Leigh Marble
"Red Tornado"

(Laughing Stock Records 2007)Leigh Marble - Red Tornado

Leigh Marble has the blues in his soul. And folk certainly lies in Marble's brain. But, that old rapscallion rock is unquestionably in Marble's heart. While he dabbles in traditional styles, Marble still manages to put a dark, edginess on his music. From country inspired folk to acoustic rock, Marble tries to make his sophomore full-length, "Red Tornado," a well rounded affair while still remaining focused on a common thread.

Taken at face value, Marble seems to be strongest in the straightforward singer-songwriter role. He makes the gentle melody of "Strip the Bed" feel heartfelt and emotional as it builds in intensity while his acoustic guitar start of "Stakes" is supported by fuller instrumentation that comes off like a traditional English tune. Elsewhere on the album Marble shows off his hard rocking and bluesy side with the shrill stamping melody of "Lucky Bastards" although the song could have easily used more electric guitar flair or even an organ solo. But sometime around "Baby Ruth," Marble begins to ramble, the soft tune wandering, while the rhythmic "So Far" clumsily tries to fit in too many dreary sayings.

The problem for Marble is not his styles so much as his songs. "Red Tornado" starts relatively strong and it finishes that way. Somewhere in between, the Portland musician seems to get a little lost. Undoubtedly, the foundation is there but wires get crossed and the building gets a little shaky. Marble's "Red Tornado" comes across more like a seasonal sprinkle with some light breezes.

C+

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