Bellingham birds: Stephen Ray Leslie & The Crooked Mile

This is the seventh installment in our _____-part series profiling artists playing the Birds on a Wire Festival in Pullman March 26-27.Visit http://www.birdsonawirefest.com or http://www.stereopathicmusic.com for tickets and more information.

Stephen Ray Leslie & The Crooked Mile play at 12:00 midnight on Friday, March 26 at the Gladish Auditorium, and 12:00 midnight on Saturday, March 27 at the Bell Tower.

I first came to know Stephen Ray Leslie’s music through his band Chuckanut Drive. That band is well-known in Bellingham and beyond for their beer- and tear-soaked anthems of broken hearts and open roads. In fact, SRL & TCM take their name from CD’s first album, The Crooked Mile Home.

But now SRL has formed a new group while maintaining his sharp ability to cut to the heart with tender and elegant alt-country tunes. According to the band’s Myspace, “[TCM] will lay down the same southern-influenced sounds that define Chuckanut Drive’s sound with a stronger focus on…gritty, broken-hearted ballads”. There you have it. Expect the performance to feature songs by Chuckanut Drive (Leslie is joined by CD’s guitarist Stell Newsome in TCM), but mostly to be an unveiling of new material by a heartfelt, exceptional songwriter.

-Evan

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