|Posted by Bill Leslie on August 27, 2015 at 5:45 PM|
August has been a thrilling month for me. Just two days into the month I became a grandfather for the first time. I was there in Charlottesville when sweet Elizabeth Leslie Wolf was born at Martha Jefferson Hospital. She is beautiful and doing well even though she’s become somewhat of a night owl!
August is also when we wrapped up the new CD. “Across the Water” is a 12 song compilation of mostly original tunes inspired by my travels to Ireland and my rich Irish heritage. A world-class group of musicians play on this album and I believe it is definitely my best piece of work to date. “Across the Water” will be formally released on Sunday, October 4 in Raleigh at Quail Ridge Books and Music on Wade Avenue at 4:00PM. I have released all of my CDs there because of my love for the independent bookseller. My parents ran a book store in Morganton, NC. That’s where I learned retail trade, picture framing and the art of sweeping floors as a youngster!
Please join me in Raleigh for a mini concert and CD signing at Quail Ridge on October 4, again at 4:00PM.. Irish refreshments will be served as well as some spectacular music videos from the Emerald Isle. The location for the CD release party is 3522 Wade Avenue in Raleigh, NC.
|Posted by Bill Leslie on July 17, 2015 at 11:15 AM|
How many different shades of blue and green can you dream up? If you are looking for lots of options head to the Canadian Rockies.
During a recent trip, I saw lakes ranging in color from milky turquoise to vibrant emerald. People look at my photographs and say, “That can’t be real,” but it is. The hue of a lake in the Rockies can change with the position of the sun, and as you hike higher and look down on the water with a wider view. These incredible colors are the result of glacial activity.
Glaciers grind against each other creating rock flour. These fine-grained particles of rock flow into the lakes and filter out all colors of the spectrum except dynamic turquoise and vivid blues. Other colors seep into the picture depending on the size of the rock particles, adding a lovely hue of green that would make the Wizard of Oz jealous.
I was prepared to fall in love with Lake Louise in Banff National Park—I did. But Moraine Lake, a smaller body of water just a few miles away, really stole my heart. Moraine didn’t have quite as many tourists, and it is probably the most beautiful lake I have ever seen. I followed a trail that took me up a pile of sharp rocks and found the perfect vantage point. What an incredible view!
Later my wife, Cindy, and I canoed the waters of Moraine. We were silent for most of the trip around the lake. The beauty not only took our breath away, but it also took our tongues away. We paddled quietly in reverence of the beauty surrounding us.
Emerald Lake up the road in Yoho National Park also offered gorgeous views.
Peyto Lake was our next stop, and despite threatening skies we managed to get a nice view of this stunning glacier-fed lake near the Icefields Parkway. Banff eventually dissolves into Jasper National Park, full of wildlife and more magnificent scenery. We took a boat trip deep into the wilds of Jasper and Maligne Lake and savored the iconic view from Spirit Island.
I felt a little guilty when it started to snow during one hike. Back home in North Carolina folks were roasting in triple digit heat. But before long on a strenuous trail straight up a mountain, I was sweating too!
|Posted by Bill Leslie on April 27, 2015 at 6:50 PM|
It seems like I’ve been locked in the studio for days. Lots of wonderful things have been happening. My new album is coming together nicely. Across the Water has an Irish-theme. There is a warm yet haunting spiritual quality to this album. I hope the music will touch a deep part of your soul.
The tunes are full of harmony. Lots of strings and interesting melodies and textures underneath those melodies. Much work remains. I’ve completed arrangements for eight of the twelve tunes. A second round of studio will commence in a few weeks. The basics for guitar, piano and Celtic whistle have been completed. Violin, cello, oboe will be next. Then we will layer in some more piano, accordion contrabass and orchestra. Everything should be wrapped up and ready for replication in middle July. We are looking at a release date of early October with Ed Bonk once again handling radio promotions.
I’ve thought about a lot of different names for the album. Emerald Journey sounded nice. I also liked Irish Blessing for a new song by that name. However, I have landed on Across the Water as my favorite. During a trip to Ireland I was struck by many beautiful places just up ahead “across the water.” This album also offers me a chance to explore my family’s own Irish heritage.
