Leah and the Moonlighters
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Leah and the Moonlighters

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
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"Review: Leah and the Moonlighters' Self-Titled CD"

After listening to this, my first intention was to say that Leah and The Moonighters aren’t sure whether to be jazz or folky pop, but by listening closely, this group (fronted by vocalist Leah Zager are very confident with the fence they balance on.

Zager has the kind of style that captures the essence of Joni Mitchell or Rickie Lee Jones, storytellers who want to share their views but in their own way, and that’s where the jazz elements come in. Mitchell is someone who loves jazz but most do not know her as a jazz artist, so in tracks like ‘Ice”, “Reveries’, and “I Am Waiting” you hear a singer who shares her love of jazz in a poetic way. Yet it doesn’t sound like jazz, it’s more indirect jazz even though you’re hearing it in front of you. Her violin work also adds another dimension to the music that is quite crisp and clean without sounding too corny or like a box of laundry soap. I wish for her to do very well with this and future projects, for I feel she is someone who needs to be heard. - This is Book's Music


"Leah and the Moonlighters"

Leah and the Moonlighters celebrated the release of their first album on June 27 at the legendary Austin jazz club, the Elephant Room. This Austin-grown jazz/folk/rock band is heavy on talent. Led by Leah Zeger (violin/lead vocals) and Aaron Goldfarb (guitar), the Moonlighters seamlessly combine jazz, folk, and rock styles in a manner befitting of their eclectic hometown of Austin. The hauntingly pure tone of Leah’s voice carries lightly above acoustic strings and dark saxophones, with rich jazz harmonies lurking around every corner. - Jazz El Paso


"Playing With The Band"

Some people have all the luck: smarts, talent, law school and a spot in a great band, with all of life’s perks still to come.

El Paso native Aaron Goldfarb, a graduate of Coronado High School and Kenny Capshaw’s jazz band, is one of those people.

A second-year student at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Goldfarb is the guitarist for a six-member band named after its lead singer and violinist, Leah Zeger, called Leah and the Moonlighters.

The group released its first CD last month, a self-produced album of original music put together in four days over spring break at Austin’s Infinity Studios.

The CD is available for listening or for purchase at the group’s website, and locally at the Greenery Market and Coffee Emporium on the Westside and the Pike Street Café Downtown.

The band will be playing in El Paso Friday, Aug. 20, at the El Adobe Studios on El Paso Drive. For more information, check their Facebook page or website, www.leahandthemoonlighters.com.

Lessons at 10
Their nicheless style is easy to listen to but hard to peg. A wine taster might say they’re jazzy but not a jazz band and independent though not indy, with hints of the blues, strums of Americana folk and distinctive tones from Austin.

Goldfarb’s accomplished guitar work, the product of lessons since he was 10 and 10,000 hours of practice, ranges from jazz to rhythm and blue, rock and folk – like the band’s. He credits his teachers, Jimmy Leeah and the late Charles Tietsworth, with getting him this far.

In high school, he and friends formed a progressive-rock band, Four Corners, that didn’t get many club gigs because there weren’t many music venues in El Paso for striving musicians. That hasn’t changed.

But they stayed busy.

“Our main gig was playing cocktail music for weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties and graduation parties,” he said. “I’ll play ‘Girl from Ipanema’ for anyone who wants to leave a tip.”

After high school, Goldfarb headed for UT Austin as a music major. That lasted for two years, after which, being practical, Goldfarb changed his major to economics.

He and a group of musicians he met through UT’s School of Music formed an instrumental band, Aaron and the Polynomials. But they soon realized the female vocalist they really needed, Leah Zeger, was behind the violin.

Zeger, whom Goldfarb calls “absolutely the most talented woman I ever met,” was a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra but also had a degree in operatic performance. Zeger and Goldfarb wrote the band’s music and lyrics for the original set of 14 songs on their debut CD.

Her voice is simply cool, rich as chocolate, clear as polished glass, and it will do anything.

That change led to the new name – Leah and the Moonlighters – and a better sound and, maybe, a shot at fame, though the band members have diverse interests pulling them in different directions.

Bank of luck
They aren’t playing regular gigs in the state’s music capital. Zeger, for one, is in Los Angeles, trying to break into the music scene there.

“There’s an enormous amount of luck involved in a band taking off,” Goldfarb said. “We’re trying to play as many gigs as possible and to promote the CD as much as we can.”

Goldfarb has law school to finish and what he called a “mounting explosion of federal student debt” to face.

“Law is a good thing to have,” he said. “Right now, I’m in the process of drafting a royalty arrangement for our group.”

How does his father, Kemp Smith lawyer Alan Goldfarb, regard the potential conflict of interest between music and law?

“I’m a proud father, what can I say,” he said. “I think it’s like any parent who has a child with that deep a passion for something. It’s fun to watch him pursue his talents as far as he can.”

But on the practical side, he said, “The way I could see this playing out is he may end up doing entertainment law.”

But if Aaron dives into music, life on the bus and shows in small clubs before boozing audiences, the elder Goldfarb said, “Having something in your pocket like a law degree makes sense.”

Leah and the Moonlighters
Aug. 20 Live show
El Adobe Recording Studios
5301 El Paso Dr., Ste. B
For more information, check their Facebook page
www.leahandthemoonlighters.com.

David Crowder can be reached at (915) 587-6622 or at david_crowder@sbcglobal.net. - El Paso Inc


"Local Musician Spotlight: Leah and the Moonlighters"

When was the last time you heard a local Jazz band play live? I honestly cannot recall such an event. I am way overdue for a Jazzy evening with authentic and original music, which is why I am so excited to hear Austin’s own Leah and the Moonlighters play this coming Sunday at Elephant Room starting at 8:30 p.m.

I had the privilege of getting a sneak-peek (or listen) of the debut album, encased in a nostalgic, yet aesthetic cover designed by one of my favorite up and coming advertising art directors. I found this six-piece musical act to be soothing, combining their talents led by violinist and lead vocalist, Leah Zeger, and guitarist Aaron Goldfarb, to create heartfelt sounds that were comforting and “music to my ears”.

With some of the band members who carry their sounds throughout the city as part of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and others who are mastering the art of music at the University of Texas’ Butler School of Music, Leah and the Moonlighters’ debut album brings local, genuine, and natural talent to the surface of the Austin Jazz scene.

Stop by their debut album release party and concert this Sunday underground at the Elephant Room to hear them in their purest form. - Rebeccamendations


Discography

Leah and the Moonlighters (self-titled debut)

Photos

Bio

Leah and the Moonlighters is an eight-piece group based out of Austin, Texas. Inspired by vanguard groups like Steely Dan, Leah and the Moonlighters combine the driving rhythm of rock and roll with the sophistication of jazz harmony. All of the group's compositions are original, including the haunting lyrics and the savvy saxophone arrangements. Leah and the Moonlighters have headlined the Austin Jazz Festival, The Plaza Classic Film Festival in El Paso, and made their SXSW debut in 2011.