Joseph LeMay Celebrates the Release of Debut Album, Seventeen Acres, TODAY May 20th
Stories of Desolation and Commitment From a Singlewide Trailer on Seventeen Acres in Tennessee
Find Seventeeen Acres on iTunes: http://bit.ly/JosephLeMay_iTunes
LISTEN to the title track of the album at American Songwriter: http://bit.ly/1mhIHE1
“LeMay reminds me of some of the odd men out in the music world of the early 70s— artists such as Jim Dawson and Stu Nunnery and Bill Puka…There is a slight James Taylor feel to some of the songs, a couple are straight out of Jim Dawson’s playbook, and others less specific— all impressive and a few damn good.” —Frank Gutch Jr, Bob Segarini Blog
ASHEVILLE, NC — Songwriter Joseph LeMay is excited to celebrate the release of his new album Seventeen Acres today, Tuesday, May 20, 2014.
Before patching up the old trailer in West Tennessee, grass grew through cracks on the floor and copperheads mingled between decades of stacked boxes on a grandfather’s hand-me-down farm. It was in this abandoned singlewide that Americana artist Joseph LeMay cleared a space for his new life as a married man and Seventeen Acres, his first full-length release.
LeMay began performing at an age when most kids are focused on learning the alphabet. Just barely a teen, the young musician could add Showtime at the Apollo, an opening gig for Brian Wilson and a countless line of county fairs across the southeast to his list of growing accomplishments. This passion for music continued to manifest during high school as LeMay took to writing and moved to New York in search of work as a performer.
During his time in Manhattan, LeMay’s musical future bent when he met music veteran Charlie Peacock, producer of The Civil Wars and The Lone Bellow. LeMay moved to Nashville and spent hours as a silent observer of Peacock as artists passed through his studio. Witnessing the life of a working musician changed Joseph, inspiring him to find his voice.
But it wasn’t long before LeMay found himself in an age-old Nashville ritual- working a part-time job to pay the bills and creating on the side. “After making sandwiches for 60 hours a week, it’s hard to find the energy and time to do the work you want,” says LeMay. To escape the inevitable pace their life was heading, he and his new wife made a drastic change of scenery and moved into that forgotten trailer on her family’s inherited farm on the outskirts of Dyersburg, Tenn.
“It was like sitting under a magnifying glass,” says LeMay of the isolation of rural Tennessee. “I was constantly alone and in a period of self-doubt. I was worrying how I would measure up as new husband, more or less thrown out in the wilderness.” The intensity of his self-examination led to what we now know as Seventeen Acres.
Filled with stories of dissecting the nuances of love and uncertainty, Seventeen Acres was produced by LeMay himself and came to life in the same space the stories originated. Joining LeMay as his band on the album are Juan Solorzano (electric guitar), Noah Denney (drums, bass, percussion), Caleb Hickman (keys, lap steel, banjo), Molly Parden (backing vocals), Eleonore Denig (violin), Austin Hoke (Cello) and Ben Jones (upright bass).
Songs like “Fruit on the Vine” and “Warrant for My Worry” ache with missed expectations and hope in their draught, while “Molly My Girl” and “Just So” are timeless tales of endearing love. Start to finish, LeMay’s labor is driven by this love and all the desperation, fear and commitment that comes with it.
“Music fulfills a need,” says LeMay. “It’s communicating across mediums. We don’t just want words. It’s the color and the canvas. The cadence and the lyric.” It’s with a balanced grasp of bare truth and pursuit of grace that LeMay channels this primal need in the desolation of his Seventeen Acres.