From the outskirts of Ottawa, Ontario comes one of the more promising acts I’ve had the privilege to cover. The young and vastly talented Leith Ross is a singer-songwriter whose stripped-back folk tendencies highlight a masterful poet with playful delivery of nuanced insights into the world. Most recently, Ross caught my attention with their EP Motherwell, more specifically, one track titled, “Everyone I’ve Never Met.” In a world of isolation and general withdrawal from others, this track felt like the perfect embodiment of both pandemic life and our society’s movement away from human interaction.
The record is rooted in a few gentle piano chords and a very raw and warm guitar. Most importantly, this simple production allows for Ross’s sharp vocals to cut through the mix and deliver each line directly to the listener. All of my favorite moments on this track rest within the lyricism and the connection between imagery and insight. In the first verse, for example, Ross explains their general discomfort on the highway. From here, they dive into the more nuanced understanding that each car on the highway is a stranger with a story to share and a personality to enjoy. As they explain, “from my window they are just a bumper with a light / and I can’t see their eyes” I immediately saw the whole scene play out from my window.
Vocally, Ross is to be given their roses. The harmonies on the chorus are gentle and tasteful, creating a sweet swell of melancholy. When we get to the bridge and Ross echoes, “I miss everyone I’ve never met” we are blessed with brighter tones and deeper harmonies brought into the mix. This moment on the bridge serves as a contemplative scene after the tracks more somber moments. Here and throughout the entire track I found myself enjoying the tone of Ross’ voice, it is sharp, inviting, and perfect for this type of folk sound. Together with the rather simple instrumentation on the record, the vocals are a perfect amount of soft and assertive.
With due credit to the artist, I’d like to share their take on the message behind the record:
“I’ve always been someone who would strike up a conversation with a stranger on the streetcar on the way home from buying groceries. Around that time, I hadn’t even been leaving the house to get groceries, they got delivered right to my door. This song mourns the moments in my future where I will inevitably choose the ease offered to me over the moment of anxiety that leads to something precious.”
All in all, this was an amazing find for me. This track made me feel accompanied in the state that pulls you away from the world. Truly a gorgeous track from the talented Leith Ross. Make sure to check out their debut EP, Motherwell, and stay up to date with what is to come.