“Whether my songs are flavoured with folk, celtic, country or rock influences, my goal is to write music from the soul.” David Leask
Getting back to the basic elements of great music often involves a deep look below the surface, a mining of the heart and soul and a time of reflection and rediscovery. Two-time International Songwriting Competition Winner David Leask has done all of this and more to craft his 4th studio album "Underneath". Leask's first full-length release in over 8 years, "Underneath" ushers in a new artistic era for this musical lifer and multi-award winner who's enjoyed comparisons to such master storytellers as John Prine and John Hiatt. Co-produced by Leask and Juno-winning multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Justin Abedin and mixed by Grammy winner Chad Carlson, "Underneath" is a deeply evocative, soul-stirring collection that stands as a high watermark along an adventurous, strongly independent and continually evolving career path.
Following 3 critically acclaimed releases garnering national airplay on radio and CMT, "Underneath" is the rich and robust culmination of thousands of shows played, over 100 songs written, the stellar contributions of over 25 world class musicians, and many inventive days and nights of bringing it all to life in 6 Toronto and Nashville studios. Still, Leask attributes just one week in 2012 spent immersed in world renowned bass player Victor Wooten's Music and Nature Camp near Nashville with hitting his artistic restart button and bringing him back to the foundations of music making. David recalls "When I left there I felt closer to the core of my musical instincts and had a clearer vision for the kind of record I wanted to make."
From the curiosity-piquing guitar arpeggio that introduces “Words” to the poignant vocal declaration that closes “This Time 'Round”, "Underneath" provides a revealing and relatable view of what's beneath the waves of everyday life, love and the world as we know it. Leask co-wrote 11 of the album's 13 tracks. Songs such as the title track "Underneath", “Photosynthesis” and “One Second Look” shed refreshingly mature perspectives on personal relationships. Others like “Freedom by the Barrel”, “Ready to Buy” and “Breathing” go even deeper to tackle and examine social conditions such as war mongering, rampant consumerism and the struggle for peace amidst chaos. Leask also recorded two songs penned by celebrated Nashville writers Doug Gill (“Stronger Back”) and Darrell Scott & Beth Neilsen Chapman (“This Time Round”) that thematically and stylistically compliment the collection as a whole. "I wanted to make the listening experience very much a dynamic journey, almost like the listener is at a great live show", David explains.
Long before American Idol brought the excitement of talent competitions into our living rooms, Leask and his band won the BBC-televised National Rock School Competition in his native Scotland and his musical die was cast. Twenty years later, Leask’s polished, yet rootsy, charm-filled performances garnered him the Mississauga Performing Artist of the Year Award. A songwriter's songwriter, Leask has also gathered numerous honours for his songwriting, most recently in the USA Songwriting Competition. Songwriters Magazine called Leask, "the most consistent Canadian songwriting competition winner."
Leask takes his innate ability to connect with an audience into the classroom as well, teaching songwriting in schools as a mentor for the School Alliance of Student Songwriters as well as the Songwriters' Association of Canada. David notes, "It's refreshing and inspiring for me to go into the classroom and experience the exchange of creativity and the unjaded imagination of the kids while I'm teaching."
With "Underneath", Leask has taken his influences from both sides of the Atlantic and forged an album of meticulously-crafted, vigorously road-tested songs. The result is an exhilarating, genre-surfing journey that traverses rhythm and bluegrass, country and soul, roots and rock. David adds, "More than any previous record, people can get a deeper sense of who and where I am. In a sense, they can meet me in the music."
"At our Canada Day celebrations where attendance reached in excess of 25,000 people, I was really impressed with David’s ability to translate his songs with such energy. He proved to me that his show reaches many audiences and keeps them wanting more.”
Joe Novak, Programming Manager, Mel Lastman Square, Toronto
"David is awesome. His songwriting is beautiful and in concert he is able to tell stories which draw the audience into the web he is spinning. He is articulate about many topics which means his songs attract a wide ranging audience."
Allyson Macdonald, Stonecroft Folk, House Concert Series
"David Leask and sideman Justin Abedin enthralled us all with two forty minutes sets filled with songs of life, love and everyday events. David's voice is so smooth and both he and Justin can play mean guitars. It is so amazing when such a full sound comes out of just two players."
Suzy Miller, Presenter, Lighthouse Festival Theatre, Port Dover
"I was so impressed with David’s songwriting and great vocals. At our event, he was a fantastic singer and songwriter. We will definitely have him back in the future."
John Donald, Director-Entertainment, Dauphin’s Countryfest
2011 - 1st Place USA Songwriting Competition Comedy Category - "Infomaniac"
2011 - Runner-up in the John Lennon 70th Birthday Song Contest - "Everybody Sing"
2009 - 1st Place OCFF Songs From The Heart Winner - "While I Still Breathe"
2009 - Top Ten Finalist Toronto Song Contest - "The Toronto We Know"
2009 1st Place Unisong Song Contest - "Freedom By The Barrel"
2007 1st Place OCFF Songs from the Heart Political Category- "Freedom By The Barrel"
2007 1st Place in the International Songwriting Competition - "Strong in Broken Places"
2006 Finalist in the John Lennon Song Contest