"Perhaps Pittsburgh's proximity to Appalachia explains the burr and sob in Smith's soaring soprano, as well as the lonesome, wild streak in her vivid, precision-lathed lyrics."
(Peter B. King, Billboard Magazine)
Leslie Smith's voice evokes the mountain essence of bitter winds and rolling, rugged terrain, but her writing unfolds into an urban sensibility. Her songs reveal an unusual yet grounded comprehension of the lives we lead, and through them she leads us to ourselves. Leslie Smith has the rare ability to captivate us, to move us, and then render us repeatedly amazed at the depth of feeling that resonates within.
With the recent Waterbug Records release of her CD debut, These Things Wrapped, Leslie Smith is intriguing audiences from Austin to Boston, Nashville to New York. Recorded with Boston-based producer Darleen Wilson (Catie Curtis, Patty Larkin, Bill Morrissey), the intricate artistry of Smith's writing and performance are matched by the subtle, assured power of Wilson's production.
Sonically gorgeous, These Things Wrapped boasts a palette of musicians that includes, among others, harmony vocals from Austin-based singer-songwriters, Betty Elders and Michael Fracasso, guitar work from Duke Levine (The Story, Mary-Chapin Carpenter), fiddle from Johnny Cunningham (Nightnoise, Silly Wizard), and drums and percussion from Ben Wittman (The Story, Don Byron).
"This is pure and simple, one of the strongest debuts by a singer-songwriter you are likely to come across. All the elements are there: a strong and clear voice, excellent and appropriate instrumental work, and most importantly, and most rare, one powerful and provocative song after another...I find this album absolutely transfixing." (Bob McWilliams, KANU)
"Her imagery is convincing, her authenticity complete." (Detroit Metro Times)
"It's a total winner" (Lydia Hutchinson, Performing Songwriter)
Smith discovered the joyful solace of locking herself in her room with pen, paper and guitar at the age of twelve. Throughout childhood, however, her central creative expression was Dance. Of her dancing, Smith says "I was flying and speaking a beautiful, secret language". Smith's early retirement from the dance world at the age of 24, shifted her imagination toward a still beautiful, no longer secret, language of her songwriting.
Breaking away from the confines of small town, PA, Smith moved to New York City where she began to perform with a progressive bluegrass band. Although she managed to fuse some of her own material into their arrangements, the context was ultimately limiting. Two years later she pawned her birthstone ring for a bus ride home.
As a solo performer, Leslie Smith has come into her own. "The purity and intensity of Smith's stage performances complement the often-subtle storytelling." (Adrian McCoy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 5/11/95) She has shared the stage with numerous national acts, including Warren Zevon, Tim & Mollie O'Brien, Lucinda Williams and Beausoleil. She has graced the airwaves of National Public Radio's Mountain Stage whose host Larry Groce puts her in the company of Iris Dement, Emmylou Harris, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Lucinda Williams and Nanci Griffith.
Smith's small but devoted following is about to expand. She is a singer you need to hear, a writer you won't forget.
copyright © 1996 Harmony Ridge Music, San Carlos, CA, USA
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