Whirled Records, 2010
REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/31/2010
David Leonard is one of those hard-working denizens who has inhabited rock music for several decades yet has not received the commercial success he deserves. Hopefully, his new release, The Quickening, will rectify that problem as he has created a catchy, melodic, and hard-rocking album.
Leonard has an excellent pedigree. He has been a session guitarist for the likes of Chuck Berry, James Montgomery, James Cotton, Cyndi Lauper, Tommy Shaw, and many others. He is a longtime member of Richard Lloyd’s touring and recording band. He has also made some friends along the way, as guitar wizards Chris Spedding and Rick Derringer bring their talents to his new album.
He is a guitarist/vocalist who is able to write excellent guitar-based rock songs. There is a sophistication that has been acquired by years of experience and a knack that some musicians never acquire.
He wrote seven of the ten tracks on this disc, and most of them are excellent examples of what rock music should be about. “Tru Tonight” is the closest to what could be considered a top forty sound, with harmonies that enhance the melodies and combine with the guitars into a tasty mix. “Turn The World” is a guitar delight, featuring both Derringer and Spedding cranking up their instruments. “King Of Fools” was co-written by Richard Lloyd and features Chris Spedding on guitar for this somewhat heavy rocker. “The Ship Has Sailed” is probably my favorite track, as poignant lyrics combine with Derringer’s guitar excursions.
The three cover songs are an eclectic group, yet they are well chosen to fit his style and vision. The Beatles “She’s A Woman” is extended out to over six minutes, which gives Derringer some room to improvise. It has a funky blues feel and the guitar runs connect the sections. Dylan’s “My Back Pages” builds throughout, and Leonard’s guitar work proves he’s the equal of his distinguished company. He ends with Roky Erickson’s “I Had To Tell You.” Any Erickson composition is an adventure, but Leonard takes it in an acoustic direction that enables the listener to explore the textures and lyrics.
The Quickening is a strong outing from David Leonard. Hopefully, it will garner the attention it and he deserves.