Michael Leonard Witham - A Scandal in the Violets
(To be) Released October 21, 2014
By Graham White
A Scandal in The Violets, the debut album from folk rock artist Michael Leonard Witham, has all the sentiment of a warm southern night wrapped in slide guitar and a growling vocal tone that lies somewhere between Bright Eyes and Janis Joplin. Smoothly cruising bass guitar meets natural, tightened rhythm and lyrical potency. Relaxing and filled with soul, the album would be ideal for late night camp fires or a road trip down a dusty road, for those never ending summer nights spent cavorting with the stars.
Sorry Girl But The Show Is Over opens the album with a bright piano that dances about with slide guitar, pulling the listener into its unique musical embrace. Though the vocal quality is initially abrasive against the light and intimate piano, it is soon familiarized and becomes an inseparable aspect of the sound, forming a uniquely beautiful tone that is truthful and addictive. Down For Good follows with steady bass and rhythm, solidifying within the listener the relaxing quality found throughout the album. The drawling tones make for a purifying listening experience, compelling one to sink into the grass and stare into the clouds. Defective Heart waltzes into the listeners’ ears with vigor, with guitar and piano riffs dancing like fireflies. It swells and rolls with one’s heartbeat, intimately connecting with one’s internal rhythm. Oh The Evil !!! has harmonica offsetting raspy vocals, reminiscent of folk-heroes Bob Dylan or Arlo Guthrie. With powerful lyrics and a slow beat, the track is quick to stick in one’s head. Sideways Grin & A Wandering Eye fills the listener with a bass line that holds their ears in preparation for some of the most potent vocal tones my eardrums have ever grooved along to. Soulful and raw, the vocal tone has a jazz-inspired feel, perfectly complimented by organ and slide guitar. It is entrancing, with my ears only wanting more.
Miss L.A. leads listeners with fingerpicked guitar, building into a seriously danceable beat without losing its country charm. The constant, driving bass holds it all together while the vocals demand that the listeners’ attention, inciting them to sing along.
Ordinary Hand follows with the now-familiar steel guitar floating across the rolling rhythm, curling up to sleep in pure comfort. Relaxing without being mundane, the track manages to keep one’s attention. The Good Doctor’s Double Vodka Blues is (besides a great title for this song) a bluesy and drawling tune that captures the listener with its lyrics. Powerful and truthful, it fills the listeners’ ears with dulcet tones. Last Plea To Ashley Ann takes the listener into the nearest barn to dance with its country groove. Energetic and full of life with a bass line that keeps one wanting to move along to the music. Where The Witches Live ends this relaxing listening experience with harmonica and finger-picked guitar lulling the listener into the final note of the album.
A Scandal In The Violets is a folk-rock album that stands out due to its unique vocality and well written tracks. Soulful and relaxing, the album floats along with the listener, caressing their ear drums with slide guitar and deeply entwined bass lines. A must listen for folk lovers!