Leon Creek – Far From Broken
Some prominent production & musicianship spark this quasi-soul-Americana-Roots LP that’s invigorating. While lyrics are simplistic they convey cleverness, punctuated by little things like aggressive harmonica & piano runs.
There’s lots to appreciate. The vocals are unified & vividly demonstrated. The acoustic guitars are crisp. This is a well-thought-out set.
The 8-song Far From Broken (Drops Sept 24 — Independent) is fronted by notable LA singer-songwriter/blues harmonica wiz Chris Pierce (War & Pierce) producer/musician Erik Janson & Matthew Stevens (fingerpicking). The band’s named after a river tributary in San Antonio, TX where travelers in the 1800s stopped before proceeding to CA.
The LP broadens the horizons of what Americana/roots music could be. Though this music has a tint of old 70s country music, it’s loaded with soul spices, & strong shot glasses of blues. Nothing novelty or corny here. This is a swinging ensemble that brings a good time to your speakers. “Call It a Day,” is their first video/single & it’s sweet.
Some songs are more compelling, but they never veer away from their aim. Their showcase is appealing, melodic & well-filtered of cliches. There’s a frivolous combination of The Bus Boys (“Johnny Soul’d Out”– 1980) & War (without Eric Burdon) in their vocal approach. It makes them interesting. “Far From Broken,” may sting too much for some, but it’s a good full-tilt stab at bluegrass-rock & soul. That’s a mouthful, if not an earful. “So Many Names,” is almost Bus Boys in tradition if you get past their 50s rock forays. Leon Creek has impressive vocalizing.
“Hard Times Long Nights,” finds the band in a soulful-rootsy groove mindful of the Stax tradition of the 60s. What The Bus Boys attempted as well. Love the dirty-soulful backup vocals with Pierce’s harmonica & Steve Cropper-type funky guitar runs. A nice sax adds color – wailing like the old 45s of the 50s. Did I say it’s enjoyable? It’s enjoyable.
“Wonder Why,” is one of the best tunes on the LP. More of a heavy-harmonica sexy rocker is “Shakes the Ground.” (A better title would’ve been “The Love That I Show,” since that’s repeated often). This is injected with old-world rhythm & blues with that 60s rock-soul vocalizing once a staple of The Drifters (“Aretha”) that was popular at one time. Lots of percussion shape this song into an arresting irresistible dance song. Allows for lots of gyrating if loaded up on legal lubricant.
The band hasn’t achieved its peak yet, though I feel every song is promising. None of the songs break new ground but as a performance, the unit is original, has exuberance, & translates to the human ear easily.
Color image of the band courtesy of Leon Creek.
The CD: Available @ Soundcloud & other outlets. Website: https://www.leoncreek.com/