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Putting the CD in the player I’m not sure what to expect. Seventeen Acres, by Joseph LeMay is the singer songwriter’s first full-length album, and like many talents we haven’t heard of, he has put in a lot of hard time to get where he is now. The story he tells over the course of these 11 tracks is that of a man who is living with fear, apprehension and personal pain as life changes around him.
The CD opens with the title track, a sweet and beautiful love story to his wife, with whom he’s recently left the city and moved into a trailer, 17 acres in the middle of somewhere you’ve never heard of. This is followed by another slow love song, “You Still Do It.” We get it, she’s your muse.
My feet start tapping and my head is nodding once “Crazy Woman”’s four count delivers a southern-funky-Tennessee kind of skins and strings groove. This song will be played several times, on repeat. “Fruit on the Vine” brings us back to something more mellow with its lullaby lamentation. It is followed up with an acappella song, “Warrant for My Worry.” He has been hearing rumors about rendezvous happening while he’s away and he asks his love, “Is there any warrant for my worry?”
It’s not until “Nothing You Can Do” that my involuntary body moving comes back, and I feel dirty because it’s not a happy story. The song is a painful look at a man’s longstanding inner trouble and a woman’s need to help it heal. “Possumhaw” is a whimsically told story about the way things might have been, but won’t. What a fun way to follow up that song, “Molly My Girl” is. Man, this is a good jam. This one gets 5 stars in the iTunes and a hit of the repeat button, not just because it’s a really good song, but also for the old southern-ism “The Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.” Well done, Mr. LeMay.
The final two tracks are “Redwing” and “Just So,” a song that has good intentions and wants to tell a sweet story, but has trouble doing so. It seems awkwardly repetitive, but it’s pretty to listen to.
That felt good, and Joseph LeMay definitely has a new fan. The CD is mostly low-key, but that’s good. He tells some serious and raw stories. He tells them well.