LeRoi's "Luminous" Legacy
Funny the way it is
Not right or wrong
On a soldier's last breath
His baby's being born.
These lyrics from The Dave Matthews Band's recent hit “Funny the Way It Is” poignantly speak to the story I'm about to tell. In this tale of a musician's dream realized, the soldier is LeRoi Moore and the baby is an album he produced for the jazz/pop/folk artist Samantha Farrell. Both DMB's record “Big Whiskey” and Farrell's work “Luminous” were released after LeRoi's death, yet both carry undeniable influences from the great saxophonist. Samantha's soulful recording is now available on Itunes and a part of her proceeds will benefit LeRoi's charity, which among other things, plants trees and gives struggling children an opportunity to learn music.
In an email to dontburnthepig.org, Samantha describes her serendipitous connection with LeRoi Moore which occurred after her boss, a friend of LeRoi's, generously forwarded her myspace page to LeRoi. After hearing snippets of her music, LeRoi invited a stunned Samantha out to a group dinner where she says, “He sat across from me at dinner. I tried not stare. He was laughing and joking with everyone, telling ridiculous stories and trying to get more than a sentence out of me. I remember punching myself in the leg for being so lamely silent. Then out of no where, he made some obscure Star-Wars (reference) that no one else got and I perked right up; I am a huge sci-fi nerd. Roi was a huge sci-fi nerd. After that shared geekdom was established, it broke the ice and it was like talking to an old friend.”
After this initial meeting, Roi invited Samantha to his house in California, and eventually, to his studio in Virginia to work on her album. Samantha describes the experience of working with LeRoi as surreal, being that he was one of her biggest musical influences. When he signed on as her producer, she was ecstatic, not only to be working with such an outstanding horn player, but also because he believed in her music. She says he “heard my music and immediately saw that my uniqueness was my strength, not a hindrance, and that I just needed to stay 100% true to my vision.” We've often heard Dave talk about LeRoi's unwavering dedication to honesty and truth in music, a trait that shines brightly on every piece he touches.
Samantha had the privilege of spending quality time with LeRoi shortly before his death. Of her work with him she says, “Some of my best memories are of all of us sitting in the studio, shooting the breeze, in stitches from Roi, who was telling us all sorts of crazy stories, and listening to him expound on life, music and the universe. We were all so young, so in awe, so grateful to have him take a chance on us, flying high on simply being understood, of being in the presence of someone so brilliant who BELIEVED in us.”
And then, “The day of the accident, he was supposed to meet me in the studio.”
Understandably, Samantha was devastated by LeRoi's death. She had been given the opportunity of a lifetime, literally. As quickly and effortlessly as he came into her life, he was gone. And all that was left were memories and a new found dedication to finish her album in his name. Now, over a year later, with help from John D'earth and Bobby Read, her baby has been born. She is proud of the release, stating “ It came out beautifully. It was bittersweet. It was heartbreaking, but it came out beautifully. Now, I’m so happy to say, it is done. It has his name on it. It is part of him and he is part of it, it was the last thing he was doing, and no one can ever take that away.”
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self