Jerry Leger – Donlands
Despite this showcase being somewhat casual in presentation with subtle vocals & a laid-back performance it’s easy-going & smooth. Jerry Leger is providing an easy-listening folk perception. Somewhat like Tim Hardin mixed with Nick Drake, but the songs are a little more accessible to mainstream listeners since Leger doesn’t get too heavy or cute with his lyrics.
The arrangement on “Three Hours Ahead of Midnight,” cruises between the pages of The Blue Nile with poetic noirish images. It’s not so much a toe-tapping endeavor to this music as a thinking man’s balladry.
There’s a deft handling of the arrangements. “The Flower and the Dirt,” is a beauty. It has intensity but keeps it all balanced, so it doesn’t read like some Edwardian poetry in a dusty book. The narrative & the right vocal tonality make the song spark with contemplation. It’s a well-thought-out tune.
The 10-track CD inhabits the 39-minute set that makes up Donlands (Drops Oct 27–Latent Recordings). Produced by Mark Howard in Toronto, Ontario. There are some songs like “Wounded Wing,” that remind me of singer-songwriter Bruce McPherson who sang in a similar tone with similar song structures. But that was ages ago. Bruce was one of many following in the footsteps of piano-oriented singers like Billy Joel & Elton John.
Jerry Leger (vocals/electric & acoustic guitar/piano) does follow his own muse, however. The rockiest he gets on this collection is the fuzz-toned energetic “You Carry Me,” which has lots of urban street steam. Easily likable. Leger doesn’t necessarily follow any menu – he mixes his repertoire fairly well. Leger smokes his tunes down to the filter.
With “I Need Love,” the piano-driven balladry teeters in a John Lennon territory. So does the follow-up “Out There Like the Rain.” They’re both done with Lennon’s finesse.
Leger doesn’t try to impress with his instrumental bravado as much as his unique diversified songwriting style. Jerry does prove that one doesn’t have to be bombastic & impressionistic through their musical endeavors to produce something that has clarity & can be sustained.
From Lennon, the spirit of a Warren Zevon breeze comes through in “Slow Night In Nowhere Town.” It has that boarded-up windows & door feel of a once-thriving place. A well-composed piece from a deservedly good collection.
Highlights – “I’ll Stay,” “Three Hours Ahead of Midnight,” “The Flower and the Dirt,” “Wounded Wing,” “You Carry Me,” “I Need Love,” “Out There Like the Rain” & “Slow Night In Nowhere Town.”
Musicians – Dan Mock (electric & upright bass/vocals/synth), Kyle Sullivan (drums/percussion/vocals), Alan Zemaitis (piano/electric piano/vocals/acoustic guitar) with Aaron Goldstein (pedal steel/electric guitar/vocals).