It's been four years since Leigh Sloggett's 2008 Looking for the Clues (here), and that's much too long a wait, though when you hear More than I Need, regrets and wistfulness will quickly fade. The interval has seen the composer sink more deeply into his flawless interpolation of folk and blues—in fact, this release places him much more clearly in line with the Canadian maestros (Colin Linden, Ian Tyson, Steve Dawson, etc.). That evolved trait becomes searingly evident in the instrumental Dancing with Joy, a track the Takoma and CandyRat labels would've been very happy to have had appear in their esteemed domains.
As with the last CD, Sloggett likes to gently back into John Martyn territory, which he incorporates into More than I Need, my favorite cut this time out. As always, the lyrics to each song hold a good deal more than the semantics seem to make plain, especially in Dog Line, a harkening back to elder days, heartless laws, and "justice" with a tragic ending resolving into transcendent determination. Sloggett chose acclaimed finger-style guitarist Nick Charles to produce the disc, and the harmony between the two couldn't be more copacetic, fleshing each cut with a spare lucidity dimensionalizing the rustic atmospherics native to his opuses.
In fact, the take on Dylan's I am a Lonesome Hobo injects a laser-edged brio the original doesn't have: where Dylan was regaling the listener through a documentarian's ilk of narration, Leigh sings from the mendicant's backbone with grit, regret, and prophetic admonition. The Sea, however, reaches into the composer's Nick Drake/Iain Matthews wont, here with a bit of Mike Scott and the Waterboys, and those are guys one can never get enough of. Now they have a fourth set of hands. No Room at the Top, on the other hand, could almost have been a cut from the Performance soundtrack containing Jagger's outrageously righteous Memo from Turner, and the closing I Can Fly is as perfect a closing instrumental lullabye as you're likely to find anywhere, poignant and almost wrenching, were it not also sweet and decorous, a very fine line drawn between the two estates, a bittersweet cut very much underlining much of More than I Need's and Leigh Sloggett's sense of Humanistic realism.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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