The other day I was talking to my buddy on the phone when he recommended I check out Leather Tramp. I’ll admit, at first I was a bit confused. Before my mind wandered too far, he quickly added they are an indie band that I might enjoy. He was right. A leather tramp is a person who lives a nomadic existence who walk and hitchhike their way across the country. Simply put, a leather tramp is one who wanders. Leather Tramp’s music fits this perfectly. This week’s featured band is the unique and intricately balanced, indie folk/rock ensemble, Leather Tramp. Leather Tramp, based out of Long Beach, is a wide-ranging ensemble where folk meets symphony. They consider themselves “folkestra” which combines indie rock with elements of an orchestra. There matchless sound stems from the work of 10 musicians. The “Tramp Family Members” include Jake Abernathie, Gracie Gray, Marc Encabo, Flint Lidar, Lucas Cathey, Elizabeth Chavez, Jay Hemphill, Scott Dagg, Lawrence Pi, and Gary Soland. The band was founded in 2013 at the California State University, Long Beach and have been playing together ever since. Ever since my friend’s recommendation, I have been down a rabbit hole searching for everything and anything I can get ahold of. After many hours of listening and viewing, I decided to review their self-titled EP, Leather Tramp.
Their debut EP, Leather Tramp, was released last September and holds true to their self-abiding classification of folkestra. Through and through, the EP is a beautiful work of art and is composed of six songs that each tell a story yet each seem to serve its own purpose. The EP starts out strong with “To Live For Love” which is an excellent representation of what to expect for the rest of the EP. This song builds from beginning to end and makes it impossible to tap along with the beat. The balance of strings, percussion, brass and woodwinds was flawlessly balanced and left me wanting so much more. “Strays” follows and the upbeat instrumentals immediately puts a smile on your face. After listening several times, this song seems fitting for what the band stands for as evidenced by the elegantly written lyrics. For instance, “For when I’m lost and wandering, it’s exactly where I want to be. And where I lay my head tonight, I know my heart, it will be right.” To me, this excerpt signifies the band’s name and what they stand for, the wanderers. “Honeydew” is a wonderfully complex song with a playful sound present throughout. This is an excellent example of storytelling at its finest, and possibly my favorite track on the EP. Though it may sound playful, it holds a powerful message of heartache and declaration of love. The next track is the upbeat “Sunday Come Soon” which charmingly features the horns. “If I Never Say Hello” is a charming song that left me in goosebumps where the lyrics compliment the instruments and vice versa in a truly distinctive way. The EP is capped off in an unforgettable fashion with “The Bear Prayer.” When listening to this song, the first thing that comes to mind is sitting around a campfire. This track is certainly more folk, though the strings and horns tastefully make an impact. What a way to end the EP!
Leather Tramp’s EP was a fantastic journey that truly brought stories to life, which is rather important to us at Setlist. True storytellers are few and far between. Thus, when you stumble upon them, they certainly deserve the recognition. It is evident that this is a band with incredibly talented musicians, but where they differ is their originality. After reading their band description, I was intrigued to see how they would combine two differing genres of music. Not only did they live up to my expectations, but they exceedingly surpassed them. I look forward to all of the future stories that will share with us! If you are a fan of indie music, I strongly encourage you to check out Leather Tramp by clicking here.