Shane Leonard is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter living in Eau Claire, WI. Over the past few years he's toured the UK opening for Jeff Tweedy, worked with Field Report, Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Paul Simon), The Stray Birds, Sara and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco, Andrew Bird), Ben Sollee, Evan Ziporyn (Steve Reich, Bang On A Can), Zachariah Hickman (Ray Lamontagne, Andrew Bird, Josh Ritter), Sean Carey (Bon Iver), Robbie Lackritz (Feist), MIT's Balinese Gamelan, Berklee College Of Music's Ensemble Robot, and taught music through the Exploration School at Yale University, Augusta Heritage Center, and other programs throughout the US.
Somewhere amidst all that he managed a steady output of solo work, releasing two EPs and a full-length, Westbound, under the moniker Kalispell. The debut album made many ‘Best of The Year’ lists, was profiled by Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa Public Radio, and featured twice as No Depression's favorite new music.
Kalispell toured constantly throughout 2011-2013 before Leonard was hired by Field Report as a multi-instrumentalist on drums, strings, and vocals. After opening for Counting Crows, Aimee Mann, Dawes and Emmylou Harris, Field Report recorded their sophomore record, Marigolden, with Feist manager/producer Robbie Lackritz. Leonard's influence can be clearly heard throughout, elevating the grounded guitar-and-voice platform with inventive percussion, lush strings and book-matched vocal harmonies.
Now increasingly sought-after as a producer and player, Shane Leonard began his relationship with music very early, sitting-in on drums as a kid at jazz sessions in Milwaukee and Chicago. From there it was classical percussion lessons with players of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and legendary percussionist Jim Sewrey. After dropping out of music school to teach English, he embarked on a four-year exploration down Appalachian backroads to learn clawhammer banjo and old time fiddle from masters Clyde Davenport, Lee Sexton, Frank Lee, Bob Carlin, and Joe Newberry.
These influences come together in Kalispell's new record, Printer's Son, which Leonard crowd-funded by independently raising over $15,000 on Kickstarter. Connecting an improvisational heart with meticulously constructed arteries of melody, it eschews the stomp-clap boom-chuck trends of indie-folk, instead giving nods to the entranced sonic tapestries of Phillip Glass and lyrical sophistication of Paul Simon. Printer's Son will be released on June 3rd, 2016 via Cartouche Records.
“Windfall” – Kalispell. The majestic folk spaciousness of Bon Iver paired with striking, disarming, immediate tenor vocals creates a unique, deeply enjoyable atmosphere. The arranging and recording engineering here are truly remarkable.
- Independent Clauses
"[Windfall] reminds me of those Wilco ballads that amount to an epic journey into the center of Jeff Tweedy's drowsy half-consciousness... yet Leonard's tenor has a distinct Midwestern drawl of its own... A gorgeous arrangement."
"Leonard, classically trained in percussion, capable on all manner of instruments, has a big box of tools and an even larger file folder of references. I’m guessing that the simple, pretty songs are his main goal, and all the interesting, unexpected asides more or less a bonus, like the cracker jack toy at the bottom of the box. But less sticky."
- Jennifer Kelly, Dusted Magazine
Shane Leonard Live Dates with Kalispell, Field Report and Stray Birds
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