Imagine being left to write your heart out alone in a cabin in the dead of winter.
That’s the moody vibe put out there by Leaf Rapids, husband and wife duo Keri and Devin Latimer of Winnipeg, on their new CD of Americana gems, Lucky Stars.
It’s the sound of the theremin that does it, the electronic instrument played by Keri Latimer, often described as “haunting” along with her distinct vocal chops, and bass playing by her husband, Devin Latimer.
Never heard of a theremin? Picture someone playing air harp on something that look like a cross between an old TV antenna and a cutting board. It sounds eerie and evocative like something out of a horror movie soundtrack.
“It’s an amazing instrument,” said Keri Latimer in a phone interview. “Right off the bat I felt connected to it. It’s so intuitive to play that they say you either have a disposition for it or you don’t. You’re feeling the notes on a theremin rather than playing them.”
Leaf Rapids perform in Chilliwack with Slow Leaves on April 25 at Tractorgrease Café.
The album Lucky Stars was actually inspired by the isolated nature of rural Manitoba, where Keri spent some time, after growing up in Alberta.
The themes on the CD reflect the “inner workings of people left too long inside their cabins in the dead of winter,” according to the band bio.
“I’m a great hermit,” she added. “And winter is a great time to write.”
The couple has been performing together since 1996, when they were part of the Juno award-winning band Nathan, and “we just celebrated 10 years of being together musically,” she said. “I just feel grateful every day that I have a partner willing to do this.”
They’re on a West Coast tour to Vancouver and back, before heading to the U.K. and the Netherlands for five weeks of touring with their kids, aged seven and eight.
“They’re used to travelling with us. We have them selling merch. They’re on fire.”
She plays theremin and acoustic guitar, and sings vocals, while Devin plays bass.
But it’s the wholly unique theremin sound that comes through in spades on the title track of Lucky Stars, as well as in a cover of David Bowie’s, The Man Who Sold the World.
“It’s a pretty spacey version of the song,” Keri noted. It was producer Steve Dawson of Black Hen label in Nashville who recommended they include a cover or two on the recording, and Devin suggested the Bowie song, also covered by Nirvana.
Leaf Rapids perform with solo artist Grant Davidson of Slow Leaves, $20, April 25, 7 p.m. at Tractorgrease Café, 604-858-3814 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Slow Leaves album, “Beauty Is So Common”: https://slowleaves.bandcamp.com
Leaf Rapids video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcOPxfiBKGg