AS MUCH AS I NEED
With “As Much As I Need”, Vancouver’s Lesismore straddles the worlds of blues, gospel, r&b, and roots music to come up with a surprisingly spiritual album.
Guitarist Curtis DeBray and singer Leslie Harris wrote or co-wrote nine of the ten songs on the CD, not counting the hidden track at the end.
The lone cover is a track composed by country/roots icon John Prine. His “Angel from Montgomery” fits well in an album that has a distinct spirituality about it, while avoiding religion. I recall Bob Dylan hitting us over the head with one of his many religious conversions with the album Slow Train Coming. Yet, this album is not about that. Many of the songs deal with spirituality in the context of love, and love is no stranger to the blues. Of the ten tracks, I got a spiritual vibe from at least four of them. “Tears and Gems” sounds like it would not be out of place in a southern church and a line out of the title track “As Much as I Need” sounds like a line out of a church choir book: ‘You’re the warmth and the light, my world shining bright, as much as I need.’ The final cut “Last Train” has a wonderful rootsy and gospel feel about it, too. DeBray’s guitar brings the train, long a subject of gospel tunes, into your consciousness. All that aside, there is plenty of hard driving blues on this album and drummer Nino DiPasquale, a former winner of the Fraser MacPherson Scholarship for jazz, shows he can play blues too, particularly on the track “Sweetest Heart.”
DeBray gets a wonderful tone out of his guitar and he is one of the most solid players on the Vancouver scene. As this is more of a roots and blues album as opposed to a rhythm and blues album there is only a touch of sax on this recording. This is probably because it really doesn’t fit in many of the tracks, but Steve Hilliam lets loose on “Night Time” and “Memory.” The vocals of Leslie Harris, who just happened to start out singing in a church choir when she was six, are as always, outstanding. She can slip in and out of the many genres that this band is capable of playing, with no problem. Oh, about that hidden track at the end … think Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin … see I told you it was spiritual (and you can find out exactly what it is by getting the CD).
By Jim Dupuis,