Thousand Springs is the astounding seventh studio album from enigmatic troubadour Korby Lenker, only it’s not strictly speaking a ‘studio’ album. In true homage to his own unique style, Thousand Springs was actually recorded across a host of locations including the edge of the Snake River Canyon and inside his fathers mortuary. This eccentricity culminates in a warm, earnest and natural album that has a gentle rustic twang and yet still feels so carefully refined.
Lenker is a marvellous and inspirational musician whose work is an indescribable pick-me-up. Warming, friendly and upbeat in an almost restless manner, Lenker brings to life a collection of songs that combine traces of folk, county, pop, indie, rock and more. Songs such as Nothing Really Matter have a sincere an evocative nature that is reminiscent of the likes of Jack Johnson, should Johnson have ever felt a desire to move into country music. Lenker has a charming ability that many others don’t and that is the ability to merge and fuse genres together in a manner that totally immerses you in his sound. You might find yourself immersed in a world of rich gospel organs and rich slide guitars or you might find yourself amidst a blitz of dextrous fiddle tunes. The result is an addictive blend that constantly blends and defies both genres and expectations.
Lenker has a soft and amiable voice that is gently husky at times, his work is audibly packed full of love and joy. He brings a certain playfulness to his work that is especially evident in songs like Book Nerd. With a dancing tune and a collection of lyrics that are both finely crafted and mirthfully funny it becomes a rare talent to take the subject of Les Misérables and turn it into a song that can give you a chuckle. This effortless humour and genuine nature makes Lenker’s work seem less like an album and more like a conversation with your best friend. Rich and playful throughout, Lenker does also break away to show off his soft side with songs such as Love is the Only Song and carefully backing up his smoky voice are honey sweet backing vocals that elevate his every word.
The beauty of Thousand Springs is the warm and genuine nature that it retains. Lenker is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve and his songs become and extension of self regardless of their topic. Warm, playful and friendly he has produced an album that feels as natural and warming as a summers day. It is rich, versatile and spirited with a wealth of amalgamations from across a vast collection of genres, with brass paired with ivory and fiddles paired with organs, and harps abound the result is an eccentric and astonishing album that carries Lenker’s earnest passion and cannot help but evoke a smile from you.
KORBY LENKER · APRIL 2018 UK TOUR
Wed 4 London The Troubadour, Earl’s Court
Thu 5 Birmingham Kitchen Garden Café
Fri 6 Saltaire, West Yorks. The Live Room, Caroline Social Club
Further dates to be announced
+ Saturday August 18 Purbeck Valley Folk Festival
Review by Joe Knipe