The deeper you dig into modern music, the more players you should find that are multi-instrumentalists. It’s a pretty heady list, though few are as well versed as Joseph LeMay. LeMay has chosen his stage moniker as SONTALK, and with his debut full length Stay Wild he takes you on a journey of trials and tribulations, smiles and frowns, and everything in-between.
While this is essentially folk music, there’s so much happening with each track that cataloging what you hear as folk isn’t quite appropriate. The way the lyrics feel like stories from a seasoned traveler, how the music has multiple instruments or just how narrative the album feels should make you think it’s far from traditional folk music. The differences between the tracks is vast,yet they all work together. The opener “Stay Wild” is a piano driven recital for the ears. SONTALK isn’t even attempting to do anything more than pull you in with his deployment of instrumentation that hops on and off of the song while he sings from a soft and gentle place that feels personal and deep.
The third track, “Baby, I’m Gone” is almost the opposite. While there’s plenty of instruments, and it starts as a traditional folk song-that changes quickly and takes you on a whole new ride. Diverse, lushly arranged and thoughtfully crafted, the song is what the whole of the record is-well crafted music that you don’t get very often. The vocals always sound heavy with emotional depth, the arrangements have an almost orchestral feel and the catchy hooks come naturally rather than how they typically can feel forced from other acts. At times the album feels like vignettes in time like of “Ca Va & C’est La Vie” or with “Hosanna (God, Damn My Soul),” while at others the songs feel like experiments in landscaped sound like with “I Am a Mountain” or on “Jesus Honey (God, I Hate You Sometimes).” The entire album is lovely and beautiful while holding a grip on your consciousness. SONTALK has crafted a true gem here while the story may get lost on some, you won’t turn the album off as soon as it begins.
You can stream Stay Wild on all streaming sites or purchase it digitally from all online music retailers from Sony Masterworks. SONTALK will be on tour beginning April 01 in Salt Lake City, UT at Kilby Court until May 17 in La Crosse, WI at Mid West Music Fest. A complete listing of his tour can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Dustin Condren.