For those who are new to the band, get excited for something fun, fresh and outspoken. For those who are lucky enough to be familiar, the big question is, “when exactly they are going to blow it up, nationally?" A word to the wise: Get a good seat and watch Sweet Leda light this world on fire! The band has already nailed many big gigs and annual festivals, including Summerfest in Milwaukee, Artscape 2014, Dewey Beach Music Festival, Lancaster Roots & Blues, Frozen Harbor, Jam at the Dam, Silopanna, and they were hand-picked by Allman Bros. drummer Butch Trucks to open for his band at the Roots Rock Revival Masters Camp last summer. They have shared the stage with Jefferson Starship and performed alongside such greats as Citizen Cope, John Mayer, G Love, Cake, 311, Keb’ Mo’, Tedeschi Trucks and Lyle Lovett. The accomplished band's many accolades include: the Tri State Indie Music Awards Groupies Choice Award in 2012, 2013; Tri State Indie Music Awards Indie MD/DC Band of the Year for 2013, 2014; MD/DC Band of The Year for 2011 and 2012; Best Emerging Artist DC/Baltimore in The Deli Magazines readers poll in 2011; and to top it off, they wrote the end-credit title track for the feature film, Lovely Molly. All of this is in addition to regular and continuing airplay, interviews, and coverage throughout the Mid-Atlantic. (Our apologies if we’ve left anything out!)
On this new album, Let It In, Sweet Leda gets you amped up like no other band can. Face it, there are a lot of people making music out there - a majority of it is not so bad. (Admittedly, some of it can be really bad.) And every once in a while, a truly exceptional opportunity comes along. For Sweet Leda, it’s no-holds-barred; the band rocks hard and makes sure that you’re in it with them, all the way. They pull no punches, just a big fat commanding Kung Fu kick to the face from the very first note. With “Resolutions,” whether you’re listening in your headphones or riding in your car, you magically find yourself moving just a little bit faster and with some purpose.
Listen to the title tune, “Let It In,” and suddenly everything feels a whole lot funkier and cooler. The trio of bass, drums, and guitar is locked so tight in the pocket that it leaves Julie free to do whatever she wants vocally. She is masterfully in step with every tap, snap, clap, and kick in the jam. “I ain’t gonna pay your bills, so chill,” she sings in “Go Get Your Money.” Such a seemingly simple lyric sets the sway and sexual urgency into motion behind the funk of Jaime’s bass, Don’s pulse-pounding kick snare and Omar’s hardwired guitar riffs. Oh, and by the way, they brought along their good buddy, Ron Holloway. Yes, “The Legendary Ron Holloway.” Ron often makes a point of joining notable shows with the band, but these are beginning to come fast and furious. (What will Carlos Santana, Warren Haynes and Greg Allman all do without him?)
“Fake It” is the first single from the album and it’s a great choice. Julie gets her Amy Winehouse on in this delicious truth-be-told serenade. At first you’re surprised by the bluntness, but then you realize: who doesn’t understand what’s it like to truly dislike or distrust someone and have to put on a false happy face? It’s so exhilarating to release that “I don’t love you,” as you sing along at the top of your lungs. “Make It Happen,” is an anthem for a Friday night, urging the listener to break free of hum-drum conformity and let loose in wild abandon. “Get off your ass and make it happen,” says Cymek, clearly having fun. Later on, she rattles off a list of all the wacky things you can do to change things up including “slap yourself in the face!”
The group gets to show off their R&B chops on “Baby,” a sizzling and sultry slow jam that falls as a nice time-out in the middle of the album. On the track Julie sounds like Robert Cray’s and Alicia Keys’ funky love child. “Bad Boy” and “Let It In” further display the band’s hard-pumping, booty shaking jams. If you can’t feel the energy and excitement from this group then you should probably stop listening to music all together – give it up now. Really.
Mr. Ron Holloway returns for “Let It In,” where the band beautifully blends their style of hard rock and funk together as Julie acknowledges, sounding like a funkadelic Phoebe Snow singing, “All I want is wine, sweet wine.” The track also features an exceptional extended jam where Ron and the boys get their groove on - this is only a glimpse of the action you will catch in a live show. An astounding lyric from the song includes: “What’s in front you today, might go away again, when it needs you.” As if all of that’s not enough, the compilation is topped off with a decadent rendition of George Harrison’s “Something” featuring an implied “Stairway to Heaven” intro, a simple and concise blues arrangement adorned with an epic guitar solo that makes this version stand out amongst all others.
For such a high energy and wild album, Let It In closes with a gentler song, “You Can’t Hold Me Down,” adds a nice soft brush stroke at the end. This album fully demonstrates the group’s diversity and solid musicianship. Without a doubt, Sweet Leda is an accomplished group of musicians – they should be praised as one of the best bands out there, period.
The band will be celebrating this release at three separate locations, including Sprout (March 7; West Chester, PA), The Pond (March 14; Rehoboth, DE) and Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge (March 21; Annapolis, MD). CDs are available now and vinyl will be released soon. Anyone who pre-ordered has received the digital download and those who graciously donated via Indiegogo for this initiative received precious, customized Thank You videos.
The cd is available at shows, and also at Sweet Leda's website. It will be on iTunes and Amazon by the end of March. Vinyl will be available on their site in a few months, as well as in select record stores.
We'll definitely look forward to following Sweet Leda on more of their adventures!