Surfin' the Swamp
Jimmy Leslie is a San Francisco singer, guitar player, and writer inspired by classic rock and New Orleans funk. Moving melodies and greasy grooves-the sea and the swamp-converge through unique compositions. The single, "Sweetwater Sun" is an excellent example. Vintage Guitar magazine says, 'Few pop/rock tunes are as good/catchy.' Through his work with Guitar Player magazine, Jimmy met Carlos Santana. He inspired the song, which transports the listener to the Golden Gate via a radiant vocal and a reverb-drenched guitar bed. But the rhythm is brought up from the bayou. Galactic's funky drummer Stanton Moore and bassist Robert Mercurio provide the pocket that propel Leslie's West Coast inspirations. "When I hired them for a session, I realized it was easier and more fun to suit my songs to their grooves than the other way around," Leslie says. "So I groomed a group of tunes, and went to Galactic's studio in New Orleans to record a marathon rhythm section session. I cut more guitar and vocals back in my home studio near the beach." Leslie's songwriting is covers a range of emotions. Up tunes such as "Sweetwater Sun" and "In My Shell" are balanced the brooding "Southern Line" and the melancholy "Sidewalk Diamonds." The funk epic "Wash it Out" is featured on Fortune Cookies II, a compilation of the Bay Area's best. The San Francisco scene benefited from an unexpected influx of seasoned musicians when Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans. Jimmy began jamming with a group called the Honey Island Swamp Band. Leslie's live ensemble developed out of that connection, and has since expanded to include a stable of top-notch players from the Bay to the Bayou. In addition to other venues, Jimmy performs regularly across the street from fabled Fillmore auditorium at John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom Room, which Leslie calls "A portal between the New Orleans and San Francisco music scenes." Jimmy actually grew up in Toledo, Ohio, which lies less than an hour south of Detroit. He fell in love with New Orleans when he saw the Funky Meters perform there in 1996, and moved to San Francisco in 1998 to pursue a gig opportunity. "I left my heart in New Orleans, and found my soul in San Francisco," he says. "They are the two most unique cities in America, which I appreciate to the utmost having been raised in a strip mall town. My goal is to build a musical bridge that can be appreciated by people everywhere." 'Jimmy Leslie drops a funk and pop mix that's all his own.' - Pacific Sun.
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