The Star Phoenix
Keri Latimer embraces life's quirks. The singer/songwriter of Leaf Rapids said she likes people who are "genuinely eclectic."
Maybe that's what drew her to her husband Devin, a University of Winnipeg chemistry professor and Leaf Rapids' bass player.
Keri described Leaf Rapids as "haunting Americana" during a recent phone interview from her Winnipeg home. Music is an integral part of the Latimer household. Keri said her children, Oscar and Hazel, ages seven and eight respectively, usually aren't fazed when mom and dad have band practice at their place.
"OK," she laughed. "They are probably a little annoyed by it right now because we have a full drum set in the living room."
Keri is best known for her involvement with the band Nathan, now called Nathan Music Co., which won a Juno for the song Key Principles.
Leaf Rapids is a new venture with one album to its name. Lucky Stars, released on April 14, is its first album with music label Black Hen Music. Keri said the chance was one she couldn't refuse after songwriter and producer Steve Dawson approached her at the western Canadian Music Awards a few years ago.
"(Dawson) was sitting in with Jill Barber and I said 'Feel free to play with me,' " Keri explained. "After that, they offered us a record deal. We jumped at the opportunity and went to Nashville to make a record."
The product is an indie-folk blend with abstract lyrics, catchy hooks and unique sounds like the lap steel or Keri's theremin playing on tracks like Virtual Machine.
Leaf Rapids' style is akin to acts like Beach House, known for its meditative quality.
When asked about her influences, Keri mentioned songwriters like Vic Chesnutt and Richard Buckner. More importantly, she said being from the Prairies gives her music a darker tone.
"We all hole up for the winter and make things. You get a bit crazy and obsessed and then come out in the spring and show everybody what you did. Everything gets intensified."
The Latimer family dynamic is another key factor for Leaf Rapids.
Keri said her husband's "mathematic brain" helps to organize her abstract thinking.
"It's such a perfect balance for the bigger picture."
The kids get to help, too. Leaf Rapids is planning a European tour through Germany, the Netherlands and U.K., and Oscar and Hazel are hitting the road with mom and dad.
"We're going there in May for five weeks," said Keri.
"We booked a big camper van and we'll take the kids. We'll see if they can practise their math skills while helping with merch sales," she said.