Strange to look onstage during a Dreaming of Lions performance and not see Joe Ervin at the mic. Not that it’s the first time. Singer-songwriter Chris Leland says he’s done a few DoL shows over the years without his longtime cohort, but it’s certainly far from the norm.
Never fear. Leland explains that Ervin simply had to work tonight. So for this Neon Reverb, Night 1 set at the Bunkhouse, the Vegas-based folk group consists of Leland, Wyatt McKenzie (who’s own band, Mother McKenzie, plays next) and two of Leland’s pals, “Katie” and “Nick” (last names unknown, even to Leland). “It’s the spirit of how I do it, kind of thrown together,” Leland says afterwards. “I prefer having Joe here when I can, but Wyatt is so talented, he can pick up anything.”
Leland and McKenzie have actually been crafting the next Dreaming of Lions album, recording songs on McKenzie’s eight-track with plans to finish later this year. Leland describes the new project as something of a departure. “I’m attracted to really simple songwriting—Nick Cave, Bonnie Prince Billy …,” he says. “[But] this stuff is very un-minimal sounding. For me, it’s a step out.”
In other DoL news, the band’s new live album, Her Ghost, recorded before a small audience last August in National Southwestern Electronic Recordings head’s Ronald Corso’s living room, is now available for free download. Email [email protected] to receive a copy.