Leslie was born the fourth of five children to a musical family with deep roots in Virginia. Her father was an Air Force colonel who took his family with him to posts as diverse as Turkey and England. Leslie explains that music was a constant source of entertainment for the family. “Grandma was a concert pianist and Dad played the trumpet. We used to sing as a family and I learned to harmonize with my sisters. In out travels, we were exposed to all kinds of music, from the prayer songs of the minarets in Turkey to the rousing beer halls of Germany.”
At age 11, heavily influenced by the folk and popular music of the late ‘60’s, Leslie started playing guitar and singing in local bands. As a teenager, she spent a lot of time hanging around the club scene in Baltimore and Washington with her older brother Al who was just beginning his career as a sound man. She also continued to travel and spent time in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Leslie attended college at Brigham Young University, where she pursued music casually while majoring in Fine Arts with an emphasis in painting and drawing. After college she married, began a career as a mother and homemaker — and took a 14 year hiatus from music.
It was not until 1991, when Leslie returned to the Blue Ridge Mountains as a single parent of four children that she began writing songs and performing again. These songs became the foundation of her debut recording In This Room. The 10 songs on the album stand out by virtue of their unique blend of simplicity and depth of feeling, capturing time, place and hearts with mastery. As fellow songwriter Pierce Pettis put it: “That kind of honesty can’t be made up - it has to be lived.” Produced by Garry West, In This Room includes guest appearances by some of the of the most celebrated names in acoustic music including Jerry Douglas,Tim O’Brien, Mike Marshall, Stuart Duncan and Clive Gregson as well as a cameo vocal appearance by Leslie’s daughter Jessica.
When not performing, Leslie resides in Lexington, Virginia. She continues to study painting, is an instructor for Wilderness Survival programs and enjoys performing at local fund-raisers to benefit area relief and educational organizations.
Edited by Amulek on 9 Feb 2010, 21:31
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