. Eliot once said that we sometimes gotta travel far far away from our home in order to come back and know it for the first time. A music school refugee when I met him, Landon A.R
. Coleman had just fled his native Edmonton and come to Ottawa to spend a year studying philosophy. He moved on from there to the Maritimes, where he studied literature and wrote short stories. Gave himself over to booklearnin’, as they say.
But the whole time Coleman was doing a different sort of learning as well. It seemed he was on a quest to overcome his own excessive education— to relearn the things our grandparents all knew just from living. In Edmonton he played clubs as an under-age indie rock and roller. After Ottawa, he wandered out to the mountains of BC to spend a lonesome summer wearing plaid shirts and writing sorrowful, spiritually-weighted songs. While in Nova Scotia he cleared a space between all his books to set up his upright bass with a local bluegrass band.
But through all his wanderings and ponderings, there’s an Edmonton somewhere inside Coleman that he’s always trying to get back to. It’s this more than anything that he captures on Landon AR Coleman’s Single Life. With the help of rising Montreal singer/songwriter Leif Vollebekk and Dave Draves he recorded Single Life mostly live off the floor at Little Bullhorn Studios in Ottawa. Compare this album to his old EP, A Dusty Dove, and you’ll hear the journey in his very voice. A few years back his voice was jazz-trained and precise. He sings from the gut now, like a real country singer. He pushes his voice ‘til it trips, then uses his training to somersault it back onto its feet.
One day I’m sure Coleman will return to Edmonton and stubbornly remain. But his wanderings aren’t over yet, and if he passes through your town he will take a few songs away with him, and leave a few behind, leaving us all the richer for the exchange. And for those few hours our songs will all be lived, and our lives will all be sung.
-Jesse Butler is a writer and poet living in Ottawa, ON
released August 15, 2011
Landon Coleman— Vocals, Guitar, Ukulele, Harmonica, Bass, Percussion
Leif Vollebekk— Piano, Banjo, Violin, Organ, Mellotron, Guitar, Bass, Percussion
Olivier Fairfield— Drums
Jessica Jalbert— Background Vocals
Dave Draves— Organ, Percussion
Nathaniel Wong— Viola
Nealee Humphreys— French Horn
Produced by Leif Vollebekk
Mixed and Engineered by Dave Draves at Little Bullhorn
except “Give My Hips to the Girls”
Produced by Scott McKellar and Landon Coleman
Mixed and Engineered by Scott McKellar and Dave
All lyrics and music written by Landon A.R
“Down to the Wire” written by Neil Young
Published by Reprise, 1977 and
“Rock-salt and Nails” Public Domain
Cover art “Haywain” by Hieronymous Bosch,
Art Direction and Design by Adam Gsellman
Additional Photography by Gravy T