Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Nov. 26, 2010
Brennen LeighThe Box
If what passes for country music these days gives you a headache, Brennen Leigh has the remedy. The Box is traditional. No loud guitars or booming drums, just simple instrumentation, uncomplicated sentiments, and the local's honeyed vocals. The young singer-songwriter has an obvious affection for the Louvin Brothers. Contemporary artists like Patty Loveless and Jim Lauderdale make similar moves, mixing bluegrass and country with deep admiration. Lauderdale even sings harmony on the title track, about mementos people keep locked away either because they want to remember or, more likely, because they don't. Leigh has progressed tremendously since she moved to Austin from Minnesota as a 19-year-old. It's doubtful she could've written "Sleeping With the Devil" at a younger age or delivered it with such plaintive resolve. It's like that inside The Box, songs of wounded characters, hearts broken, and restlessness, all delivered with a touch that's distinctively warm and human.