Album Reviews

Joseph LeMay – Seventeen Acres (Self-released)

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Joseph LeMay Seventeen AcresThis is such an exquisitely, lushly produced album that you’d never know the genesis for these songs were cast on a desolate farm in west Tennessee.  LeMay described it this way: “We’d dumped all of what was left of our savings into the abandoned single-wide trailer that sits on the southeast corner of the farm, dealing with a leaky roof, hornets, and at least one copperhead”. Joseph and his wife, Molly, were living in Nashville but retreated to his grandfather’s farm to completely concentrate on forming these songs.  “Music fulfills a need”, says LeMay.  “….we don’t just want words. It’s the color and the canvas. The cadence and the lyric.”

LeMay delivers a startlingly good debut, recorded in Nashville with an array of instruments like violins, cellos, guitars, and keyboards.  If you didn’t know better, you’d think this might be a Paul Simon or Band of Horses album in terms of sound, at least through the first half.  As you listen closely, you realize that while LeMay has a mellifluous voice and knack for songwriting, he is still trying to find his own signature style.  Then, along comes “Redwing” and again you realize how good a craftsman LeMay is. “I realized that how I felt about her (Molly) leaving bore a lot of similarities to maybe a songbird you’d grown fond of leaving for the winter. That songbird scenario gave me a lot of visuals to work with — which is good for building a song around.”   LeMay has built a strong foundation here. Rest assured also that he and Molly have moved out of the trailer and back to Nashville.

– Jim Hynes

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