CD Review: Andy Lehman and The Night Moves “Lowcountry”

Lowcountry_Album_cover_lo-res 200Andy Lehman & The Night Moves released their sophomore effort, “Lowcountry” back in September on Ten Star Records. The band formed in 2007 and have been building a loyal following ever since. After hearing “Lowcountry”, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they became the latest pop rock sensation.

To be honest, I was a bit taken aback on the first listen. The CD begins with a mellow 6 minute opus that tells a story about a girl named Ally who was going back to Mobile (Alabama). Memories of Bob Dylan‘s “Stuck Inside of Mobile” kept distracting me from the story of Ally, but I was abruptly shaken out of my Dylan daydream with a gorgeous bridge that flowed into one of the most uplifting and memorable choruses I’ve heard in some time. Pretty, baby! The other thing that threw me at first was Lehman‘s vocals…his voice is different…a little light, a little effeminate perhaps, but dammit I like it. His voice is smooth, soothing, and soaring at times – perfect for these laid-back and breezy Southern tunes. He sounds fragile and crystal clear – yes, his voice is like a wine glass – a cross between David Gates (Bread) and Kyle Vincent. Not that he can’t rock out, though, as you’ll read below.

Following the brilliant opener is another in the vibe of story-telling Harry Chapin called, “You Can Leave The Light On”. It is another great track with intelligent lyrics, a catchy chorus, and an insightful mix of electric and acoustic guitars. “An Arrow Flew” is the standout ballad with another winning sing-a-long chorus. So not to put us asleep, Lehman wisely slips quickly into a peppy and sunny tune called “Million To One”, whose simple lyrics enchant us almost as much as the 70s bubblegum vibe (complete with handclaps). The rest of the CD struggles to meet the very high bar set by these first four tunes, with “I Smelled You on the Breeze” and “All Along The Roads We Walked” coming closest. While not one of my favorite tracks, “Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing” is notable – it rocks more than any other song here, and gives Lehman the opportunity to show us the versatility of his vocals. He not only holds his own against the wall of guitars, but even throws in a Robert Plant inspired falsetto in the chorus!

The production is top-notch and truly remarkable for an unsigned band…this is no doubt attributable to the expertise of Rick Beato, who has previously worked with Shinedown and Jump Little Children. The songwriting is terrific, with beautiful chord progressions and well-placed harmonies that you’ll appreciate more with each listen.

I also thought it was cool how the final track, “Back To Where The Roads Are Mud”, ends with a subtle reprise of “Ally Went Back”, nicely looping you back to the beginning of the CD. Clever little tricks like this indicate that the band is thinking outside of the box, not just worrying about single tracks, but also keeping the entire album experience in mind for their listener. I expect great things from this band and can’t wait to hear what they do next. Keep those choruses melodic, keep the chord changes interesting, and keep those harmonies soaring!

Don’t miss the chance to check out Andy Lehman & The Night Moves for free – go download three tracks for FREE at the web site now.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9

Andy Lehman & The Night Moves on MySpace. Official site.