Leah Blevins — First Time Feeling
Some voices just have the power to cut through the clutter and snap your ears to attention. Lucinda Williams, Margo Timmons and Ian Noe are a few of the folks who can draw you in and make a good song great and a great song incomparable. Kentucky’s Leah Blevins has that kind of indelible voice. On her full-length debut, First Time Feeling, she uses her unique, homegrown twang and bluntly honest lyrics to share a little bit of her story.
The lead song on the album, “Afraid,” deals with fear as a very real opponent. Paced by foreboding guitar lines from co-producers Paul Cauthen and Beau Bedford, Blevins sings of being chased by fear – “You straighten up/Not just your back/You think they’re on to you/And they’re coming up fast.” Whatever we might fear (and there’s been a lot of it over the past year or so), we can try to avoid it – “We all pay to feel something/We all weep for some comfort” – but it still lives with us. It may not be comforting, but it’s an honest assessment. Next up is the fiddle-tinged “Beautiful Disaster,” which gathers the wreckage of a doomed-to-fail relationship with a hell of a first verse – “Two years – too late/Different directions/You turned cold so I drove south.”
The record’s title track brings a little – but just a little – sunshine in. The mid tempo tune, full of jangly acoustic guitar and a bouncy organ line, has Blevins asking a partner to help recapture the flutter of first love – “All those butterflies are long gone/Let’s go catch some more.” It’s the kind of melancholy sweetness – and the kind of voice – missing from country radio today. Later on, “Mexican Restaurant” dives headfirst into the sadness and regret – “I wish I could be what you want/But baby being wanted only lasts for a while” (somehow, at least in country music, regret always seems sadder than longing). Actually, the longing on First Time Feeling seems to be reserved for Blevins’ home. “Mountain” (written with Cauthen) takes us to a place that could reflect the singer’s time in Nashville – “Moments in the wilderness/Have wildered my mind.” Adding a gorgeous chorus of voices to her signature twang, we get a taste of her love for her Kentucky. It’s where she chose to leave behind, but it’s also where her story began.
Song I Can’t Wait to Hear Live: “Mexican Restaurant” – because nothing’s more country than a dark room full of strangers and regret.
First Time Feeling was produced by Beau Bedford and Paul Cauthen, recorded by Bedford, Jeffrey Saenz and Ryan A. Keith, mixed by Bedford and mastered by Brian Lucey. All songs were written by Leah Blevins, with co-writes going to Cauthen, Bedford, Jordan Lawhead, Jim Reilley, Lindsey Lee, Hugh Mitchell and Sally Jaye. Additional musicians on the album include The Watson Twins (background vocals), McKenzie Smith (drums), Ben Barajas (bass), Charley Wiles (electric guitar), Jordache Grant (piano, B3), Parker Twomey (piano, Wurlitzer) and Matt Combs (fiddle, strings).
Go here to order First Time Feeling (out August 6): https://www.leahblevinsmusic.com/store
Check out Blevins’ website for tour dates: https://www.leahblevinsmusic.com/