He is a natural performer who throws everything into his music when on stage.

Check out my favourite songs by this artist:

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