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Ledfoot - Black Valley Award winner

Black Valley
by Kevin Lewis at 26 April 2021, 10:17 AM

LEDFOOT is a project by American singer-songwriter Tim Scott McConnell. With a 12-string guitar and a stomp box, LEDFOOT is has a bluesy/rock feel infused with somber tones and poignant lyrics that engage the listener’s mind. Black Valley was released through TBC Records on March 12, 2021 and is LEDFOOT’s fifth full length album.

The instrumentation on this record, much like all of LEDFOOT’s efforts, is minimal. There are guitars, a little percussion and some vocals with occasional backing/layered vocals mixed in. What makes LEDFOOT stand out is how he uses tones and textures to fill out the songs. Frequently using a brass slide and finger picks, the sounds are often mournful and haunted, adding depth to the lyrics that speak of struggles and hardship.

The title track leads off the record. The simple melody with the eerie lyrics set the tone and pace that will pervade this entire record. This is song about love lost and the deception inflicted by a romantic partner. The loss is tangible, you can feel it coming through the somber notes and haunting vocals.

While the rest of the record follows this relatively simple formula, all of the songs are unique. They all sound and feel different. “Take Away The Hurt” speaks of painful memories and the inability to remove that pain. It will always linger. With lyrics like “Lets’ remember the past for what it’s worth/And take away the hurt”, this is JOHHNY CASH doing “Hurt” (NINE INCH NAILS) level pain.

Broken Eyes” is another pain-filled song that can haunt the soul if you let it. More lyrics that show a depth of emotion are found here. Just one example is, “Let's not talk about the future/I don’t need it fucking with my mind/I´m not chasing after rainbows/I’m colorblind”. This is the song that looks forward to a bleak future instead of back to a painful past. He even states he lost the will to dream. This is a song about being so broken that moving forward seems hopeless.

Not all the songs are gloom and doom, though. “Angel Town" speaks of love being sacred and life not being wasted. In the spirit of humanity, people work together and the whole prospers. The tones still provide a bit of dark ambiance, making it feel like this may not be possible, but at least there is hope, a dream to work towards.

The record ends with “Slip Away,” a song about someone who pushed too far and is now beyond redemption. Living has no real meaning and the future is slipping away because there is no hope of getting back to right. But this is not a song about a career criminal, rather someone who just cannot be trusted. They are incapable of doing right.

This entire record will make the listener think about their hopes and dreams, loves, losses and those who are gone from their lives for good. The whole thing smacks of melancholy and pain. Even the hope feels unattainable. All of this is done without ever screaming or shredding out a guitar solo meant to instigate frustration and help vent the anger. This album wants you to feel all of it, to wallow, to deal. The goal is help you move forward through acceptance, not submission.

LEDFOOT does something pretty incredible here. The record helps to reach a better understanding of those who just cannot do the right thing, that hurt the ones they love over and over. Start to finish, this record is laying out pain, baring the soul. It might make you feel anger, or pain, or despair, but no matter what, it will make you feel. That is the essence of what LEDFOOT is, emotion laid bare for all to see.

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  9
Production:  10

5 Star Rating

1. Black Valley
2. Take Away The Hurt
3. Without Love
4. Broken Eyes
5. Poor Mans Lullaby
6. Angel Town
7. Crossed My Heart
8. This I Know
9. Falling Down
10. Slip Away
Tim Scott McConnell – Vocals/12 String Guitars/Stomp Box
Record Label: TBC Records


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