Vancouver singer-songwriter Leah Abramson and her band The Abramson Singers have released their second album on May 14, 2013. Produced by Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, Brasstronaut), this album finds the Singers with lush band arrangements, relatively upbeat tempos, retro organs and catchy melodies. What began at the Banff Centre Indie Band Residency with Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire), Tony Berg (Jakob Dylan) and Shawn Everett (Weezer), Late Riser explores new pop and indie rock sensibilities, but not without a firm grounding in folk songwriting.
Thematically Late Riser is a continuation on the subject matter of their previous self-titled album (2010), with songs of longing, loss and heartbreak alongside historically inspired songs about the Métis rebel Louis Riel (the French-English hybrid, “Marguerite,” and beautifully somber “Red River Valley”). Many of the stories behind the songs take on classic themes, such as the no-good, unreliable man (“Jack of Diamonds” and “Drowning Man”), and the grim finality of death (“Skull & Crossbones” and “Red River Valley”). Using lyric symbolism and archetypal imagery updated for modern times, the band also explores modern topics such as stage fright (“Fight or Flight”) and moving on after a romance (the a cappella “Liftoff Canon”). These songs are given more of an abstract treatment, but still find themselves drawing from both the sparse folk and lush arrangements that characterize this album.
Along with her talented band (including members of Dan Mangan’s band, Petunia & The Vipers and Snowblink), and special guests (Sam Parton of The Be Good Tanyas, Old-time fiddler/singer-songwriter Rayna Gellert, Jesse Zubot, and Josh Grange of KD Lang’s band), The Abramson singers have put together an album of extraordinary beauty not soon to be forgotten.
Leah Abramson: vocals, acoustic guitar
Patrick Metzger: bass, electric guitar on #3, 10, harmony vocals on #8, 11
Tyson Naylor: keyboards, organ, mellotron, harmonium, theatre organ, accordion
Daniel Gaucher: drums on #6, 8, 10, 11
Greg Murray: drums on #3, 4, 9
Lucien Durey: harmony vocals on #2, 3, 5, 9
Eric Weiden: horns on #4, 5
Samantha Parton: harmony vocals on #10
Joshua Grange: baritone guitar on #3
Rayna Gellert: viola on #6
Jesse Zubot: violin on #11
Alison Girvan and Don MacDonald: harmony vocals on #11
Choir on #11: Ted Weiden, Myrna Weiden, Eric Weiden, Tyson Naylor, Greg Murray, Joyce Pearson, Leah Pearson, Allison Pearson, Craig Hansen, Laurie Hansen, Cathy Peplinski, Jim Peplinski, Sue Wettstein, Wieland Wettstein, Theresa Leonard, Stefanie Blondal Johnson, Kevin Fallis, Daniel Meyer, Elizaveta Fedorova
For all songs, words and music by Leah Abramson, except #10 words by Leah Abramson, music by Patrick Metzger and Leah Abramson, and #1 & 7 music by Leah Abramson and Tyson Naylor.
All songs produced, mixed and engineered by Colin Stewart with The Abramson Singers at The Hive Creative Labs in Burnaby, B.C.; except #3 produced, engineered and mixed by Tony Berg, Shawn Everett and Colin Stewart; #4 and #11 produced, engineered and mixed by Howard Bilerman, Shawn Everett and Colin Stewart; #3, 4, 11 recorded at The Banff Centre; #1 and 7 recorded by Daniel Meyer at the Cantos Museum in Calgary; #2 recorded by Eric Weiden; Rayna Gellert recorded by Bruce Bartlett at at Bartlett Recording, Weaverville NC.