The Black Leaf: The Dusty Road
By Stephanie Gray
Written to the beat of life in a Brazilian surfing hot-spot, ‘The Dusty Road’ is one of two albums released by The Black Leaf in 2008. On location in Morro das Pedras, songwriter Mark Howden wrote a compact album of eight acoustic songs that tell of his travels among favelas, scorching beaches and suburbia. The stripped-back instrumentation—guitar, voice and minimal percussion—lend an authentic traveller’s tone to the album. Standout tracks include the Blue Rose with gutsy guitar strums, and Heavy Water, a lovely closing song with tasteful watery sound-effects. Mark’s guitar jogs gently through all songs and the careful balance of vocals with guitar means you can leave the equalisers alone. The Dusty Road was recorded by Mark in Waht Records’ studio—a roaming operation that has been temporarily set up in a Northland church and an aircraft hangar among other places.