Leaf Rapids
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Leaf Rapids

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE | AFM

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Folk Americana




"Leaf Rapids: The Band Who Sold the World on Canadian Americana"

One of the more unfortunate limitations of the word “Americana” is that it could give someone the impression that the genre’s music should be restricted to the Lower 48. That’s nonsense, of course. Artists like Kasey Chambers and Paul Kelly produce Americana music from as far away as Australia, while The Band’s members mostly hailed from Canada. Rather, it’s better to think of the term Americana in the Ellis Island, melting-pot sense of the term, which is where the delightful Manitoban duo Leaf Rapids washes ashore.

The first thing you notice about Leaf Rapids is Keri Latimer’s incredible voice. Girly and rangy with a pinch of gravel in the gullet, it registers like a cross between the aforementioned Chambers and The Innocence Mission’s Keren Peris. It’s the sort of voice that can harness anything from lush ballads to rustic folk, the spectrum of which is covered on Leaf Rapids’ sensational debut album, Lucky Stars.

Leaf Rapids is comprised of Latimer and her husband, Devin, each of whom used to play in the Juno Award-winning indie-folk band Nathan, which was signed to Nettwerk (best known as Sarah McLachlan’s label) in the early aughts. Keri is a multi-instrumentalist, while Devin focuses on bass. Lucky Stars’ producer, Steve Dawson, also contributes a slew of string parts on the album, in addition to organ and piano.

And then there’s Keri’s theremin.

While it’s named like a brand of cough syrup, the theremin is an eery electronic instrument that is manipulated like antennae, and sounds like what gets played during a horror movie when the boogeyman in the ski mask is about to jump out of the shower and slash the homecoming king’s throat. On Lucky Stars, it’s employed on a cover of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” that oscillates between doo-wop and dream-pop. When the Twin Peaks reboot releases its first trailer, this track should be playing in the background.

While the album’s sharpest tune, “Everything in Between,” is red-meat Americana, Lucky Stars really shines during its last five songs. “Vulture Lullaby” sounds like LSD seizing Alison Krauss’ soprano in real time, while “Gravity and a Ladder of Gold” and “Galaxie 500” lope down a similarly foggy, gorgeous path before Keri showcases the breadth of her vocal chops on “Agent of the Night.” The perfect precursor to a dose of theremin, in other words.

- Written by Mike Seely - No Depression


From the Juno-winning Winnipeg alt-country group Nathan comes this side project, headed by singer Keri Latimer, along with her band mate/spouse/bassist Devin Latimer. She's the driving force here, with off-kilter lyrics and other-worldly country and pop sounds, plus a sweetheart voice singing not-so-sweet subject matter. Vultures circle overhead, squirrels are in the attic, there's a kiss in the toxic rain, and a town that hits 40-below at 4 AM. Stuff is going on here.

Meanwhile, more stuff is happening in the music. In the producer's chair was the formidable Steve Dawson, a master performer and sound-steward. Dawson has no problem with the roots side of course, handling all the guitar, slide, pedal steel, etc., but also stretching everyone's perceptions of what the genre can offer. Beds of mystery sounds back up Latimer's vocals at times, some doctored guitars, and even some theremin playing from the singer. There's a sense of space throughout, all matching those enigmatic lyrics. The most traditional song is actually a cover of The Handsome Family's Don't Be Scared. The biggest surprise is a spacey cover of Bowie's The Man Who Sold The World. Everything else comes from Latimer, including Healing Feeling, with it's plea, "Is there a doctor in the house? Is there a poet in the crowd? I think I'm dying but the bleeding is deep inside where reason hides." Stuff is going on here.
- Written by Bob Mersereau - The Top 100 Canadian Singles

"Leaf Rapids – Lucky Stars – An adventure in three part harmony"

Write down this name – Keri Latimer. This is the name of the angelic voice that is at the heart (and soul) of Leaf Rapids, a Canadian pop folk outfit. If you’re a fan of a few of our favorites around here – the Spring Standards and Lake Street Dive – you will love this alt folk group. Leaf Rapids are a trio (Devin Latimer, Steve Dawson) and they go together perfectly. This album, Lucky Stars, is just about as delightful as anything I’ve heard this year. Listenable, relaxing, and reminiscent of an era in music that we could desperately use again – the 1970s.

“Virtual Machine” opens with some soothing vocals and relaxing pop rock feel. It’s romantic and comforting throughout the song. The second track “April,” reminds me of The Belle Brigade’s harmonies. The sonic structure is much more folk than the opener, including just the right of jangle in the banjo. The three-part harmonies really do it for me. (And side note – the album is really well mixed. I don’t have the technical training to say exactly what makes a mix work, but let’s just say the parts are nicely balanced, creating an easy-to-listen-to feel.) The theme is spiritual and the ethos is rural; I suppose you’d call this Canadiana.

“Everything in Between” is an excellent groove track. It’s got that bluesy backbeat that gets you moving. It’s not a dancefloor rocker, so much as a “sit with a drink and sway” song. Again the harmonies are great, but the understated electric guitars really make this one pop. It’s in that Fleetwood Mac smooth 70s rock vein. The guitar riffs live right on the border between country and pop rock. They’re great. It’s potentially my favorite track on a really solid album. (Oh and it’s a well-hidden love song.)

I think “Don’t Be Scared” might be the exact chord progression from Eagles “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” not that it’s a bad thing. It’s comforting, as it’s supposed to be, and the kind of thing you’d expect to hear on that AM Gold collection. The slide guitar is just sublime. It’s the track most fittingly in the “country” genre on the album.

The title track, “Lucky Stars” is a down tempo waltz. Don’t let the slide guitar fool you. Just count it out… one-two-three, four-five-six. Let it sway. Feel it? Yep. That’s a waltz. Sorry I got a little carried away there. Anyways, it’s part country, part 50s love song, and totally perfect for this comfortable collection. “Healing Feeling” shifts back to a purer rock feel. The guitars really sell it as a tougher attitude track. It’s a call for a doctor or poet to help with her lovesickness. It accurately navigates the line between cheesy and really good pop. Nicely done.

“Vulture Lullaby” might be one of my favorite ironic song titles. I mean, who hasn’t watched vultures circle and circle in a way that lulls you to sleep? Maybe it’s just us country folk, but I’ve definitely been there. I’ve never thought of vultures as being particularly majestic, but the structure of the song, full of plenty of minor chords, gives the feeling of the beautiful impending doom of the carrion. This is an understated Canadiana masterpiece that, frankly, I find difficult to explain. Just give it a listen. Spines will tingle.

“Agent of the Night” is an adventure song. It makes you feel like you’re hearing about a mysterious character. I think it’s potentially about a private investigator – or something symbolic and existential. Regardless, it has a complexity and a “western” feel to it that’s sure to make a lot of fans out of the band. The final track “The Man Who Sold the World” is a really curious tune. It’s got some of the more experimental elements on the whole album. It feels like the wild open spaces of the Canadian frontier. The chill rock vibe of the song is the perfect ending to a fantastic, adventurous album.

Leaf Rapids are a good band and their lead singer – do you remember? I told you to write it down. Keri Latimer. They are an excellent combination. While I could hear her doing a stripped down solo album, she really is the perfect tone for a counterpart to the twangy guitars in Leaf Rapids. In many ways the guitars are their own “part” in the band. All told, this is an album for fans of folk and folk rock, mostly. If you like to have your ears take a trip to parts unknown and meet mysterious, intriguing characters along the way, this is the album for you. It’s an adventure in three part harmony. - Ear To the Ground

"Leaf Rapids unveils haunting Americana with debut album"

REGINA — Keri Latimer embraces life’s quirks. The singer/songwriter of Leaf Rapids said she likes people who are “genuinely eclectic.” Maybe that’s what drew her to her husband Devin, a University of Winnipeg chemistry professor and Leaf Rapids’ bass player.

Leaf Rapids, which Keri described as “haunting Americana” during a recent phone interview from her Winnipeg home, will be at The Exchange on Sunday night. The show will feature Slow Leaves with Grant Davidson and Evan Friesen (Little Miss Higgins) on drums.

Music is an integral part of the Latimer household. Keri said her children, Oscar and Hazel, ages seven and eight respectively, usually aren’t fazed when mom and dad have band practice at their place.

“OK,” she laughed. “They are probably a little annoyed by it right now because we have a full drum set in living room.”

Keri is best known for her involvement with the band Nathan, now called Nathan Music Co., which won a Juno for the song Key Principles. Leaf Rapids is a new venture with one album to its name.

Lucky Stars, released on April 14, is its first album with Black Hen Music. Keri said the chance was one she couldn’t refuse after songwriter and producer Steve Dawson approached her at the Western Canadian Music Awards a few years ago.

“(Dawson) was sitting in with Jill Barber and I said ‘Feel free to play with me,’ ” Keri explained. “After that, they offered us a record deal. We jumped at the opportunity and went to Nashville to make a record.”

The product is an indie-folk blend with abstract lyrics, catchy hooks and unique sounds like the lap steel or Keri’s theremin playing on tracks like Virtual Machine. Leaf Rapids’ style is akin to acts like Beach House, known for its meditative quality.

When asked about her influences, Keri mentioned songwriters like Vic Chesnutt and Richard Buckner. More importantly, she said being from the prairies gives her music a darker tone.

“We all hole up for the winter and make things. You get a bit crazy and obsessed and then come out in the spring and show everybody what you did ... Everything gets intensified.”

The Latimer family dynamic is another key factor for Leaf Rapids. Keri said her husband’s “mathematic brain” helps to organize her abstract thinking.

“It’s such a perfect balance for the bigger picture.”

The kids get to help too. Leaf Rapids is planning a European tour through Germany, the Netherlands and U.K. and Oscar and Hazel are hitting the road with mom and dad.

“We’re going there in May for five weeks,” said Keri. “We booked a big camper van and we’ll take the kids ... We’ll see if they can practice their math skills while helping with merch sales.”
By Devin Pacholik - Regina Leader Post

"Lucky Stars Album Review"

Emerging from the accolades of the (still active) Winnipeg alt-country band Nathan comes Leaf Rapids. Composed of husband and wife duo Keri (who also has a solo album under her belt, 2012's Crowsfeet and Greyskull) and Devin Latimer, Leaf Rapids' debut weaves genres together seamlessly and bears the musical maturity of old pros while still maintaining a fresh-faced sound.

With heart-warming lyrics ("I comply with the virtual regime / Synchronized, sated and serene"), Keri pulls people into her fascination with the wide-open spaces of Winnipeg and the prairies. Lucky Stars kicks off with the hooky and ethereal "Virtual Machine," with tons of reverb and a sort of '60s surf-rock vibe, perfect for those upcoming beach days. From there, the duo drifts seamlessly into the more barn-raising, country-inspired "April," complete with fiddle, banjo and an appropriately placed twang on Latimer's vocal. Other standouts include "Healing Feeling," with its retro blues groove, and a theremin- and harmony-filled cover of David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World."

What sets Lucky Stars apart, though, is Keri's voice, which ranges from the unique delicateness of Hannah Georgas ("Virtual Machine") to the twang of an early Dolly Parton ("Gravity and a Ladder of Gold"). Produced by Steve Dawson (Jim Byrnes, Old Man Luedecke), Lucky Stars definitely has some star power behind it but doesn't hang on the coattails of its predecessors; it stands on its own. - Exclaim! Magazine

"FEATURED: Leaf Rapids ‘Lucky Stars’"

Put bluntly: Leaf Rapids is simple.

Wait. Stop. That isn’t an insult. Stick with me for a second.

There is something truly charming about the simplicity of Leaf Rapids. Resting very heavily on the shoulders of Keri Latimer’s tumultuous voice, clutter of any kind would simply detract from the strengths of the band. There is no reason for bells, whistles or distractions. She just has to sing.

Think of it this way: when you have a beautiful piece of art, you display it. You put it in the most frequently-visited area in your house and hope everyone notices the way it lights up the room.

Keri Latimer has the ability to light up a room.

With her infectious twang, belted in a manner that could make both Jenny Lewis and Neko Case take notice, Latimer is the real deal. Her pipes will propel her to the next level; her band might as well grab onto her coattails with a white-knuckle grip and hold on for dear life.

