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Brennen Leigh featuring Asleep at the Wheel (from the album Obsessed with the West available on Signature Sounds) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Although Brennen Leigh pens all the material on her striking new album Obsessed with the West. The band with whom she shares recording credit, Asleep at the Wheel, provides the album’s overriding influence. The title gives the concept away, given the fact that the sound primarily bows to the sound of Western Swing, a genre that Asleep at the Wheel has championed since their earliest inception, for more than 50 years. Nevertheless, it’s also Brennen Leigh’s tribute to her love of the American West and the soundscapes with which those realms are so readily identified.
Happily, she proves up to the task and songs such as “If Tommy Duncan’s Voice Was Booze”, “In Texas with a Band”, “Tell Him I’m Dead”, “I Don’t Want Someone Who Don’t Want Me”, and “Comin’ In Hot” bask in the effusive sound of fiddles, pedal steel, brassy arrangements, and a rhythm that conveys both a supple sway and a swinging sashay. Leigh’s expressive vocals convey a classic — and classy — ‘40s vibe, courtesy of a sultry and seductive delivery that suggests the sort of setting where the lights are dimmed and there’s a singer at a single mic backed by a big band.
The twelve songs gather other influences as well, with hints of Jazz, Country, and cowboy tunes all competing for center stage. While some may suggest the music is simply a novelty or niche, Leigh’s savvy and stylings liken her to the real deal, an artist whose craft and credence make her well equipped to impart an exacting impression. Despite its unlikely title, “Tell Him I’m Dead” stands out as a beautiful ballad, while “I Was Just Thinking of You” provides its own comforting caress. Likewise, “Riding Off onto Sunset Boulevard” offers allure all its own.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time Brennen Leigh’s paid homage to some musical forebears. Two of her earlier efforts, ‘Brennen Leigh Sings Lefty Frizzell’ and ‘Don’t Forget to Call Me Little Darling: Remembering the Carter Family’ found her giving a nod to her iconic influences.
Ultimately, Obsessed with the West exacts a decided air of authenticity, one that eschews any idea that gimmickry or contrivance are the elements in play. This is an album that allows all involved to consider the pairing with pride, and another reason why Leigh’s well equipped to carry the musical mantle forward. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Brennen Leigh feat. Asleep at the Wheel from AMAZON
For more information and purchase options, please visit the Brennen Leigh website
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