Album: Leif Vollebekk, Inland (Nevado)

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The Independent Culture

This Canadian sings lyrically complex songs with a voice that's a cross between Nina Simone at her most world-weary and Devendra Banhart at his least annoying.

Accompanying himself on just piano, guitar or banjo, with the occasional addition of orchestra strings and drums, there's a spiritual resonance to his ballads that makes them both timeless and monumental despite their ragged fragility. Originally self-released in 2008, Inland has now deservedly found a label better able to promote it.