The Leaves
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The Leaves

Band Folk Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Leaves: Timid Line"

There are times when analyzing the liner notes of an album can be slightly misleading. When you peer inside the cover of Timid Line, the latest EP by The Leaves, the names Bryan Dondero and Scott Tournet are going to leap out at you and scream Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. Although the two Nocturnals leave their imprint on the disc – Dondero produces and Tournet plays lap steel – it’s singer Aya Inoue that proves to be the true allure of the four song disc.

Inoue & The Leaves are part of the ever-bustling Burlington, Vermont music scene that gave birth to GP&TN and serves as home base for Ramble Dove, Mike Gordon’s honky-tonk collective that gave Inoue her first glimpse of National exposure. Anyone whose familiarity with Inoue comes from her Ramble Dove involvement will be mightily impressed with the range and depth she shows on Timid Line. You can hear an occasional honky-tonk twinge in some of her vocal inflections, especially on the title track, but otherwise Timid Line reveals Inoue to be a master at conveying strength and fragility, certainty and indecision with her delivery as well as her lyrics. It’s a trait borne by any successful singer-songwriters.

The songs on Timid Line seem torn from the inner pages of Inoue’s diary but The Leaves aren’t a vanity project for the feisty yet introspective singer. The music behind her, played by Matt Harpster (guitar), Corey Beard (bass) and Steve Sharon (percussion) with Charles Eller (keyboards) and Nocturnal Tournet (lap steel) also lending a hand, give Timid Line a gravitas along the lines of Gillian Welch or Townes Van Zandt. The EP shows what happens when you pair a talented singer-songwriter with a band that is entirely on the same page with the mood and tone she’s trying to convey. There’s a wonderful smoldering quality to “Yours Truly Charlie,” Harpster’s guitar solo greatly accentuates “Instead” and Tournet’s lap steel brings a mournful reflective quality to “Back.”

Timid Line accomplishes what every debut EP sets out to do: it’s long enough to give you a solid idea of what Inoue and The Leaves are capable of doing while leaving your appetite whetted for more.

-David Schultz -

"Leaf Peeping"

Long a darling of Burlington’s coffeehouse folk scene, singer-songwriter Aya Inoue made a modest name for herself as a touring side-woman in Mike Gordon’s all-star honky-tonk ensemble Ramble Dove. No longer content to play second fiddle — she’s a guitarist anyway, and a pretty good one — she formed her current outfit The Leaves last summer. Where Inoue’s solo work was quiet and contemplative, in a full band setting her material takes on an rousing new dynamic while retaining the introspective intimacy that endeared her to the café set. Check the sonic foliage at the unofficial Grace Potter and The Nocturnals after-party this Saturday at Nectar’s.

Seven Days 08/13/2008

- Dan Bolles, Seven Days


Timid Line (2007) EP (4 tracks)



The Leaves are a four piece band based out of Burlington, Vermont who defy stereotypes, make music from the soul, and are beginning to make themselves known in the Northeast. Led by Aya Inoue, the band consists of lead guitar player Matt Harpster, bass player Cory Beard, and drummer Steve Sharon.

Inoue started out as a singer-songwriter in Burlington in 2002, where she would show up at local coffee houses and play weekly open mike nights. Her early music was inspired by and reflected her admiration and respect for artists such as Ani Difranco, Indigo Girls, and Alison Krauss. Her solo music was often compared as such by a wide variety of listeners, who constantly commented on being able to relate to her lyrics and the emotions radiating from them. Through the years, Inoue became one of Burlington’s staple singer-songwriters, perfectly content setting herself and her acoustic guitar up at any venue and playing for any kind of crowd.

Inoue’s first shift in music began in 2005, when she joined a local Honky Tonk group led by Brett Hughes. She began showing up week and after week, earning the reputation of being a “honky-tonk gal” and settled herself into a role of singing duets honoring the likes of Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Kitty Wells. In early 2006, Mike Gordon (Phish) joined the ensemble and Ramble Dove was born. A brief summer tour with the band included stops such as Bonnaroo Music Festival, Irving Plaza, and Mountain Jam. This national exposure and positive feedback catapulted Inoue into a passionate desire to start her own band and to write new music that would wander from old styles and influences; her goal became to bring Burlington a new style of music that blended rock, folk, jam, and country all at once.

Matt Harpster was the first of the band to join Inoue on stage in 2006. His guitar accompaniment proved to be just what a crowd was looking for, and quickly Harpster and Inoue were being asked to play more local gigs, and were constantly surprised to see the diverse crowd they drew. Harpster’s guitar influences run deep and include Mark Knofler, Phish, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Coltrane, Eric Clapton, and Ween. His guitar style was exactly what Inoue’s simple folk rhythms needed to bring the music to a stronger, more powerful level. Many late night music sessions in Harpster’s basement caused both of them to realize that their collaborations would be much stronger if they had a powerful rhythm behind them.

In the summer of 2007, Steve Sharon and Cory Beard joined the band, and The Leaves were born. Determined to get their music to the public, The Leaves recorded an EP before they had even played any live gigs. Produced by Bryan Dondero (Grace Potter and the Nocturnals), the four song EP titled Timid Line was released in December 2007, and generated great feedback from the general public. At the start of the New Year, the band was ready to hit the Burlington music scene full force, and began playing to larger, late night crowds. Feeding off of the energy of the crowd, The Leaves quickly rose to be considered an established “Local Band” in the area, and had fans driving from all around to catch their shows.

The Leaves continue to make good impressions on their fans, fellow musicians, and musical critics. Their rapidly rising acclaim suggests that this is only the beginning for the band. For more information on Inoue and The Leaves, please visit