Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno
Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno on Friday October 1, 2021 at The Albert S. George Youth Center at Barnesville Memorial Park in Barnesville, OH. Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagnos self-titled record is old-soul roots music to its core. Though both just out of college, the duos musical talents extend far beyond their years. Produced by GRAMMY-winning Cajun roots heavyweight Joel Savoy at his Louisiana studio, Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno (released March 12, 2021 on Free Dirt Records) is not some soulless collection of songs imitating previous masters of American music. Rather, the pair has responded to one of the darkest eras in American history with an album of stunning breadth and originality.
With mass protests, fires raging near their current home in the Pacific Northwest, and no prospect of touring anytime soon, its an aptly biting, bittersweet group of songs for an uncertain time. Yet, Leva and Calcagno balance this with a sense of optimisma notion that at our most vulnerable we might emerge better humans because of it all, perhaps beginning with our own intimate relationships. The eleven tracks elegantly reprise the deep threads of old-time and classic country present throughout Levas debut albumshe did grow up in rural Appalachia outside Lexington, Virginia, the daughter of celebrated old-time musicians, after all. However, the pair fluidly meld this traditional backbone with fresh iconic melodies, expanded production, and the tightly wound vocal harmonies of indie folk. Its an artistic statement made from this moment but built to last.
Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno follows Levas critically acclaimed 2018 debut, Time Is Everything, which garnered rave reviews from publications like Rolling Stone who said the album shone a light on the past without giving up its place in the present. Leva was hailed for her mature, deeply grounded songwriting, surprising for a songwriter not quite 20 years old at the time. She wields the same golden pen on the new album, though Calcagno lends a hand too with songwriting and arrangements, pulling Levas songs in new directions and down unexpected pathways. While their previous album centered around the passage of time, the couples new record explores themes of space and distance. Leva and Calcagno were working on these songs well before COVID, but were separated by half the country while attending different universities. With Leva on the West Coast and Calcagno in Ohio, the two sent each other songs as voice memos or worked on them during weekend visits.
Both Leva and Calcagno grew up in the Appalachian stringband tradition, have noted parents in the old-time scene, and spent formative years running wild around festival campgrounds. They are steeped in an instrumental culture of hard-picking and virtuosic musicianship; indeed there are plenty of online videos of them tearing through all-night jam sessions. Leva recently joined Calcagnos former teen stringband The Onlies, releasing an album of fire-breathing fiddle tunes in late 2020. However, what sets Leva and Calcagno apartin addition to their work as instrumentalistsis their almost preternatural talent as songwriters. Great pickers dont necessarily make great songwriters; its an entirely different art to be able to translate the world of rural Appalachia into a country song that can still make a personal point. As young artists stepping into the spotlight during one of the most brutal periods in our history its clear theyve built something that can last, something that speaks to our present time while reminding us of the best parts of where we came from.
Albert S. George Youth Center/Barnesville Memorial Park (View)
130 Fair St.
Barnesville, OH 43713
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|