Jackie Leven

For Peace Comes Dropping Slow

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This was a fan club release that made it out into the general public -- unlike the rest of the Jackie Leven live fan club only releases -- it's a solo acoustic performance at the Twelve Bar Club in London. It's the first evidence in the U.S. of Leven's rambling, rowdy, soulful live style -- including a showcasing of his amazing guitar playing. There are 12 tunes in all, including the unreleased "Jesus Bodybuilder Blues/Cocaine Blues/Cannot Keep From Cryin'," as well as covers of "Pale Blue Eyes" and "Slim Slow Slider." There are a few jokes and stories to give a homey feel to the proceedings down on Denmark Street that night in 1997. The lion's share of the material comes from The Mystery of Love Is Greater Than the Mystery of Death, Forbidden Songs of the Dying West, and Fairy Tales for Hard Men. The acoustic renderings of studio songs such as "Call Mother a Lonely Field" and "Marble City Bar" are transformed into communal conversations, where everyone is in on the secret from the jump. On the other side, the more intimate songs from those records, the stripped-down tunes such as "Pourtoun," "Desolation Blues," and "Sexual Danger" become even more jagged in their poignant, decimating tales of grace and grief. Finally, Leven pulls out an old Scottish traveling song and a solo rendering of one of Doll by Doll's most stunning treasures: "Main Traveled Roads." This is a folk song, a love anthem, and the tale of a spiritual quest, all wrapped up in its final lines by the words of Yukio Mishima: "Eternal is the warrior who finds beauty in his wounds." Leven, who's seen the underside more than once, has always snapped back and taken these words as his personal anthem. He seems to turn those wounds, whether they are revealed in an intimate live setting or on a full-blown rock record, into practical -- if romantic -- wisdom with ferocity of heart.

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