My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Daily Archives: January 20, 2009

Country Music Isn’t Dead: An Interview With Miss Leslie

missleslie21Leslie Sloan aka Miss Leslie has been playing country music for over 20 years. Last year, she released her first album of all original material – and all of it self-written. When I interviewed her, I found a woman who truly loves traditional country and has made it her goal to get that music out to as many people as possible.  Here, she tells us that country music isn’t dead – you just have to seek it out. Miss Leslie’s kind of country is a wonderful meld of cheating, drinking, and heartbreak songs, all performed with heavy doses of twin fiddles and steel guitar.  And she points us in the direction of several artists who are recording her kind of country, so we too can hear the moan of the steel and the cry of fiddle.

I’m fascinated that your introduction to music was through classical music and violin lessons. Your bio says you studied classical and bluegrass at the same time. At what point did you change directions toward the hard honky tonk of your music today?

I think that the 1980s turned my head towards country.  I fell head over heels in love with Ricky Skaggs’ country stuff.  I already loved his bluegrass albums with Ralph Stanley and Tony Rice.  But I fell in love with country when Ricky Skaggs went in that direction.  I was especially in love with Bobby Hicks’ fiddle playing.  He was … is amazing.  And that love affair just continued on – through George Strait and Randy Travis and the early Reba stuff.  And all of that led me back to classic country – which is where I had to stay when the 90s came along and the traditional movement went “Gone With the Wind” with Shania and the rock-n-roll country movement.

You hit the Texas honky tonk scene at 14 in a family group with your parents and brother and sister. What was that like?

I loved being onstage but I think that I didn’t fully appreciate everything.  I wanted to be a typical teenager and have weekends with friends but looking back, I’m glad I had the experience. I am one of the few people that can say that I shared my music onstage with my family.  And we still do today. That’s pretty cool.

And what would you say is the most valuable lesson you learned from that time?

At the time, I thought that music was about practicing and playing the “right notes” and having good technique.  Looking back, I now know that music is something that comes from a more genuine place inside – it is a way of expression.  People always tell me that they wish their parents would have made them play an instrument. I strongly disagree. Music should come from inside of you. If it doesn’t and you don’t have a pull towards it, then it means you’re supposed to be pulled towards something else.

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