Feature: Charlotte Le Lievre – Songs From The Barrier Line
Charlotte Le Lievre grapples with deeply moving and personal themes on her debut album Songs From The Barrier Line.
Delving into the the existential nature of death and dying, the processing of grief and the healing nature of connection to the unique outback town of Broken Hill, where Le Lievre spent significant time living and creating.
The body of 10 original songs take listeners on a journey, carving space for authentic connection with the audience via the shared experience of grief.
The record gives a powerful nod to both classic country and folk traditions, showcasing Le Lievre’s genre-defiant style. The arrangements of the songs draw upon the diverse currents of country music to create sonic mountains and valleys that mirror the outback landscapes of Le Lievre’s mind.
The opening track Barrier Line drips with honky tonk spirit. Written on a verandah in Broken Hill, the song uses the allegory of a railway worker to chronicle the initial isolation Le Lievre experienced after moving to the mining town in 2015.
Then there’s the driving bluegrass union ballad We’ll Hold The Line which is an ode to the rebel women of Broken Hill and their significant contribution to the union movement.
Side A closes out with the lilting and ethereal Creekbed. Based upon a poem by American poet Willa Cather, the track digs deep into Le Lievre’s personal philosophy on death and the wholeness of life. If I’d Looked With My Heart, which speaks of nurturing love amidst grief. Finally, the record closes out with the Carter Family inspired gospel song Vigil by your bed and the atmospheric and heart wrenching Ridin Free Til’ The End of Time, which Le Lievre wrote in tribute to her mum Julie, who passed away from uterine cancer in 2019.
Through her raw and honest emotional outpouring, Le Lievre carves space for authentic connection with her audience via the shared experience of grief. Le Lievre says;
“I took a long break from music during the final year of mum’s life. My grief led me back to songwriting and I’m profoundly grateful to have found a space to process the immensity of losing someone so special. Grief is a universal experience but something that is frequently shied away from in our society. In writing this album, I wanted to create space for listeners to connect with their own personal stories of grief and country music is the perfect vehicle“.
The record was recorded live to tape by engineer Alex Bennett at the analogue studio Sounds Recordings near Castlemaine in the depths of winter 2022. This format was chosen in order to capture both an authentic and raw country sound and the emotional vulnerability Le Lievre has invested in these songs.
The record was produced by Le Lievre in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist and old-time player Jas Bell and old-time fiddler Grace Bigby, who both also played on the record. The album also features Patrick Wilson on drums, Patrick Pheasant on double Bass and backing vocals, Luke Byrnes on electric guitar, Grace Turner on backing vocals and
Elwood Sze on banjo.
The record was mixed by Alex Bennett, Jas Bell and Le Lievre and mastered by Adam Dempsey.
Le Lievre received a grant from Creative Victoria to record, mix and master the record.
Songs From The Barrier Line is available to stream NOW.