For his seventh album, East Nashvillian Korby Lenker decided to head home to Idaho to get in touch with his roots.
Instead of confining himself to a studio, he recorded his gentle vocals and melodic guitar parts in more than a dozen locales, including the edge of the Snake River Canyon, a cabin north of Sun Valley and his undertaker father’s mortuary. After this he collected vocal and instrumental contributions from nearly 30 folk artists in a variety of locations.
The fact that he was not worrying about writing hit tunes freed him up to express himself although only five of the twelve songs are his own compositions. The rest are collaborations with a variety of musical friends including Amy Speace, Molly Tuttle, Robby Hecht, Jon Weisberger and Liz Longley.
Lenker cites Paul Simon’s Graceland as a major influence, something you hear clearly in Nothing Really Matters, a more carefree and affirmative song than the title suggests.
Last Man Standing is the most rock orientated track (though still fairly soft) and this was written about Chief Sitting Bull following a reading of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. To add a more topical political dimension, parts of this were recorded at Standing Rock, near Sitting Bull’s grave, a month before the Dakota-Access Pipeline protests began.
The album as a whole is nicely varied and sequenced to show Kenker's romantic streak (in Love Is The Only Song and Wherever You Are) together with his playful side (in Book Nerd and Mermaids).
This project follows on from the singer's first collection of short stories, 'Medium Hero', and he says this helped him find his “true voice”. In Late Bloomers he sings "Some people might have gotten there sooner/But for us, it's gonna be right on time".
A sense of relief and satisfaction shines through in a charming album that finds Lenker arriving in a good place.
Korby Lenker's website