Some artists go on feeling like secrets long after they’ve started being told. Leif Vollebekk, who released his third album in February 2017, is one of these treasures. Born in Ottawa in 1985, he taught himself music using instruments inherited from his grandfather: harmonica, guitar, piano, an old fiddle.
Vollebekk’s latest, long overdue LP, Twin Solitude, is the product of everything that came before: the unending tours, the slow cover songs, the experience of seeing Prince, alone at a piano. At the end of Vollebekk’s twenties, his own songs didn’t sound right. He had spent an entire year on the road, playing almost 100 shows, but every night his favourite moment came only right at the end, covering a song by Ray Charles or Townes Van Zandt. Every time he got home from tour he took a hot shower and lay still under a window, listening to Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, feeling saved, wondering why his own music didn’t give him that. Why the songs he had written himself always felt like so much work.
Yet in its heart, above all, Twin Solitude is a gesture back to Leif’s long nights under a pink moon, when a record was the only thing that could keep him company. Besides a wink to Hugh MacLennan’s novel Two Solitudes, this is the unlonely loneliness of the album’s title. “It isn’t a record I made for other people – it’s the one I made for myself,” Leif said. “It’s the album I wish I could have put on.”
Leif Vollebekk plays The Sunflower Lounge Birmingham on Wed 22nd November 2017. Tickets available here.
Watch the video for ‘Elegy’ below: