Track-by-Track: Slow Leaves Weaves a Love Letter to Life Itself on 5th LP ‘Meantime,’ a Glistening, Golden Folk Dream

Meantime - Slow Leaves
Meantime - Slow Leaves
Slow Leaves’ Grant Davidson takes us track-by-track through his glistening, golden-hued fifth album ‘Meantime,’ a beautiful folk-soaked love letter to life itself.
for fans of Iron & Wine, John Vincent III, The Head and the Heart
Stream: “Jenny” – Slow Leaves

I think what happens in the meantime, when it feels like nothing is happening at all, is the real substance of life.

Like the singles that preceded it, Slow Leaves’ fifth album is instantly warm, welcoming, and wondrous.

Layers of enchanting folk music hit the ears and soak the soul on Meantime as the Canadian singer/songwriter shines a beacon of loving light into life’s depths, reflecting on what it means to be present, living in the moment rather than waiting for a moment to happen.

“If you blink, you miss it; if you think too much, you miss it,” he says. “If you’re lucky, in the meantime, there’s love and there’s death and not much less.” Earnest, intimate, and utterly smile-inducing, Meantime is a reminder, as much to the artist as to his audience, that life is short and it goes by fast; take no second for granted, and live each day to the fullest, however that looks for you.

Meantime - Slow Leaves
Meantime – Slow Leaves
I wanna be in an American band
See the bright lights shining
from the back of the van
And we’ll keep on rolling
just as long as we can, all right, all right
Another picture to remember you by
Cause it all goes down in the blink of an eye
So you can keep on sleeping
in the passenger side, I’ll drive, I’ll drive
– “American Band,” Slow Leaves

Released June 30, 2023 via Birthday Cake Records, Meantime is as irresistible as it is intoxicating: Grant Davidson’s fifth studio album as Slow Leaves sees the Winnipeg-based singer/songwriter contemplating the things that matter most in life, and how we spend our precious, numbered days – which so often feel infinite and endless, until death stares us down and wakes us up.

“These songs are mostly a reflection of what was happening in my life within that time frame,” Davidson tells Atwood Magazine. “The last song I wrote for it was about my father’s death, which had happened recently. In a strange way it anchors the album, giving extra weight and lightness to everything else that seemed at once meaningless and overflowing with significance. In simplest terms, I think it’s an album about life; a confrontation of the ideal in your mind and the reality outside it.”

He continues, “I see this album as a love letter, a collection of messes that fit neatly within a regular life if there is such a thing. In that sense, I guess these songs serve as a reminder for myself, since I’m forgetful, that all moments are equal in that they pass through us once only in long stretches of boredom or by bursts of love and death. In the meantime, I only hope not to let any more go by unnoticed.”

Slow Leaves © BnB Studios
Slow Leaves © BnB Studios

Meantime arrives two years after Slow Leaves’ fourth album Holiday, itself the follow-up to his ill-fated (but sonically stunning and truly beautiful) April 2020 album, Shelf Life.

“In a way, I feel my earlier songwriting was building up to my album Shelf Life,” he says. “Each album up to that point was an iteration of my trying to say something, maybe the same thing, over and over more accurately. I feel like I achieved something with that album that I’d long sought after. And so the following record, Holiday, was me letting go and just playing lighthearted with music again. With Meantime, life moved forward of course, and I once again felt I had some important things to say, at least to myself.”

Those important things included ruminations in the proverbial “deep end” of the swimming pool. “At the risk of sounding overly grandiose or pretentious, the album as I see it is about life, love, and death,” Davidson says. “I wanted to capture the everything and nothing that separates different moments in life, most of which we spend without notice until some big moment thrusts itself upon us. It’s so easy to sleepwalk through it and then be caught off guard by time’s indifference to our plans. I think what happens in the meantime, when it feels like nothing is happening at all, is the real substance of life.”

Slow Leaves © BnB Studios
Slow Leaves © BnB Studios

That substance immediately takes shape on Meantime‘s opening track and lead single, “American Band,” a gentle giant of soothing indie folk sound reckoning with the realities of being a touring artist.

That lifestyle isn’t as glamorous as we may think it is, and in four beautifully tender minutes, Slow Leaves dispels the myth and the mystery – all while leaving us in a state of pleasant enchantment:

Ooh daydream, ooh save me
Dreaming with eyes wide open
I don’t know where I’m going
I’ll just put my soul in, then tear it wide open
Here’s to the art of hoping
Wish it was you I was holding
I’ll just put my toes in
Will we ever see the ocean?

I wanna see the ocean; tell my baby I’m coming back home instead,” Davidson sings toward his song’s end, pain pouring out of his voice. “I want my own sweet bed.” It’s such a simple ask, but such a tall order given the circumstances. We all want a piece of that American dream, “but without selling out, if you know what I mean.”

“There’s a glittered mythology about being in a band on the road,” Davidson says. “For me, on every tour at some point I feel the weight of an existential pressure to justify why I’m not somewhere else doing something more reasonable. I know reality is always grittier than the dream but like most things worth doing, the allure I suppose is in moments that break you just enough to feel saved.”

Further highlights include the sweet, nostalgia-soaked heartland rocker “Jenny” – easily one of the album’s cinematic, standout moments (and Slow Leaves at his very best) – as well as the harmony-rich “Reason Why,” the charming, sun-kissed (and emotionally exhausted) “Happy All the Time,” the lush, accordion-fueled “Grand Marquis,” and the achingly intimate and vulnerable “Nothing Really Changes,” a brooding, bare-bones country-folk ballad that sends shivers shooting down the spine.

