Pop / Folk

Where the Knives Meet Between the Rows

Artist: Leigh Marble

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the late 1990s, Leigh Marble left New England in search of a music career in Portland, Oregon.  He began working with Fishboy Studios, producing a split single with a Massachusetts-born jazz singer.  Shortly afterward, Marble recorded his debut album, Peep, featuring heartfelt lyrics and a pop/folk sound.  While Peep was a mainly solo work, the follow up album, Red Tornado, was a more elaborate affair, featuring other artists from the Portland music scene.  Red Tornado was released in 2007 and since then, Leigh Marble has been relatively quiet with good reason.  His wife (then girlfriend) was diagnosed with breast cancer and he faced a year of depression afterward.  On April 24, 2012, Where the Knives Meet Between the Rows, Leigh Marble’s first full album since 2007, will be released.

Where the Knives Meet Between the Rows features a sound which is somewhat of a cross between pop music and folk.  Leigh Marble’s vocals are reminiscent of those of Neil Young.  His own instrumentals and vocals are joined by guest musicians, including Erin McKeown, Jesse Emerson, Matt Harmon, Kali Giaritta and Rachel Taylor-Brown.  The music is striking an quite enjoyable, but it’s the lyrics that really stand out on this album.

                From the first track, Walk, I was taken in by the descriptiveness of the track.  The music – mainly the percussion – offers the listener a vision of an angry individual plodding along, trying to rid themselves of an all-consuming anger.  Having walked in this manner before, I could totally relate to this song.  I have been known to go on one of those angry treks and find myself quite a few miles from home when I finally felt better.  I loved the sound of chains at the end, equating the weight of the anger the singer is carrying to the heavy weight of chains, dragging him down as he determinedly plods on.

                The rest of the album features some comedic moments, but most of Where the Knives Meet Between the Rows features emotional, heartfelt descriptive lyrics.  Each track offers up a very clear picture of what the singer is trying to talk to the listener about.  Besides Walk, another track that stands out for me is Nail, in which Marble discusses the idea of impending death, never losing track of that nail in the coffin, understanding that what is bringing you closer to that nail is something you may not deserve, but pushing yourself to live life until that moment when it is all over. 

Goodnight is an extremely sad track in which a man understands that his women is about to leave him, but he really can’t blame her.  He wishes he could have given her a better life and had been a happier man for her but it was not meant to be.  Pony is a pretty funny track in which two extremely opposite individuals end up in a relationship that really never should have happened.  Inebriate Waltz is another sad track in which someone who is on the verge of having it all destroys himself in a “river” of alcohol and eventually loses everything, including his own life.  Greener Pastures is another standout track in which Leigh Marble sings about a lover who has walked out on him.  I loved the way he made the vision of his anguish of losing her visual when he sings about him and the dog sniffing through her things looking for the reason she left and where she might have gone.

Each and every track of Where the Knives Meet Between the Rows, whether comedic or dramatic, is so descriptive as to draw a picture for the listener, bringing the meaning of each song into full focus.  It seems to me that Leigh Marble is an artist that just gets better with age.  I can't wait to listen to his next album.


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