There’s a clean, shock-mounted microphone strategically placed in front of an antiquated speaker in the photograph from the inner sleeve of Leigh Marble’s Red Tornado release. It’s the perfect preface for the eleven songs that make up Red Tornado, Marble’s second effort. Well worn instruments and enviable arrangements are meticulously captured throughout with Leigh dutifully alternating between provocateur and heartbreak, depending on the song.
And who does he have his sights on with track one? Why The Rolling Stones, of course, who’ve been sleepwalking through enviable privileged while someone like Marble is looking for scraps to fund another tour that’s sure to see smaller crowds than what is deserved. Yes, life ain’t fair, but Marble seems too preoccupied with carrying equipment up to the studio to dwell too much about the fine points of what he’s missing while following his muse.
Red Tornado manages to prove a few things. What’s quickly apparent is his ability as a singer-songwriter, but what’s also revealed is Marble’s uncanny talent around the studio. This is an artist that is (practically) single-handedly creating complex arrangements and well-thought-out mixes that may have been neglected in the hands of someone else. These are his babies, and for each one of the eleven tracks, Marble gingerly places each instrument in the right place and knows exactly when to pull them away.
This is an album that uses a menagerie of Americana instruments, typically acoustic guitars, pianos, harmonicas, and wonderfully dynamic percussion, to an impressive degree.
It’s going to be interesting to see how he plans on delivering this material on the road. It would also be interesting to see how bitter he really is playing to a handful of patrons instead of a legion of adoring fans. My guess is that, like the solitude that the studio provides him, there would be no less enthusiasm on his part.
The reality is that Leigh Marble shouldn’t be playing in front of a handful of anyone. Instead, he should be in front of packed houses full of paying customers, with all of the luxuries originally provided to those aforementioned lucky bastards handed directly over to him.
Previously: Leigh Marble: Ten Questions We Ask Everyone.