“This is a song about fleeting time and loneliness, about realizing you’re not as strong as you wanted to be and that sometimes you need another set of hands to keep you held together,” Davidson says of the latter, hauntingly beautiful track.

They say nothing really changes
Time just rearranges, oh
I guess this life is just a game
And I’m just realizing it now
I bet, the current underwater
won’t drag me any further down

But just for show, reel me back in slowly
I’m hanging from a thread right now

Davidson’s personal favorite moments are scattered throughout the album. “I like the bass line in the chorus of ‘Happy All the Time,’ the build up at the end of ‘Underneath This,’ the chime-y guitar in the pre-chorus of ‘Jenny’ — there are lots of little moments that I appreciate, mostly stemming from memories of the process of working on them,” he says.

Lyric-wise is another story. “I don’t usually like to point out my favourites because it feels self-congratulatory in ways that make me uncomfortable,” he admits. “But if there’s a line that could summarize what I’m trying to tell myself one way or another in most of my songs, it might be this…”

If you worry about time enough
watch the clock as it catches up
if I fall asleep without dreaming much
isn’t that just like dying?
So say good night, say goodnight
every time you put out the light
and just remember you had it right
when you fell in love

These lines – the last ones sung on Meantime, at the tail end of album closer “Say Goodnight,” truly sum up a record about life, love, and death. With the clock forever ticking, knowing our days here are numbered, what are we going to do to make the most of every moment we’ve got, before it’s too late? It’s a largely rhetorical question, and one meant to be answered not in song, but in our actions.

Slow Leaves © 2023
Slow Leaves © 2023

Perhaps it’s too much to hope that folks will listen to these songs and instantly change how they go about their lives; forgive a dreamer for dreaming, if you must.

“At best, I hope people feel something personal and see pieces of themselves in the songs,” Davidson, for his part, shares. “Otherwise, I just hope they enjoy the melodies and tap a toe.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Slow Leaves’ Meantime with Atwood Magazine as Grant Davidson goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his fifth studio album!

— —

:: stream/purchase Meantime here ::
:: connect with Slow Leaves here ::
Stream: ‘Meantime’ – Slow Leaves

:: Inside Meantime ::

Meantime - Slow Leaves

— —

American Band

There’s something about being on tour in a van with smelly, depressed musicians, barely making enough money to justify doing it and wondering why you’re not at home with your wife and kid, living a more traditional life with stable income and a retirement plan. I still think about these things daily.

Reason Why

I had some element of the Velvet Underground’s “I Found a Reason” in my mind. Of course this song became something of its own. The nonsense lyric that ends the choruses just came along and felt good to sing so I kept them from the original recording of the demo.

Happy All The Time

I think we all know someone who at least seems happy all the time, cheerful and positive. I think the world needs those people, but I personally find it exhausting so I’ve settled on more of a present-as-I-feel approach to my relationships. Of course, if you get two people like this with negative thought leanings together, it can create a pretty toxic environment. I guess that’s what this song is about.

Nothing Really Changes

I realized I’d been moping around the house for a few too many days and was starting to see clearly enough it was affecting my family in the predicable ways. I got tired of being the gloomy guy and went down into my basement studio to see if I could make sense of it. The guitar part and some of the lyrics started coming right away. It was one of those songs that asserted itself upon me and I’m grateful it did. It was the beginning of breaking out of a destructive state of mind.

Grand Marquis

My wife’s mom used to have a Grand Marquis. When we first got together, I remember many summer nights driving with the windows down. In one sense, this song is a base depiction of making out. In another, it’s a romantic idealization of young love that feels infinite in the freedom of early summer. I recall both these thoughts existing at the same time.


There’s often a gap between our ideals and the outside world. There’s also a disconnect when we learn we invent most of the character we assign to other people. Proust’s “Swan’s Way” is largely about this, and its themes have lingered long in my mind and likely into this song as well.

Goodbye Florida

My dad passed away suddenly while wintering in Florida. I hesitated before writing a song about it because I didn’t want to sensationalize or profit from it in any way. Eventually, I conceded that writing songs is how I best process feelings. I don’t know where else to put it. I sang this once for the recording. Not sure if I’ll sing it again.

Anyone Out There

When I was about ten years old, I went through a period of insomnia. While everyone else slept with their conscious selves somewhere unknown to me, I felt as though I was the only one left in this world. Out my window and down the street I could see a house with its Christmas lights still on. Those lights meant everything to me as the only other sign of conscious life.

Underneath This

I’m often in a struggle with my perception of things. Sometimes I slip into a funk. My wife gets up earlier than me and If I’m awake, I sometimes watch her from the bed and wonder if I’m doing enough to be a good partner, a good father, a good person. Sometimes the answer is yes, other times no. This song came out of a ‘no’ period.

Say Goodnight

This is another song that came fast and with clear intent. Some of my favourite songs are able to simultaneously capture the big things and the small things without losing sight of either. This was my hope in this song. I’m trying to do it in my life as well. Easier said than done.

— —

:: stream/purchase Meantime here ::
:: connect with Slow Leaves here ::

— — — —

Meantime - Slow Leaves

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