Alt-Country / Americana duo Lewis and Leigh are set to release their debut EP ‘Night Drives’ on 6th October, a 4-track introduction to their hugely atmospheric style of music. The UK can lay claim to this splendid new act as they are now based in London, additionally one half of the duo, Al Lewis hails from Wales. His musical partner, Alva Leigh, is from Mississippi making her way to these shores via Nashville. Both of these young talents have previously recorded solo albums in Music City and, via connections made during that time, came together during the summer of last year. The two found that they shared common musical ground and began writing together, blending together Country, Folk and Americana.
‘Night Drives’ was recorded in May of this year in London and looks set to ignite the career of Lewis and Leigh when it makes its bow at the beginning of next month. Lead single ‘What Is There To Do’ is a glorious opener to the EP, a mid-tempo track with a fabulous call and response element to its’ chorus. Starting as it means to continue to with lashings of pedal steel and impressive harmonies from the duo, the song is a throwback of genuine quality. Vocally the pair work wonderfully in unison, as they also do on their respective solo lines, with Leigh showcasing a particularly beguiling quality to her delivery.
‘All Night Drive’ is a slower, gentler and strangely hypnotic entry. A lone acoustic guitar accompanies solo vocals from Lewis, before he is joined by Leigh and the pair lead us softly to the shuffling chorus, which welcomes in that steel guitar again. Despite its’ fairly sombre subject matter and instrumentation the track has a surprisingly uplifting feel to the chorus, helped largely by the appealingly deft vocal work. There is an undeniable chemistry between Lewis and Leigh when they are singing together, two voices that work to compliment the other, ‘All Night Drive’ is a stellar example of that fact. ‘Anchor Line’ finds the duo adding that Folk-flavour to their material, a gorgeous song searching for answers to some of life’s big questions, ‘why do I run away, from what I need to say?‘ it muses at one point. The semi-desperation in the lyrics is echoed in a sparse feel to the track, Lewis and Leigh are impressively precise with the elements included on this EP and ‘Anchor Line’ shines brighter because of this.
The EP closes with ‘Say You Miss Me’, a cover version of a track recorded by American alternative-rock band Wilco on their ‘Being There’ album. The Lewis and Leigh interpretation was recorded live during the sessions for ‘Night Drives’ and was also filmed at the same time (watch the video here). With Lewis on the acoustic guitar, Leigh playing piano and the two alternating vocals on the verses, before joining together on the choruses ‘Say You Miss Me’ is a goosebump-inducing effort. The song itself is a perfect fit for the duo and sees both parties deliver their strongest vocals across the entire EP. Not being familiar with the original Wilco cut I have no intention of retrospectively listening to it, I cannot imagine it coming anywhere close to this sublime version.
Following its’ release on 6th October, ‘Night Drives’ is being launched at a special show by Lewis and Leigh at the Betsey Trotwood in London on 21st October (check here for ticket details), highly recommended to all of those who can make it. For those unable to attend there is no excuse not to add a copy of ‘Night Drives’ to your collection, a remarkably impressive debut offering from a relatively newly-formed act. The material on this EP is music to get lost in, fascinatingly written and performed with passion for the songs and a reverence for tradition which makes it even more appealing. The decision for these two to join together and go forward in their careers as a duo looks to be a masterstroke, both are gifted singers, in harmony they are superb and they most definitely appear to be sparking each other creatively. Long may it continue.