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MP3 Jennifer Leonhardt - Minstrel's Daughter

A gentle but gritty referendum on love and survival recorded at the kitchen table with friends

10 MP3 Songs in this album (42:26) !
Related styles: FOLK: Folk Blues, COUNTRY: Alt-Country

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Details:
Asked to open for a friend''s band after he heard her sing some of her own material, Jennifer agreed to put her original compositions to the test in performance at the historic Lingerie Club in Los Angeles in 2004. Five years later, she''s still performing them. Trained on classical violin since the age of seven, she spent years performing standards in blues bars and jazz clubs in Philadelphia and New York developing a free form style all her own. Touring her own spin on alt country, antique moody atmospherics and blues powered folk-y pop rock with her band has gotten her songs included on compilations with folks like John Hiatt, Bobby Bare and Johnny Cash, and on stage and festival bills with fellow Americana artists Kevin Gordon, Mark Curry, Doug Burr, Caroline Aiken, Gram Rabbit, Marc Broussard, Los Lonely Boys, Billy Harvey, Green Mountain Grass, and Tom Freund.

Being born into a musical family out of Ft Worth, TX, home to native sons Townes van Zandt and T Bone Burnett (a band mate of one of her uncles back in the ''60s) helped develop her flexible approach to interpretation. Not allowed to listen to recorded music until her late teens, she spent long hours teaching herself piano and guitar after school and eventually listening in secret to Thelonious Monk on the radio in her room late at night. Composing and taking part in living room jams --harmonizing to Appalachian melodies or keeping time with old-time spirituals-- gave her a broad musical vocabulary, and became the groundwork she needed for keeping in line with her own vision: "Music brings people home to themselves."

Releasing five albums in as many years (not including the compilations) has apparently been a necessity for a songwriter compulsively writing songs for survival. The soul kind. Her first recording was a 5-song EP Homeless (2004) recorded with just her singing and an acoustic guitar accompaniment; Hard Times Two LIVE (2005) was taken off the soundboard at a live show. In the fall of 2005, just after performing at a roots festival in pre-Katrina New Orleans, she began work on Gods & Nations (2007) in New York City which would only be completed a year later on the other side of the country. Compelled by stories of survivors of the hurricane and her own recent visit there with friends, she wrote the album in a month and enlisted noted blues guitarist and producer Marc Copely (James Montgomery, Tracy Bonham, Jess Klein) who helped her lay down the first three tracks, including the haunting "Homeland", named one of the "Top 20 Americana songs of 2008" (KRVM Eugene, OR). Marc''s signature guitar work helped to define the sound for the rest of the record, a punch of driving folk/blues later completed by another guitarist/producer Matt Brown (Lucinda Williams, Bill Frissell, Trespassers William) in Seattle the following summer, adding more lush modern dream pop layers. Water St (2007), a collection of alt country songs, is still unreleased; the compilations promoted singles on ShutEye Record''s United State of Americana Vol 4 (2006), A Taste of Triple A and samplers from Pop Culture Press and Texas Music Magazine.

This year she completed Minstrel''s Daughter (2009) and dedicated the album to her parent''s influence. Recorded at the kitchen table in her east side Austin home with band members and musician friends and co-produced with guitarist/producer Jeff Rady with whom she co-wrote one of the tracks, they went for a stripped-down, homemade concoction of sounds compared to the much more produced Gods & Nations. It''s a gentle but gritty referendum on love and survival by an artist clearly thinking for herself.

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