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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Sep 22nd, 2014

Michael Leonard Witham: A Scandal In the Violets

MLWMichael Leonard Witham
A Scandal In the Violets
(Michael Leonard Witham)

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A lilting acoustic guitar, piano, Jesse Aycock-pedal steel and rangy vocals inform admitted “junk collector since childhood,” singer/songwriter Michael Leonard Witham’s “Defective Hearty,” a song from his new album, A Scandal In the Violets.

“Last Plea To Ashley Ann” has more of the same sounding vocals (as does most of the stuff here), but it moves mid-tempo with a nice, subtle snare march. I really like Witham when he’s sweet, as he is on “Miss L.A.” and the layered electric picking of “Ordinary Hand.” This latter tune has some real good personal lyrics.

“Oh the Evil!!!” instantly reminds one of Bob Dylan, but that’s only because of the simple harmonica. Greg Spradlin’s electric lifts us from any reminders throughout this poppy country tune. Spradlin moves with Witham’s piano into what sounds like the most un-country tune here, “Sideways Grin & a Wandering Eye,” the best tune of these ten for me.

We get some gospel with the piano-led “Sorry Girl But the Show Is Over,” another of the stronger songs here (and a true nod to Jack White). And yes, it’s pure Dylan on the last song, “Where the Witches Live,” another great story song.

Sure we are reminded of Ryan Adams and even Jack White here, but there are enough touches in  Michael Leonard Witham’s own personal songwriting acumen and his nods to older country artists here to make A Scandal In the Violets worth a nice deep long listen.

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Michael Leonard Witham: A Scandal In the Violets