Joseph LeMay is an Americana singer songwriter who delicately tows the line between the old and the new with his music. His spirited lyricism harkens the sacred and time-tested roots of the folk and Americana genres, while the delicate nature of his vocals and musicianship display the youthful soul of the generation to which he was born. These qualities prove to be the beating heart of LeMay’s debut full-length record Seventeen Acres that released earlier this week.
It was in a single-wide trailer on a seventeen acre farm on the outskirts of his hometown of Dyersburg, TN where Joseph moved with his new wife from Nashville, where he had spent the last several years of his life that he found the inspiration for his ambitious new record. “I was constantly alone and in a period of self-doubt. I was worrying how I would measure up as new husband, more or less thrown out in the wilderness,” said LeMay when describing both his geographically and emotionally isolated state that led to the conception of Seventeen Acres. Having both written and produced the album on the rural Tennessee farm located in the northwest corner of the state, each song exudes the spirit of the location that monumentally shaped this chapter in LeMay’s life. It is the extreme level of care, intensity and personal reflection that went into Seventeen Acres that makes LeMay’s music stand out among a muddled landscape of aspiring folk musicians.
Below you can see the new video for the album’s single “You Still Do It,” which also released this week. The song has a gentleness to it that unfolds like an old love letter, ripe with subtle yet penetrating harmonies. “This song came together in pieces, very organically over time,” says LeMay when describing the tune. “It was one of those that you don’t need a guitar to write.” The video, one of a series titled “Trailer Trash” (also released as a live EP via Noisetrade), was made in the same single-wide trailer in which it was written, thus bringing the spirit of the album on which the song appears to life visually.
LeMay will be celebrating Seventeen Acres with an album release show in Nashville on Thursday, May 29th at The Basement, located at 1604 8th Avenue South. Joseph will be backed by a band of musicians whom with he collaborates with regularly, many of whom also appear on the video for “You Still Do It.” Lily Hiatt, Matt Reed and Charlie Whitten will open the evening. The show starts at 9:00PM and is only $5. Trust me, as someone who has seen LeMay live multiple times, there is no better way could spend $5 on a summer evening in May. Joseph’s raw sincerity when he plays the songs he wrote in rural West Tennessee live is twice as prevalent and authentic as it is on Seventeen Acres, if that’s even possible.
– Christian Lerchenfeld