|John Leventhal (photo credit unknown)
The debut album from a man who is no stranger to some fine music, producer/songwriter/musician John Leventhal's "Rumble Strip" was released on Jan 26, 2024, and it is an understated delight.
Leventhal has won six Grammies, written over 200 songs, and has worked with a plethora of first-rate performers. One wonders why such a talented artist hasn't been recorded on his own before this?
"Rumble Strip" includes thirteen succinct and thoughtful instrumentals and three vocally performed songs- two as a duet with his wife Rosanne Cash. Leventhal has an impressionistic approach to his music, here using crystalline finger-picking, string-bending, slide and mandolin accents, and judicious use of bass and drum accompaniment where needed. He even uses Donald Sorah Horns to add to the colors on his aural palette. All the compositions on the album are his except for "That's All I Know About Arkansas" which was written and beautifully sung by Roseanne along with Leventhal and "The Only Ghost" which was co-written with Marc Cohen. All are miniature beauties that flaunt the art of understatement. The music is a testament to the art of uncluttered excellence. You can just sit back, put on your headphones, and sink into this man's music.
Let's face it I'm a diehard jazzer, but Leventhal's music is just plain good. He incorporates elements of soul, blues, Country, Gospel, Americana, and a storytelling hymn-like form to make it all intelligently conceived and relaxingly entertaining. Don't miss this one.