Leading the charge was Mark Nevers. A veteran of the country-leaning indie scene thanks to his peerless work with Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Lambchop, and Silver Jews, he was the band's first choice for collaborator on this new endeavor.
The proof of that is cooked right into the music. Nevers brought in some top notch session players, including drummer Brian Kotzur (Bobby Bare, Silver Jews), pianist Tony Crow (B.J. Thomas, Andrew Bird), singer Jordan Caress (Laura Cantrell, Justin Townes Earle), guitarist Chris Scruggs (grandson of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs), and pedal steel wizard Pete Finney (Justin Townes Earle, Kelly Willis), to help add texture and definition to these already sharply rendered songs. Mostly, Nevers contributed an environment that helped fuel the album's laid back vibe.
Taken as a whole, Leon III's debut is a multi-dimensional ride through ten thematically interconnected and musically rich tunes. The songs are filled with dark corners and shadows but still produce sing along, anthemic moments. If Stepanian and Brent wanted to break from their alt-country past, they have clearly done so without wholly abandoning the idiom. In the process, they have paved the way for a diverse and varied future for Leon III.
- Maybe I'm Immune?
- Faded Mountain
- From These Heights
- Paper Eye
- The Line
- Between The Saddle And The Ground
- The Strongest Medicine
- From These Heights (Retold)
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