AmericanaFest isn’t just about seeking out the established names you want to see and fangirling out over your favorite music, it’s also about ferreting out the under-the-radar names who could develop into the big names of the future. After it was announced right before AmericanaFest that Nashville resident Logan Ledger was working with legendary producer T Bone Burnett and had signed to Rounder Records, he quickly became one of the artists people were putting on their radar to watch perform.
Taking the stage at the Mercy Lounge Friday night (9/17) ahead of Ruston Kelly and Brandy Clark, nobody knew exactly what to expect from Logan Ledger since there’s no recorded music or serious quality videos to consume and come to any firm conclusions ahead of time.
What was most striking when Logan walked out on stage with his band was who his band was. Along with his producer T Bone Burnett playing guitar, Ledger also had iconic guitar maestro Marc Ribot in the band, know for his collaborations with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and many more. And not to be outdone, steel and lead guitar player Russ Pahl was also part of the ensemble, known for playing behind Johnny Cash, Dickie Betts, The Black Keys, Robert Plant, and scores of others.
Rarely is such an assemblage of guitar talent seen on stage all at once aside from supergroups or some grand finale medley at a major event. The idea that all of these American roots warhorses were willing to take of their time to back up an unknown artist in a small capacity venue tells you just how much respect Logan Ledger is garnering. The word is T Bone Burnett sees Logan Ledger as his final major project, and is putting all of his weight and effort behind him.
Since it was an all-star band, it’s still a bit undetermined what the Logan Ledger sound may be when his album is released some time in 2019, or when he hits the road hard and heavy. But what we do know is the young man originally from California can sing, and play. His style was less honky tonk, and more crooning and stylized—more Ray Price than Hank Williams. The music had a classic country jazz feel to it, with slow shuffles and brushes on snare setting the mood, but loud and resonant lead guitar adding a body to the sound beyond the otherwise genteel approach.
The idea with Logan Ledger is to put the songs and his voice first. His vocal control is impeccable, and his songs of love and heartbreak are delivered smooth. He’s like a slightly more country version of Chris Isaak, but a signature to the songwriting all his own, including a song he co-wrote with John Paul White who was in the building for Logan’s performance.
Not as schticky and revivalist as Joshua Hedley, yet not as meaty as Zephaniah OHora, Logan Ledger sits somewhere right in between. He brings a classic contemporary style, underpinned by voice and performance. One thing’s for sure though, those whose tastes sit at the top of the country and Americana realm clearly see a lot of potential with Logan. All that’s left to find out is if the public will feel the same.