unsung hero

New Album: Jason Leonard

Jason Leonard pays his dues in the background of some of Portland’s finest folk acts, but he also does awfully nice work on his own.

By Anne Adams August 24, 2011

It would seem that Portland side-men are the gift that keeps on giving. A month or so back, Culturephile discovered an intriguing instrumental album from Jay Clarke, who normally sojourns on the sidelines of Dolorean and Grails. Now Jason Leonard inches toward the spotlight from the long shadows of Nick Jaina, Loch Lomond, Laura Gibson, and Jolie Holland to offer another wordless wonder:

As its name might imply, Rituals—Radio Music Volume 1 features compositions that Leonard originally crafted for a local narrative radio show (Destination DIY) but we daresay we enjoy the buoyantly pedaled piano, pensively plucked guitar and banjo, and tasteful percussion even more sans storylines. In fact, within hours of them becoming available for digital download on Sunday, Portland Monthly had already given these songs enough virtual spins to owe Leonard a hefty “name your own” price; so we figure the very least we can do is recommend that you listen, too. While you lose yourself in this evocative soundscape, take a moment to appreciate all the backing players who add subtle symphonic splendor to the the chamber-folk acts you already love.

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