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Leeland is on the move

I recall standing in a club in Nashville eagerly waiting for Leeland hit the stage at a showcase event for their record label.  This young band from Texas was the talk of GMA that year.  The debut album, Sound of Melodies, was set to release later in 2006.  I was impressed by the music, stage presence, and of course what I had supposed to be the relatives of the band (including mom’s who looked a bit out of place with the crowd).  They took their spot at the front, singing along to every song, making it difficult to get pictures.  Yet they were proud.

That incident aside, I took note of this new band and was already wondering when I would again have that live experience.  After the set, I realized that I should have perhaps paid more attention when I met keyboardist and brother of Leeland, Jack Mooring in the elevator earlier in the week.  “Yeah, another new band.  So what?” was my cynical attitude at the time.

Three years later, Leeland is poised to release Love In On The Move on Essential Records/Provident Label Group on August 25th this year.  I spun the pre-release this morning while sitting here at my computer cleaning out my email, and decided to put my quick thoughts on the music down on paper.  So these are just my early impressions, and are not intended to be an in-depth review.

Admittedly, I did not pay much attention to the lyrics.  So the over-arching theme of a call to action for justice in addition to worship written about in the promotional material did not hit me on the first listen.  I did, however, catch the music.  My reaction was simple.  “This would be good live,” was my initial reaction.  And the same thought came when the album finished.  You see, at the showcase in 2006, I could not wait to get a hold of a Leeland disc.  But now, three albums later, I still believe the music is best heard live.

The first two releases apparently each received a GRAMMY nomination.  And the band has encountered eight Dove award nominations, not an award.  In some ways this surprised me considering the buzz that surrounded their introduction at GMA week in 2006.  I wondered whether or not Leeland’s success comes from live music, and awards are based on the recordings.  Then again, perhaps music that tends to fit into the worship category is best encountered live.

One plus I noted was that twelve tracks are included, and the album length is a nice.  I guess more recently the norm has been less music on each CD.  So this was a plus.  The overall sound is what I would call quite “Leelandish” as I did not take in anything new or innovative on my first listen.  I am certain any fan of Leeland’s music will be pleased.  As for me, I would like to place my humble request to the powers that be to somehow capture the live set next time in the production.  Perhaps less polished, maybe?