"... like some lost Byrds track when Gene Clark was burning up songs like cigarettes."
Louise Le Hir is one of those people you meet and you’re not for sure where it is she’s going but you’re damn sure she’s gonna get there. She called early one fall morning two years ago, asked if I’d like to go with her to a studio where she was making her first record, meet the owner and take in some music, see the setup. I was drinking my first cup of coffee when she pulled up in a small car that wouldn’t shift into first or second gear, making a short drive more dangerous than usual. But there’s little that’s usual about Louise. She’d been in Tucson seven years, give or take, playing, singing, drinking men under the table, and doing her music slow and patient. She stands out, a natural with long wispy brown hair, a low pitch in her speaking voice, a hint of the Midwest twisting through a throaty laugh, long legs that carried a complex life full of people and places where you don’t go but rather end up, just the same.
Amongst chords, equipment and a drum kit, I met Matt Rendon, the young, motivated music lover who had made a sort of umbrella of different bands, his bands, mainly The Resonars, and projects all out of Rendon’s midtown studio. A large amount of his work comes out on super-buzzed Burger Records in California. He seems inspired by singles, A and B sides that once stood for creative achievement in three minutes, that blew out of the radio like a precious sledge hammer. He also relates to ’60s pop, but he ain’t stuck in a decade long gone; nah, he just has earnest love affair with music. He is unpretentious and warm. He’s recording music that he feels makes a difference.
So I took a chair in a corner of the room and asked if I could hear a finished tune from the month they’d been working slow but steady. Matt gave me headphones and Louise asked him to que “Cosmic Love Song No. 23” for me. The snare drum rolls into an uptempo groove, Lana Rebel holds up the bottom on bass guitar. It is full on. Louise chipping away at her Les Paul Jr. as she begins a narration of a lover’s ups and downs, free of metaphor or apology. Harmonies come strong and large behind her words, an amalgamation of Billy Sherrill’s production sound adjoining some sharp lost Byrds track when Gene Clark was burning up songs like cigarettes. The first verse ends and the chorus busts wide open, pedal steel solo fresh, free of indulgence, just lonesome hearts splashed against Jackson Pollock’s canvas. Connor "Catfish" Gallaher’s solo rings to the heavens and the next verse is moving as we try to stay with it. Louise belts out grace without pretense and we hit that chorus one more time: And I only fall in love to feel the pain/Ain’t no ordinary thing I can explain/I need life to keep on livin’/I love you for your misgivin’s/And I only fall in love to feel the pain
. It’s like one beautiful paper cut you bear for its magic and then the song slows and a single chord rings.
This is a haunting, gorgeous song, comes in under four minutes, and later this month a
video of this pearl will be out for all to watch, once and then again and again.