Album Reviews


The Tracks We Leave

Artist:     Tempest

Album:     The Tracks We Leave

Label:     Magna Carta Records

Release Date:     02/24/2015


Some bands are just meant to be seen live. The Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead instantly come to mind, not because you can’t enjoy their recorded music, but because seeing these bands live adds something special to listening to their CDs. Tempest is one of those bands. I have seen them perform live a number of times. I’ve caught and photographed them at music festival and concert venues. They knocked my socks off regardless of the size of the stage! Often times they leave the stage to play in the audience. They play with an energy, drive and passion that comes from their love of music and their desire to deliver that music to an audience. And do they deliver!

I looked forward to listening to their recently released album  The Tracks We Leave and to see how it compares to their live shows.This was not a conscious thing, it happens automatically when listening to one of those bands you are meant to see live. Listening to this album brought back incredible memories from their live shows. That is exactly what I meant by listening to albums by bands that are great live acts. Wonderfully vivid memories come rushing back and affect your listening experience.

 Does that happen with Tempest? Absolutely! The new CD is a mix of traditional celtic tunes and original songs written or co-written by Lief Sorbye, the band’s founder and leader. Lief even throws in a traditional song from his Norwegian roots, “Alle Mann Hadde Fota,” telling the tale of a woman who made body parts for her husband. Right from the start with the traditional “Rantin’ Rovin’ Robin” my mind takes me back to seeing them on stage which I love.

The title track “The Tracks We Leave” was inspired by a trip into the mountains of Norway as well as a proverb of the Dakota Souix. The story of your life is told in the tracks you leave. A lovely and very dreamy song featuring ancient Scandinavian roots. “September Jig,” another song written by Lief, sounds very much like a traditional jig and I can almost imagine the band dancing around to it on stage. “Fog on the Bay,” an ode to the band’s home town San Francisco, was written by Sorbey and even features him on flute.

I’m going to leave the rest for you to discover. Regardless if you’re a fan of the group or not, I believe anyone can enjoy this album. I hope it inspires people to catch them live in concert.

 – Mark J. Smith

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