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Breadfoot featuring Anna Phoebe – Tea With Leo

Charlie Owen

Simple and beautiful, that’s really the only way to describe the new CD “Tea with Leo.” Two well-respected musicians, Breadfoot (Stephan Meyers) and Anna Phoebe, got together to play for the love of music. It is truly a rare thing these days. They had to know when they made this album that it was not going to top any best-seller lists. But that’s the point. It’s the purity of this kind of music that makes it so compelling. Almost the only sounds you will hear on this album are guitar, banjo, and violin. No vocals and no drums holding tempo. The strings work overtime telling the stories without words. There are seven songs in all (eight if you include the bonus track hidden at the end of the disc), and each one sets a mood that is hard to capture with traditional song styling.

Recorded in only two days in London, it’s amazing that the sound is not rushed, although it is delightfully under-produced. It possesses the kind of raw sound associated with garage punk and anti-folk music. Breadfoot takes you back in time to a place where instruments were played on front porches after a hard day in the fields. The sounds that he summons from the banjo and guitar remind me of something you would hear on the “Oh Brother” soundtrack. And Phoebe, who is string master of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, will pull your heart out with her weepy, eerie violin playing.

This CD really does have the feel of a movie score, a really sad movie. Just listen one time and you’ll know what I am talking about. I would recommend this to anyone who likes strings only, bluegrass, or moody, semi-depressing music.


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