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Vivian Leva

Time is Everything – 2018 (Free Dirt)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Vivian Leva

The debut release of Lexington, Va. singer/songwriter Vivian Leva is a mix of classic country and folk driven by Leva's compelling vocals. One of the stronger cuts is the honky tonk ballad "Why Don't You Introduce Me As Your Darlin'" reminiscent of Kitty Wells' work from the '50s, which finds the singer questioning the commitment of her partner ("Well you tell me that you love me and you're true/Well how am I supposed to believe you") and suggesting the possible consequences ("Maybe I'll be another's love tonight").

The tale of lost love "Bottom Of The Glass" ("So there goes my weddin' ring to the bottom of the glass") has a retro '50s feel that recalls Hank Williams, while the title track finds a troubled couple working at cross-purposes ("You been down in Asheville foolin' 'round dusk 'til dawn/I been tossin' and turnin', restless all night long/You been tryin' to tell me 'No one knows what the years will bring"/I been tryin' to tell you, 'Time is everything'").

The folk ballad "Sturdy As The Land" has a Gillian Welch feel and similarly deals with the concepts of time and loss ("Where did the time go?/The hours have no end/Where did the love go/That felt as study as the land?"). Leva and collaborator Riley Calcagno rework the relatively obscure Texas Gladden song "Cold Mountains" adding instrumentation and a new chorus, while the only other cover is an effective rendition of Paul Burch's "Last Of My Kind."

Leva's strong vocals are nicely supported throughout primarily by multi-instrumentalist Calcagno (banjo, mandolin, acoustic guitar, fiddle) with stellar contributions from Jack Devereux (pedal steel), Joseph DeJarnette (bass), Eric Robertson (electric guitar, piano) and Nick Falk (drums). With Leva's pleasant vocals, smart compositions and nicely chosen covers, this is an impressive effort.