Take a look at “Virtual Machine,” the opening track on ‘Lucky Stars’, the band’s debut album; the guitars and progressions calmly, clearly, and unapologetically make way for their female crooner to punch the clock. Softly resting behind her angelic lungs, the song soars.

However, the band is quick to to remind listeners that they have chops as well. On “April,” an Alison Krauss-style bluegrass jam complete with slide guitar and and fiddle, the band trades Canadian lineage for Nashville roots. “Don’t Be Scared” combines the best of both worlds, highlighting Latimer’s gentle and beautiful voice with flawless alternative-country guitar stylings. With a sound that mirrors Blue Rodeo (also from the Canadian scene), the track possesses a vintage storytelling structure and a beautiful slide-guitar sound. Bleeding into the title track, the band’s first four offerings solidify them as flawless singer/songwriters. Their value is undeniable.

Refusing to be written off as a one-trick pony, the band shoves “Healing Feeling” and “Welcome Stranger” onto the album. With a deep 1950’s beach house, dance party vibe, the tracks possess a catchiness compelling listeners toward toe-tapping, head-nodding or general dance shenanigans.

Track for track, Leaf Rapids go toe-to-toe with every new band in the Americana/Alt-Country scene. Although it lacks that one, album-changing song that drives them into a heatseeking category, listeners who keep the words “debut album” in mind should find themselves satisfied, if not intrigued.

As long as Keri is attached to this project, or any project, I’ll be watching their rise. I have no doubt that it will be she who makes all the difference.

- Written by Josh Hammond - For the Country Record

"Roots duo Leaf Rapids soar to new heights with ‘Lucky Stars’"

Husband-and-wife tandem Keri and Devin Latimer spent the early part of the millennium in indie folk outfit Nathan, earning plenty of acclaim in their native Canada and winning the 2008 Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) for best roots traditional album. They’ve formed a new band, Leaf Rapids, and their “Lucky Stars” debut is a twangy delight from beginning to end.

Leaf Rapids CDKeri anchors the 12-track release with her crystalline vocals and Devin holds down the bottom on bass, while pal Steve Dawson breathes life into the platter with his stellar guitar work. There’s a nice mix of originals and cover tunes on a 46-minute album that figures to raise Leaf Rapids’ profile considerably.

The opening salvo of “Virtual Machine,” “April” and “Everything in Between” is flat-out terrific, and Leaf Rapids also score with personal favorite “Healing Feeling,” “Gravity and a Ladder of Gold” and “Agent of the Night.” The album comes to a close with a sprawling rendition of “The Man Who Sold the World,” a David Bowie tune that Nirvana practically took ownership of during a 1994 “MTV Unplugged” performance. The Latimers do the song justice. (Jeffrey Sisk) - Pittsburgh In Tune


Leaf Rapids

Lucky Stars, Black Hen Music 2015


Nathan - "Stranger", Independent 2001
Nathan - "Jimson Weed" Nettwerk Records 2004 (Juno Award nominee)
Nathan - "Casserole" EP, Nettwerk Records 2006
Nathan - "Key Principles", Nettwerk Records 2007 (Juno Award recipient, Roots and Traditional Album of the Year- Group)



"When the Twin Peaks reboot releases it's first trailer, this should be playing the background" -Mike Seely, No Depression

Keri and Devin Latimer’s latest musical project, “Leaf Rapids” is inspired by the wildly isolated nature of Manitoba, Canada. The lyrical themes explore the inner workings of people left too long inside their cabins in the dead of winter, and where spring explodes. Think of a warm layered blanket of bass, guitars and drums, and add the voice of Keri Latimer and the haunting sound of the Theremin.

They have been performing together since 1996 in the band Nathan, whom they have toured internationally and appreciated various forms of recognition with, most notably a Juno Award, a WCMA songwriting award and a Times Changed High and Lonesome Club Whiskey Award.

Leaf Rapids recorded a dozen songs in Nashville, TN with producer/musician Steve Dawson (who’s accolades include a long list of Awards and nominations, including Juno’s, WCMA’s and CFMA’s), engineer Bil Vorndick (Ralph Stanley, Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck) and drummer Gary Craig (Bruce Cockburn, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings). 

Their album, “Lucky Stars” was released in April 2015 on the Black Hen Music Label.

Band Members