It can be tough to confine your expression to a single sound. While some artists can live in a defined form, others may seek to be more dynamic. It’s a difficult balance, and one that can leave an artist spread thin. Thankfully, Jonah Leatherman shows that he’s got what it takes to convey a wide range of rock sounds with the groups’ latest release.
Westward the Wagons begins the experience. The rambling drums roll you into the track with a bouncy baseline. The smooth vocals of Jonah Leatherman have an enticing quality that meshes perfectly with best. It creates a relaxing feeling that you ease into effortlessly as you listen, like taking a deep breath of fresh air. An excellent intro track that feels like the start of a journey.
Couldn’t Find Any Reason follows it up. This track picks up the tempo of the previous track, keeping its rambling qualities but associating them with another instrumental layer. The drums keep a solid best while the guitar begins to wander, switching between that sunny aesthetic with melodic wails and strums that evoke a sense of palpable reason. Lyrically, the track is one that underscores discovery and wonder, with lines such as “she drew her eyes to the sea, she said I wanna know what love is. Will you show me?” The cherry on top is the absolutely electric guitar solo just before the 3 minute mark, which offers an awesome opportunity to get lost in the track. The next track is Mourning Glory.
Mourning Glory has a sunny guitar riff lights up a groovy beat that will get your head moving. This sets up the mood so that the song explodes to life when Leatherman cries “save my soul o friend of mine!” The beat always keeps the mood up while the rhythmic guitar licks add splashes of delightful personality. With a guitar solo whose wails cut the track in half, there’s a lot for the rock fan to love here.
Castle Stones is a unique track. The deep bass groove cradles the percussion after the somber guitar makes its first impression. This immediately sets a different tone from the rest of the album, with a vocal performance to match. While the Leathermans’ voice remains powerful, it’s strengthened by its emotional punch rather than any explosive quality. Lines such as “busted up, shattered and broken to pieces. All along, I never knew this was the meaning” are so full of heart, it’s hard to ignore. With a dynamic instrumental range and a track-defining bassline, it creates the perfect setting for the powerful mood of the song. These qualities make this track stand out on the album.
Strings follows it up. The track starts off with a beachy beat that pops with the sunny drum beats. When it begins to mellow out, Leatherman meets it with dreamy vocals that create a laid back mood to get in. The chorus is powerful, with vocal power behind it each time as the track drifts back into the dreamy ambience. It makes Strings a fun listen and brings a sunny side to the slower mood established by Castle Stones before it. With a killer guitar solo towards the end of the track, you’ll have to fight yourself from hitting the repeat button at least once. Especially if you’re just lounging in the sun.
These are just a sampling of what proves to be an engaging and enjoyable listen. The first album by Jonah Leatherman and his band shows off both musicianship and solid rock fundamentals. The tracks have a sound that any rock fan will find familiar, but with a recognizable twist by Leatherman and his group. Whether it be a powerful solo or an electrifying vocal performance, each track offers something you can latch onto. This makes the album a good listen for any rock fan, especially one that’s looking for something with a familiar feel.