Produced by Mark Howard (Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams), Love & Murder is a sparse, raw collection of ten folk songs. Opening with “Jericho,” a haunting number that sets the tone for what’s to come, it makes clear that the album lies more within darker spaces that artists like Sharon Van Etten, Lana Del Rey and Dusty Springfield inhabit. Songs such as “Murder Me,” “Coney Island,” and “Chasing the Thrill” find Leslie exploring loss in ways that feel personal and metaphorical, where the stories within are multifaceted.
Leslie also recorded three covers: the classic-country infused “Cry, Cry Darlin’'” a take on Bob Dylan’s classic “Just Like a Woman,” played on the ukulele, and a duet with The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir on Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou.” In fact, Mendelson was unwittingly adopted by the West Coast jam scene after Weir heard her take on “Friend of the Devil” and recruited her to perform with him. She now also performs frequently with guitarist Steve Kimock.
On Love & Murder, however, Leslie Mendelson offers a different side of herself that isn’t present in her early work or recent collaborations. “This collection is just about the songs and my voice,” she says. “That’s what people can connect with. It shows where I am right now as an artist and where I want to go.”