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.
Leigh Marble’s sophomore album Red Tornado opens with an ode to the dirtiest band in the world. Musically and lyrically, Marble pay hommage to the Rolling Stones with a sleazy slide guitar, Hammond organ, and a sly namecheck with “I don’t see no shots of Charlie Watts.” But don’t think for a moment that Marble is a cut-rate Mick Jagger reinventing Exile on Mainstreet on digital gear and ephedrine. No, Marble does for 70s rock what Beck did for anti-folk in the early 90s. There are strange juxtapositions that walk a fine line between the warbly vocalization and stumbling rhythm of Bright Eyes and the hazy lyricism and story telling of Josh Ritter. The fact that I can’t easily pin this kid to the alt.country world who worships at the alter of Gram Parsons and embarrasses itself with self-conscious faux alcoholism is a very good sign.
On “Salt In the Wound,” a song Marble describes as “a memoriam to a number of slow-suicide cases I’ve known in Portland. Frustrated artists that forget their beauty and drink themselves to death”, Marble pulls no emotional punches in his pursuit to speak his mind and let his voice be heard. See what I’m saying?
We suckered Marble into answering our dopey questions and found that he ain’t cut out for farming so took up the lazy life with a guitar and a strong cup of coffee.