The folk singer delivers a winner
The Canadian Indie-folk singer-songwriter took the age-old phrase, “just be yourself” and ran with it. After declaring his 2017 album, Twin Solitude, would be his last and then being shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, Leif Vollebekk decided he would give this music thing a try once again. By doing exactly what he wanted to do, Vollebekk has been recognized in ways he never thought possible. Because of this incredible realization, New Ways seems to act as a side B or companion to Twin Solitude.
His 10-track, fourth studio album released by Secret City Records, is based around the singer’s inner feelings. The incredibly silky and dreamy “The Way That You Feel” starts the album off on a sultry note. Vollebekk collides soft contemporary and R&B notes to set the tone for the album. “Never Be Back” takes on classic piano and a few hip-hop rhythms to remind his listeners that he truly is doing what he wants and that’s that. Tracks like “Transatlantic Flight” sounds like a familiar Vollebekk and truly leave the listener guessing as to what could come next. Each track is adorned with piano in some way but sprinkled with bits and pieces of other genres, instruments or rhythms.
A more upbeat note on the album comes from “Blood Brother.” Blues can be heard from the twang of the guitar and a scratcher tone in vocals. A bit of a lull in the album can be heard with tracks like “Change” and “I’m Not Your Lover.” Both songs are acoustically beautiful but different, in a sense, from the rest of the album. The album ends with “Apalachee Plain,” a track that is a sensible goodbye to the listener and a farewell until Vollebekks’ next adventure ensues. Guitar and harmonica lead the listener into an Americana dreamland.
Since 2010, Vollebekk has created music that was soft and gently allowed the listener to take what they wanted from it. In New Ways, his newfound ability to do truly whatever he wants with his music allowed him to do just that. Longtime fans of the artist and newcomers should be excited as to what the future could hold for the singer.