Wesley Joseph – MONSOON
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Montreal’s Le Ren has released her debut album Leftovers, via Secretly Canadian. With production by Chris Cohen and contributions from Buck Meek and Tenci (among others), the LP’s organic yet meticulous folk soundscapes and deeply felt lyrics weave a rich musical tapestry that reveals new meanings within a lifetime of relationships, addressed to loved ones lost, found, and kept.
Listen To Leftovers
With the release of her Secretly Canadian EP Morning & Melancholia in 2020, Le Ren (née Lauren Spear) earned comparison to the deft musicianship and sparse, eloquent lyrics of John Prine and Neil Young. On Leftovers, she shows us the vivid depth of her sonic and thematic range, writing with a bold clarity that finds her a home among classic icons like Joni Mitchell, Vashti Bunyan, and Karen Dalton, as well as a new class of folk extraordinaires, such as Adrianne Lenker, Jessica Pratt, and Laura Marling.
Leftovers presents equal parts melancholy, deep love, and levity to lift up the mournful as it stitches together a patchwork of personal songs about different relationships: those we share with mothers, lovers, and friends. Spear created a physical quilt to mirror the assemblage of stories that comprise her album: a coming-of-age collage that collects over four years of past experiences and finds their present meaning. “When I think of leftovers, I think of things that have been cast aside,” she says. “When they’re picked back up or remembered, they can be repurposed… Leftovers came to mean a collection of feelings and moments of the past that still remain relevant to my present.”
Leftovers finds Le Ren distilling years of material into ten tightly executed tracks united by the swooning pluck of her guitar and the crystal clear timbre of her voice. In April 2021, she met with Cohen in a rented house in Portland, Oregon, where they had to wait for a neighborhood boy to stop making noise outside before they could record. The album came together much like the patchwork of her quilt, with collaborators Kori Miyanishi, Cedric Noel, Saltwater Hank (Jeremy Pahl), Eliza Niemi, Kaïa Kater, Aaron Goldstein, Buck Meek, and Tenci (Jess Showman) recording their parts separately from across North America. The result is a timeless assemblage of love, heartache, celebration, and lessons hard-learned, written and performed by a musician who has honed the subtleties of her craft.
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