Love for Little Levon
This fundraising compilation project by (mostly) Colorado musicians serves as a stirring testament to how we are called to celebrate life, even in the face of unimaginable loss. Levon Robbie Wenk was born on September 18, just a month after his father Cagney was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. All of the donations from this compilation will go directly to Jess Li, Levon’s mother, to serve as a nest egg for the couple’s son.
But more than just a worthy cause and an inspiring sign of how musical communities rally together, this beefy 34 track compilation is full of musical riches. Love For Little Levon features alternative folk and roots artists from national notables such as Elephant Revival, Shakey Graves, and Neyla Pekarek and Stelth Ulvang of the Lumineers, as well as lesser known artists ripe for discovery. The tracks include unreleased songs, demos, live recordings and exclusive songs, representing not only the lively Front Range alt-folk scene, but also select friends from across the country and the world.
Sonically, Love For Little Levon, which is available on Bandcamp, presents a life’s journey. Opening with “Follow the Leader,” a compilation exclusive by songwriter Anthony Ruptak that serves as a rough hewn and sincere consideration of our own potential for darkness and light, as it asks, “How did we get so good at being bad to each other?” The album closes in contrast with the sweet lullaby of “My Bubba’s Goodnight Heart.” Some other notable cuts include the shimmery sun-soaked pop of KOLARS’ “Beyond the World of Man,” the haunting echoes of Luz Elana Mendoza’s multi-layered vocals on “Red Earth for Geneva,” the explosive afrobeat horns of Hard Proof’s “The Stinger,” and Chimney Choir’s whirling, electro-washed toe-tapper “Motion.” That’s truthfully just scratching the surface.
Through despair and hope, the excitement of travel and promise of home’s peace, the shades of our seasons are captured beautifully on this moving and heartfelt project.
Editor’s Note: Since this review was written, and just a couple of days before Christmas, Cagney succumbed to his illness. He passed at his home, surrounded by loved ones. — By Sarah Baranauskas