Left of Memphis


Left Of Memphis

Left Of Memphis

(TAI 1001)

Three Angels And A Saint Records
P. O. Box 476
Ventura, CA 93002
email: music@leftofmemphis.com

A review written for The Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Moshe Benarroch

This is the debut album by the group Left Of Memphis, which acts as a duo to a full eight member band. The duo is Marty Van Long and Leslie Merical, who are the songwriters, with some additional help from Jeff Evans. The feeling of a well-constructed pop band is quite strong, and the male/female songwriting team reminded me at times of the tensions within Fleetwood Mac in the late seventies.

For a debut album it shows that these guys are serious in their aim. The production and the instrumentation are all highly professional. The songwriting is topnotch, and most of the songs can make it into any class about songwriting. But... there is always a but, this is the strength and the weakness of this whole project - the feeling that all is well-done but somehow some spices are missing; some special thing that will show the difference between this cd and the masses of other cd's being released.

The sound is mostly acoustic, more pop than folk, with some electric guitar here and there. The voice of Marty Van Loan reminded me at times of Greg Brown, and the voice of Leslie Merical of Suzanne Vega and many others. I found Marty's voice to be the more communicative of the two.

In A Thousand Years Marty sings of a lost lover-friend, who is at times neither a lover nor a friend: "A thousand years go by, and still you're in my head/ We're so fragile we're so tough/ I've heard time will tell, but time's told me it's better left unsaid.../ We disagreed on almost everything..."

Left Of Memphis will appeal to lovers of well-written songs a la Gorka or Pierce Pettis. I found that all the ingredients for a great soup are here, but somehow the final result is not quite there yet. I will look forward to listening to their next cd, hoping that they will mix the ingredients in a better way and look deeper for a more personal inspiration. I think they have what it takes to come up with a great soup.

Song List:

  • In The Mirror
  • Three Angels
  • Little Girl
  • Felt So Still
  • A Thousand Years
  • If I'd Only
  • Will You
  • Cross Our Fingers
  • Color Me
  • This Road
  • This City
  • Charlie
  • Talks To God
  • Where It's Empty
  • Garden Song

Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz (rschwartz@oeb.harvard.edu)

Copyright 1999, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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