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Logan Ledger (from the album Golden State available on Rounder Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Logan Ledger established his formidable presence courtesy of his eponymous debut, garnering the kind of attention that makes any follow-up all the more auspicious.
Even so, his follow-up Golden State makes it clear that he’s ventured far beyond his initial image, that of a forlorn troubadour who’s merely attempting to find his way forward. Rather, he sounds like the kind of storied songwriter who might have first found fame in those hallowed, sun-drenched environs of Southern California’s hills, valleys, and canyons during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The title would seem to tell it all, but with Shooter Jennings behind the boards, it’s convincing and clear that Logan Ledger’s also soaked up the ambiance and atmosphere infused in that influential era. The result is manifest in an album that not only establishes his credence, but maintains its ties to a timeless trajectory as well.
Shooter Jennings’ influence is best heard on the honky-tonk ramble that flows through the down-home designs of “All the Wine in California” but Ledger’s fondness and familiarity with the place that inspired the album title best comes through courtesy of the album’s other offerings. The slow waltz that radiates within the reflective ballad “Midnight in L.A.”, the faraway fascination expressed in the dream-like title track, the hazy glow and dreamy desire of “Till It Feels Right” and the timeless, Folk-like tone of “Come Misty Morning” — the latter of which finds Erin Rae sharing the vocals — all evoke a certain seminal style.
While much of the album takes on a seemingly surreal atmosphere and ambiance, Ledger’s fascination for the legacy of the West Coast’s seminal sound — particularly those that echoed from the clubs that populated L.A.’s Sunset Strip and Santa Monica Blvd.— frequently comes to the fore as well. The uptempo “There Goes My Mind” and the vibrant “Court of Love” sound like songs The Byrds might have shared onstage at Ciro’s or The Troubadour, with Roger McGuinn brandishing his trademark granny glasses and David Crosby draped his fur cap and a cape.
It’s hardly a surprise then, that Logan Ledger himself resembles The Byrds’ iconic tambourine-touting frontman Gene Clark, especially given his Prince Valiant hairdo, his resonant vocals and a decidedly introspective attitude.
On the other hand, the rich, resonant, sturdy sound embossing the deeper designs of “I’m Not Here” and “Obviously” make them sound like standards from the get-go, the sort of thing Elvis himself might have reveled in at certain stages in his career.
Appropriately too, the album was recorded at Sunset Studios, the birthplace of the music that came to be indelibly identified with the West Coast’s signature style. Happily, Ledger and Jennings made good use of the time there, enlisting such luminaries as Cage The Elephant guitarist Nick Bockrath, pedal-steel player Russ Pahl, Jennings’s longtime bassist Ted Russell Kamp, and drummer Jamie Douglass. Jennings himself played keyboards. Together, they effectively capture the essence of those long-gone days, when enchantment, idealism, and the day-glo innocence made for a certain magic and mystique.
‘There’s always something else around the bend’ Logan Ledger sings on the aforementioned title tune. Indeed, Golden State illuminates that proposition to the fullest degree. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Logan Ledger from AMAZON
For more information, please visit the Logan Ledger website
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