Chattanooga musician Alea Tveit creates a shimmering acoustic echo under the moniker of leebee. Her use of banjo and guitar to explore a deep emotional resonance would generally place her firmly in the realm of folk and country music, but there’s something else that works its way through her work that challenges any sort of easy classification, a timelessness that rises above simple genres and allows Tveit to amble through these rural noises with a subtle swagger and an affection for honest sentiment.
Incorporating aspects of the aforementioned folk and country alongside a jazzy temperament, she fashions her songs from humble beginnings and allows them to grow organically until they’ve created a deep emotional connection in the hearts of her audience. The simple things can often be the most powerful, and Tveit understands this better than most, with her music casually mining a well-worn aesthetic while upending our assumptions about what these sounds hold in their depths.
On her recent record, “Herbal Dissonance,” a 6-track collection of songs based around her voice and the nuanced application of acoustic guitar and banjo, she discovers an earthen majesty within the connective filaments of her arrangements. Utilizing a distinctive clawhammer banjo technique, she finds great spaces to investigate between the shake and reverberation of her strings. The opening track, “Reach,” is a short but powerful primer in how to use these stripped-down sounds to create something that continually evolves and blossoms within the borders of its existence.
Other songs like “Henry How’s Waltz” and “Minthe” highlight the spectral nature of her voice and how it glides between the notes without seeming to touch anything. As the plucks and strums of her instruments eddy and collapse, she develops a deceptively simple rhythmic perspective, one that favors an intuitive inspiration rather than overt influence. “Herbal Dissonance” is filled with an indescribable beauty, with harmonies rising and falling without notice and its noticeable acoustics functioning as an integral part of its development rather than a simple by-product. Perfect for when you just want the sounds of the natural world to roll over you, this album offers an intense but welcoming folk-centric viewpoint.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.