Talkhouse Playlist: Leif Vollebekk’s First Loves

Listen to the songs that shaped the songwriter's childhood love of music.

Last week, Montreal singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk released his latest album Twin Solitude on Secret City Records. To celebrate, we asked Vollebekk to put together a Talkhouse Playlist, and he shared this one full of the first tracks he loved. Give it a listen and check out his new record now!
–Dave Lucas, Talkhouse Marketing Manager

Billy Joe Royal – “Down in the Boondocks”
This song calls back a time for me when words were not much more than sounds. I had no idea what the boondocks were, so I pictured loons floating near my grandmother’s dock in Northern Ontario. To this day, I still do. Billy Joe seems to somehow sing from a place of pure joy and sadness.

B.J. Thomas and Burt Bacharach – “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”
For me, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid will forever be intertwined with The Sting. I must have watched those films a dozen times each. So often, Burt Bacharach catches me off-guard. When I least expect it, he’ll just take me elsewhere for a while, just like those films did.

The Cascades – “Rhythm of the Rain”
This was another favorite song of mine growing up and it was the first 45 my mother ever bought with her own money. The sound of this recording is indescribable, at once lush and paper thin.

The Beach Boys – “Don’t Worry Baby”
The guitar solo is outstanding. Two notes played together, and then another two notes.

The Beach Boys – “In My Room”
This is as rich as the Beach Boys’ harmony gets. For me, this song is about the love I have for the song itself. When Brian Wilson sings for himself he sings for you.

The Chiffons – “One Fine Day”
Carole King absolutely destroys the piano on this song. The opening riff, the call and answer, the closing riff…I get shivers every time.

Percy Sledge – “When a Man Loves a Woman”
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love this song. Every element in this song is perfect: from the descending bass line to the howling vocals. When the horns come in at the end, they’re just full of passion, full of death and just enough out of tune. They’re perfect.

Patsy Cline – “I Fall to Pieces”
I can keep it together up until the point when Patsy drops the octave on that final: “You walk by and I fall to pieces.”

Floyd Cramer – “Your Last Goodbye”
Floyd Cramer’s Greatest Hits was always at my grandmother’s up North. I never had the chance to dismiss or judge this music. It speaks to me unlike any other. I’ve imitated his slip-note piano style my whole life. I read that Neil Young was also a fan. When I visited Nashville many years ago, I was allowed to play the very piano from this recording. It was like standing inside of a record.

Ann Farina and John Farina – “Sleepwalk”
This song defies analysis. The playing is nothing short of inspired.