This week, the folk-pop duo Me and Leah will release its debut album – a sparse and beautiful 9-song, self-titled effort – on the digital label American Grapefruit.
Me and Leah is a new endeavor for Memphis music mainstay Jeff Hulett, who trades in the highly orchestrated grandiosity of previous projects like Snowglobe and Glorie for an understated presentation of some of his best material to date, collected from his various projects over the years. His partner-in-crime, local musician and artist Leah Keys, provides a perfect backdrop for his earnest songwriting and voice with a plucky banjo and ethereal vocals.
“We couldn't be happier. It represents what we do live. No frills with this album - it is what it is and we are excited to release it,” says Hulett. “We are both big fans of short and simple songs. Songs that have good lyrics and get to the point, but are also catchy and memorable. This record clocks in at 30 minutes. It's a good cooking dinner album.”
The album was recorded and mixed entirely in one day – April Fool’s Day, no less – at High/Low Recording under the watchful eyes of house engineers Toby Vest and Pete Matthews.
“Toby and Pete ran point and really helped us realize the vision we had,” says Hulett. “Recording was very comfortable. It was Leah's first go in a studio so I was a little nervous going in, but she was a total champ and killed it. Recording with just two people is so much more manageable.”
To celebrate the release, Me and Leah is throwing a party at the Amurica space in Crosstown this Friday, June 23 at 7 p.m. sharp. The excellent Jana Jana (Jana Misener from the Memphis Dawls) will open the show, and the $10 admission charge includes a free copy of the Me and Leah album on CD.
As for the band’s future, Hulett looks forward to a time when he and Keys might expand their songwriting partnership (“We are starting to write more songs together now,” he says), and even the direction of the band itself. But for now, the duo is dedicated to simply promoting its fine debut as a two-piece.
“It's not something we are focused on now, but I can't help but hear some of these songs with bass and drums and maybe some Whittemore (John, local lead guitarist),” says Hulett.