Long Beard is the performing moniker employed by singer-songwriter Leslie Bear, whose 2015 debut album, Sleepwalker, stirred up admiring interest from music fans inclined towards the wistful. Recently relocated from Canada to her native New Jersey, bear acknowledges her songwriting was impacted by the flood of mixed emotions that invariably come with moving home. “Sweetheart,” the lead single from her forthcoming sophomore full-length, Means to Me, wears that melancholic nostalgia like gown so lovely it catches the light, even as it fades during sunset.
“Sweetheart” musically resembles Kurt Vile, in the laid-back mode of “Wakin’ on a Pretty Day,” chiming guitar providing a casual invitation and the drums strolling to just keep pace. Bear’s vocals are warm and precise, moving with the fluidity of Harriet Wheeler of the Sundays. She sings of a love from a distant past, musing over what emotional overlap might exist while primarily asserting the changes she’s experienced, the growth that sets her apart from that person she once was. The track is emotionally open and deeply evocative, tapping into the hidden, secretive spaces that practically every carries in their healed hearts.