Leif Vollebekk – Inland
Okay, I admit it; I may be a bit partial to minimalist acoustic music. It’s simplicity stripped down to the sheer talent of the performer–no tricks allowed. But I find Leif Vollebekk to be texturally more complex than your typical singer/songwriter. Inland is a multi-layered work of traditional folk, some blues, a hint of jazz, but most of all, heartfelt soul and passion.
Vollebekk’s style reminds me a lot of Iron and Wine’s work, but with the vocal sensibility of Fink. For folksy singer/songwriter music, he offers plenty of surprises along the way. From “In the Midst of Blue and Green” turning into this beautiful piano ballad midway into the song, to the bluesy harmonica on “Quebec”. Then you have the blues-rooted classy sound of “Don’t Go to Klaksvik”. Vollebekk makes it hard for anyone to generalize him, as he is anything but run-of-the-mill.
It’s a poetic album–not just the lyrics, but the music as well. He takes his time, carefully placing just the right amount of detail into every layer. It’s within the subtle nuances that one begins to fully appreciate the artistic craftsmanship that went into each song.
By the end of the listen, it’s obvious that Inland is a collection of ten very good songs. Certainly good enough to make me want more. Leif Vollebekk will undoubtedly have a niche audience. But it will be a group of people who like music that can withstand the test of time-a niche any artist could be proud of. I look forward to future releases.