The Rocks Off 100: Miss Leslie, Queen of the Honky-Tonks
Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too.
Who? Miss Leslie if you're country, Leslie Anne Sloane has played fiddle/violin in both the classical and country/bluegrass styles since age 5. In 2004, she started Miss Leslie and Her Juke-Jointers, which can usually be found once or twice a month at finer roadhouses and honky-tonks in the greater Houston area.
Photos courtesy of Leslie Sloane
"We initially started out as a 1950s country cover band, but we found a pedal steel guitar player instead of non-pedal steel, so we went more in the 1960s vein," she says. "We did a lot of obscure covers -- George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, Ray Price, Faron Young, Lefty Frizzell, etc."
Leslie began writing her own originals in 2006, and released Between the Whiskey and the Wine in 2008. Wrong Is What I Do Best followed in 2010, and two of her originals were chosen for the soundtrack of Richard Linklater's 2012 East Texas crime comedy Bernie, co-starring Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and Shirley MacLaine. She says she's about halfway done writing her next album, and that several of the new songs pull in some jazz influences.
Home Base: "I play twice a month at a cool little dive in Spring called the Track Shack, called that because it's located about 500 feet from the railroad tracks. The Wednesday show is primarily a cover western swing band show. The Sunday show is an acoustic show with a mix of covers and originals. Both shows tend to turn into musician jams, since pickers in the area like to hang there."
She also plays Blanco's every month or two, and enjoys being in the audience, listing Troubador Tuesdays at Natachee's, Wednesdays at Under the Volcano, McGonigel's Mucky Duck (where she plays tonight), and Dosey Doe in The Woodlands as some of her favorite places to catch a show. "If it's a good artist, I'll go anywhere," Leslie vows.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? Besides her extended family ("a huge support system"), Leslie says she stays put because she equates moving to Austin or Nashville with "climbing the corporate musical ladder.
"The reality is that it doesn't mean anything," she says. "Both cities are filled with artists that play only a handful of shows a year and haven't recorded half the songs that I have. I have to admit that I have a slight chip on my shoulder - I LIKE being an artist from Houston and NOT from Austin. I need to order one of those 'I'm Not Moving to Austin' T-shirts like Craig Kinsey wears every once in awhile."