The Alex Leach Band - When I'm Moving
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When I'm Moving (Mountain Home, 2021)

The Alex Leach Band

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

The full-length debut of the North Carolina-based Alex Leach Band boasts a prominent producer in Jim Lauderdale and an authentic bluegrass sound in the tradition of Ralph Stanley. Leach wrote or co-wrote six of the 11 tracks, including the sentimental ballad "The Turntable" in which he namechecks musical heroes such as the Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe and Jim and Jesse along with an amusing colloquial reference to "Earl's banjer a ringing."

Leach's wife and band mate Miranda Leach co-wrote and shares lead vocals on the duet "Take Me Back," which documents a correspondence between an estranged couple in which the man writes to plead his case for redemption ("This is too much for me to go onward/No substance can drown out the memories that I have of you") only to learn that perhaps too much damage has been done in her response ("My address is on the outside of this letter/I don't know who'll find me but I pray to my God it ain't you"). Miranda also duets on the cover of Clinton King's "I Can't Live On This Way" that spotlights Brandon Masur on banjo.

Other highlights are the Leach ballad about lost love "Mandy Mae" in which the singer feels no bitterness ("Neither you or me, chose it to happen/my Mandy Mae you're not to blame"), but imagines an eternal reunion ("Those hills of time I will rest peaceful, right beside my Mandy Mae/In heaven waits my Mandy Mae") and the instrumental "James Russell Rag" which gives the band members a chance to display their prowess, particularly with Joshua Gooding shining on mandolin.

Tastefully produced by Lauderdale (who contributed the title track), "When I'm Moving" is a thoroughly entertaining effort that establishes the 30-year-old Leach as a promising singer/songwriter.

CDs by The Alex Leach Band

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