I’ll be talking more about “Across the Water” in coming days and weeks.
|Posted by Bill Leslie on January 17, 2015 at 6:40 PM|
I am deeply honored to be chosen to sing the National Anthem at the US Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, NC on Saturday, January 24 at 2:30P.M. Earlier I will be in concert at the Greensboro Coliseum from 12:30PM to 1:30PM on the FanFest stage. The 2:30PM event will be national televised.
Also this month we are hard at work on my new album. It will be coming out in the fall. The theme is Ireland and a trip I had there last summer. A sweet batch of new melodies has emerged from that wonderful two-week trip.
It’s great to be going Barefoot in January. Bill Leslie & Lorica has signed with veteran booking agent Stephen Barefoot of Durham, NC. Stephen has vast connections with performing arts centers throughout the United States. If you would like us to come play in your area please contact Stephen at http://www.goingbarefoot.com and we will set something up.
It’s a busy year with my job still going strong at WRAL Television in Raleigh where I work as a news anchor and reporter. Plus, I am doing some recording for other artists including Anne Trenning and Andrea Osborne.
|Posted by Bill Leslie on August 18, 2014 at 8:50 AM|
It is one of the most beautiful mountain settings in America. Blowing Rock in western North Carolina is hosting the 5th International Mitford Homecoming on Saturday and Sunday, September 13 and 14th. The event is a celebration of author Jan Karon and her best selling book series inspired by Blowing Rock. I am delighted to be a part of this year's event. I'll be performing Saturday night at T
he Meadowbook Inn in Blowing Rock. Here is a link for tickets to the event:
It began with a Christmas gift from my sister Stephanie: a boxed set of Jan Karon books. I immediately fell in love with Jan's writing about Mitford. The mythical mountain village reminded me of Morganton where I grew up. The stories triggered memories of the beautiful Episcopal Church that served as the center of my family's life in Western North Carolina. A few years later I met Jan during a live broadcast interview on WRAL Television in Raleigh. Everyone in our studio was impressed by her warmth, wit, grace and elegance. As Jan was leaving WRAL I slipped her a copy of my CD "Peaceful Journey." A few years later Jan called me and asked if she could play my music on her web site because it seemed like a good fit. I was thrilled! This association helped me greatly by putting me in touch with Jan's legend of loyal fans. A few years ago I put together a special Christmas album honoring Jan Karon. It's called "A Midnight Clear - Christmas in Mitford."
Join us in September as we celebrate an early taste of autumn in Mitford. I will have all of my CDs on sale for the event plus my book Blue Ridge Reunion.
|Posted by Bill Leslie on August 7, 2014 at 7:25 AM|
2014 has been a big year. Thank you for helping to make it that way.
May 17th was a huge day. That’s when “Scotland: Grace of the Wild” was named World Radio Album of the Year. Musical legend Will Ackerman, founder of Windham Hill Records, presented the award at the annual Zone Music Reporter concert and conference in New Orleans. The award was determined by voting from radio music hosts worldwide. It was a wonderful affirmation of the incredible team effort that came into play on the project. If you haven’t yet listened to this album please do so. It is clearly our best effort to date.
June brought a trip to Ireland and some more Celtic inspiration. I hooked up with renowned flautist and former Nightnoise member Brian Dunning and his wife Fiona, a brilliant artist, in Dublin. We had a terrific day together! I used to follow Brian and Nightnoise regularly on their US tours in the 1980’s and 90’s. My next album will have an Irish theme and Brian has agreed to be a part of the project. Look for a 2015 release of the new album late in the year.
