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North Texas' Own.

North Texas' Own.

Le Leek Electrique Add A Bold New Dimension To Warren Jackson Hearne's Dark Sound.

By Cory on Friday, May 4, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Montana native Warren Jackson Hearne has been performing music in North Texas since 2003.

He initially performed in the eclectic Denton death-folk act WJH & the Merrie Murdre of Gloomadeers, who used their mix of guitars, banjo, strings, and accordion to add a gypsy-like liveliness to Hearne's often woeful ballads, tales of dead lovers, and of murdered friends. His focus on morality and man's fragility remained in Hearne's solo work as well. While always heavily sonically steeped in the past, his 2010 album, Musa Dagh took an even bleaker tone, stripping away the Gloomadeers' spirited instrumentation to just a single plucky acoustic guitar.

With his newest project, Le Leek Electrique, a name which Hearne admits doesn't really have much meaning, the singer reverts back to the full band scheme, bringing back drummer Tex Bosley and guitarist Dan Dockrill from the Gloomadeers days and adding organist Zach Landreneau, bassist Ryan Williams, trumpeter Mike Shields and tenor sax player Adam Robertson to round out his most electrified lineup yet.

The lineup is also his most polished and well-rounded. On Le Leek Electrique's new release, The Aquaticus EP, the damned western narratives of Hearne's solo material are rounded out with rich southern jazz textures that breath some much-needed life into the otherwise inauspicious batch of tales.

The more electrified approach and hot horns seem to have an invigorating effect on Hearn's vocals as well, helping him to tackle the singing duties in more confident and lounge-y manner reminiscent of the late '90s neo-swing revival -- albeit with more of a Tom Waits-like swagger.

Doubters in Hearne's massive leap forward need look no further than Musa Dagh tracks "Death You're So Cold" and "God Will Strike Me Down," which are transformed from semi-standard folk tracks into fully-realized southern jazz scorchers. When Hearne sings about death this time around, it doesn't just cause the listener to contemplate his cold demeanor; it sends a bitter chill down their very spines.

Take a listen to the new EP below, which Hearne has been unveiling one track a time.