• James Harvey

Album Review – Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno - Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno – 2021


Welcome to 2021, I hope you are all safe out there. We are going to kick off the new year with a review of Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno's, self-titled Country / American Roots album.


Vivian Leva's, debut album 'Time is Everything' was well received and criticaly praised upon release back in 2018. Riley Calcagno, performs with The Onlies, who's self-titled album came out in 2020 and was also bloody good.


Photo by Brendon Burton - © Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno

So take two young artists and friends who grew up in the Appalachian string-band tradition, both who have parents that are well known in the scene, split them up by hundreds of miles as they attend different universities, then slap a worldwide pandemic in, shake well and have a look at what you get.


Well, the result is rather surprising, it's not an album that is wallowing in self-pitying, but instead it's an album of hope and love. Standing up and finding a way to continue to stay true to that which you hold dear.


Photo by Brendon Burton - © Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno

An album that holds strong to the historical roots of the artists but somehow manages to bring a fresh crisp breeze into the genre. 'Will You' kicks things off with a a self-reflecting look at ones self, recognising our own mistakes and the effect of said mistakes on those we hold most dear.


This really sets the theme for the album, but it's not just about self-learning in that respect but also about overcoming those barriers that life puts in our way. With 'On the Line' simply picking up the phone and calling the ones you love, even if it's just to ask what you had for breakfast, is a way to make the best out of a situation.


Photo by Brendon Burton - © Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno

It's a beautiful love song, one that connects (sorry) to the listener, one that, even my cold dead heart, can feel truth and warmth in. It's the same with the old style Country tune 'Biding all my Time', feeling lonely, separated from love ones but even in the grip of darkness, finding something to bring hope.


In this case Vivian and Riley write:

'I lay each night just looking at the stars alone. Knowing that you are looking too. And though I cannot press my lips against yours. The warmth of your memory gets me through'.

I could go on for hours about these little gems of lyrics found throughout this album, the way in which they take that traditional style and add a little twist to make it their own.


Photo by Brendon Burton - © Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno

What a way to start 2021, after all the misery of 2020, we get an album like this to bring some sunshine to us all. Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno have crafted an aggregation of ideas into tales as personal and unique as the listener who may happen upon this album.


Their self-titled album is an example of elegant, thoughtful pulchritudinous song-craft. Coming from two so young (at least compared to me) it fills me with hope for the future. Their album is one heck of a way to start the year and set a high bar for the rest of the 2021.


Photo by Brendon Burton - © Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno

Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno is out on the 12th March 2021 via Free Dirt Records


For more info have a wee look here


A big thank you to Devon Léger of Hearth PR for the preview of the album.




Stay Safe - Stay Well - Peace & Love.

For more information on the COVID - 19 pandemic, please check out your local government website & NOT silly fake news on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or Reddit posts!

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