Another big development is a new booking agent for Bill Leslie & Lorica. Stephen Barefoot of Durham, NC is one of the most respected and well-connected agents in the US. We are absolutely delighted to have Stephen and goingbarefoot inc. in our corner. Stephen will soon have our new profile listed on his web site at www.goingbarefoot.com
As we gain one Stephen we lose another. Stephen Levitin is stepping down as our percussionist. However, we may talk him into performing with us periodically! Stephen is one of the most talented drummers I have ever known and international travels related to his Beat Making Labs have forced him cut back on concert performances in the US. Beverly Botsford of Durham as agreed to take over percussion chores and we couldn’t be happier. Beverly has toured extensively with jazz great Nnenna Freelon.
Fall concerts on the calendar include a Bill Leslie and Lorica stop in Washington, NC at the stunning Turnage Theatre on Saturday evening, September 6. The following Saturday, September 13, I will do a solo evening concert at the Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock, NC as part of author Jan Karon’s Mitford Reunion. It promises to be a magical weekend in the NC mountains. I hope you will join us both in Washington, NC along the Pamlico River and in the High Country at Blowing Rock.
|Posted by Bill Leslie on June 11, 2014 at 4:35 PM|
If the Wake Forest News calls and says it wants to do a story on you - be prepared for the bizarre!
Moments before the Bill Leslie & Lorica concert on Sunday in Wake Forest reporter Steve Rhode stopped by our dressing room to say "hello." I asked him if he needed a juicy quote and he said "no, my write-up will be colorful enough." How true!
I've never had a funnier press clipping than the one you are about to read:
|Posted by Bill Leslie on May 19, 2014 at 11:10 AM|
It was a WONDERFUL weekend in New Orleans at the Joy Theatre in the French Quarter. My latest album "Scotland: Grace of the Wild" won the top award presented annually by ZoneMusicReporter which tracks radio airplay of mostly instrumental New Age, jazz, World and Celtic music in the US and nearly 20 other countries.
It is my sixth ZMR award dating back to Best New Artist in 2005 but my first ALBUM OF THE YEAR award and to say the least, I am thrilled, humbled and honored. The presenter was none other than the godfather of New Age Music - Will Ackerman who founded Windham Hill Records and who continues to be a major force in the genre as a producer and owner of Windham Hill Studios in Vermont.
My album was among five finalists and it was number one on the ZMR charts in October and November of last year. I feel particularly good about this award because the competition included some heavyweights.
So many people played major roles in this honor. My lovely wife Cindy and family were very supportive. Radio promotions legend Ed Bonk and his daughter Stacey Bonk were invaluable. Bill Covington and John Plymale co-produced the album with me and they were spectacular. After Plymale's mix the incomparable Greg Calbi mastered the tracks at Sterling Sound in New York. Covington also played on the album along with violinist Jennifer Curtis, Cellists Nancy Green and David Oh, oboist Melanie Wilsden and percussionist Will Leslie. The musicianship was top shelf on each track. Chris Groegler kept my studio in top notch shape on the technical side. Wes Lachot added a crucial pair of ears to the project. Rick Flickinger's transcription work made everything go smoothly.
|Posted by Bill Leslie on April 6, 2014 at 9:30 AM|
The Carolinas are blessed with abundant beauty. As a photographer my favorite regions are the mountains and the coast. Over the last week I have been on vacation and enjoyed the best of both worlds.
Cindy and I spent a long weekend at our cottage near Roaring Gap, NC. It was a blustery but beautiful weekend with chaotic cloud formations. The blazing fire in our wood stove kept us warm as we looked out from a big picture window onto the valley below.
Later we hopped in our car and drove to the South Carolina coast where we soaked up a week of sunshine. Sunrises and sunsets here were majestic with just enough mist, fog and cloud cover to make things interesting. I hope you enjoy this four by four photo collection from the coast and the mountains.
|Posted by Bill Leslie on February 9, 2014 at 11:25 AM|
Scotland - Grace of the Wild by Bill Leslie has received three top music nominations. Zone Music Reporter, based in New Orleans, has announced that Leslie's latest album has been nominated by international radio hosts for:
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
BEST CONTEMPORARY INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM
BEST WORLD ALBUM
Each category has five nominees. The winners will be announced on May 17th during the 10th annual ZMR concert and awards program in New Orleans.