Seattle songwriter Jaspar Lepak returns with her new
Americana-flavored album Desert Ghosts. Written over the span of 10
years, the songs document a time of deep personal change and reflect the landscapes of the places she has lived—the savannas of South Africa, the plains of Minnesota, the rainforests of Washington and the canyons of the Southwest.
Although often drawing comparisons to folk and country greats Emmylou Harris and Kate Wolf, Jaspar has a voice all her own. Mixing classic folk and bluegrass sounds, she sings with an unpretentious honesty as she wrestles with modern decisions about motherhood (“Black and White Dress” ), definitions of worth and success (“Ever Gonna Fly” ), and balancing personal dreams with those of a partner (“The Road Fades” ). With a decidedly feminist perspective, she tackles topics like a woman’s right to choose, be angry, speak her truth, and choose her own path.
Recorded at The Winterblue Room in Seattle, the album features a local band that includes Avery Hill and Mandy Troxel, with whom she founded the trio Raising Hazel in 2019. Although the pandemic kept them from playing their first scheduled tour, Jaspar was grateful to get to collaborate with them on this project. Jaspar’s husband and frequent collaborator Kale Lepak (accordion, vocals) also contributed as did songwriters Wes Weddell and Ailisa Newhall, who Jaspar met through the Bushwick Book Club of Seattle—a nonprofit collective where songwriters write songs inspired by books. A few songs came out of this project, including “Dandelion,” inspired by Margarat Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and “Why Should the Devil,” featuring a few lines from the A.E. Stalling s poem “Triolet on a Line Apocryphally Ascribed to Martin Luther,” which she performed before Stallings gave a lecture and poetry reading in Seattle.
An album that is personal yet perfectly resonant with us all right now, Desert Ghosts invites us to join Jaspar on a journey through life’s greatest joys and toughest challenges, giving us hope and encouragement along the way.
released March 12, 2021
Jaspar Lepak: vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica
Alicia Healey: upright & electric bass, Nashville guitar, electric guitar (8, 12), harmonies ( 1, 4, 6, 9)
Wes Weddell: mandolin, electric guitar (1, 6)
Rosenoak (Jodi Bagge & Cameron Reed): violin, cello
David Bush: drums, percussion
Ailisa Newhall: piano (3, 5,), accordion (7, 11)
Kale Lepak: accordion (10), harmonies (3, 9, 10, 12)
Christin Curran: electric bass (1, 6)
Avery Hill & Mandy Troxel: harmonies (2, 7)
Rachel VanScoy: harmonies (12)
A child of the Sonoran Desert, Jaspar Lepak is a folk/Americana songwriter whose remarkable gift for melody is only
surpassed by her poetry. Deeply influenced by the many places she has called home (Tucson, Minneapolis, Durban, and currently Seattle), she sweeps across landscapes with an emotional depth that is extraordinary, while her clear, pure voice touches the heart....more