One of Duluth's greatest folk bands is back with a full length album. Feeding Leroy released Monument Valley in April on digital platforms (Spotify, itunes, bandcamp, ect.) with hard copies available at their live shows. This is their second album, having released Love is a Gamble a few years ago.
Monument Valley's title track is named for the region in Utah popularly shown as a picturesque image of the South West in media. The song describes the region but mostly tells the complicated story of a woman, and of a small town. Utah is where Sonja Bjordal met her husband Lee, who sings the song.
My favorite song on Monument Valley is called The Other Side. Bjordal sings this song. It's got a really catchy hook, simply asking "is it really green on the other side?"
"It’s about the idea of the grass is always greener and knowing when to take a risk and when not to," Bjordal. "It’s about my relationship with my significant other and seeing each other through hard times and making it to that ‘other side’."
She said a lot of people think it is about death, which she is okay with. I certainly interpreted it that way when I first heard it.
I don't think there is a single song on this album I don't like. They create fun toe-tapping folk songs that anyone one can groove to. I think they sound like they're having a fun time in their songs because they grew as a band so organically.
"When we moved home, we had a band with some other people, but eventually Lee's brother Luke moved home and made a big life decision to quit the golf business and move to Duluth and started playing harmonica with us. He and Lee are twins, by the way. Then we recruited our long time friend Adam to play upright bass, as we felt he had a good folk and old timey sound to bring to the group."
This album has a lot of themes of travel and distance. This is especially evident in Take be Back to Texas. Feeding LeRoy travels to Texas every year to play near Austin, and they've made a lot of friends there in the process. Bjordal said Texas has a special place in their hearts. Another one of my favorite tracks is the first, titled When Winter Begins. This song explores themes of American political culture (you can't make an album in 2018 without saying something about it). It mainly focuses on fear mongering and the concept of preparing for the worst. The song includes a line that is especially potent, "the world's got a problem only love can fix."
The name of the band, Feeding LeRoy, is definitely interesting. Who is LeRoy and why are we fixated on feeding him? "Leroy is our dog and when we were trying to come up with a name, Lee said ‘Feeding Leroy ‘ cause feeding him is a funny ordeal. He drools like crazy," Bjordal said.
If you enjoy folk music you will love this band. They blend melodic catchy lyrics in with intricate string sounds. They travel all over but primarily play in the Duluth-Superior area, check them out this summer when they'll be playing at Chester Bowl later in July.