"The Soulgrass Songstress"
Miss Leo is a soulgrass songstress with a fresh West Coast take on a timeless genre. A lifelong California native, her songs are inspired by the natural treasures of her homeland intertwined with authentic melodies of decades past. Her effortless ability to channel poetry through her spell-binding voice into song is a force to be reckoned with while her distinct guitar playing deserves a nod of its own, complete with old-timey licks and unwavering rhythm. Currently residing by the ocean on the foggy Central Coast, Miss Leo seeks to carry on American music traditions with her soul-tickling vocals and a modern twang. Most often you’ll find her leading a folk trio (“Miss Leo Trio”) at live performances; her best buds on upright bass and fiddle by her side.
Travel back in time to simpler days and indulge your senses in the gift to your ears known as Miss Leo. Outside, birds sing and the ocean breeze kisses your face as wildflowers dance over the rolling California coastal hills to the sounds of stringed instruments and a voice so alluring you’ll wonder how you never heard it before. Miss Leo makes music of the heart and she is here to undo all the excess of the modern era to give your ears a respite from the unnecessary noise and chatter of our tech-infused lives. Singing and writing songs with the essence of decades past, she seeks to carry on the American musical tradition with unmatched vocals, emotive songwriting, and a retro vibe. Going against the grain of modern industry pressures and expectations, she simply seeks to share her voice with an authentically raw, stripped-down and classic sound. In the past she led a full 5-piece bluegrass band known as Miss Leo & Her Bluegrass Boys, but she has since simplified her backing band to just two: upright bass (Scott Conroy) and fiddle (Scott Marlin). The Miss Leo Trio spotlights tight three part harmonies with Miss Leo leading on acoustic guitar and unforgettable vocals.
Miss Leo’s debut album is expected to be released in fall 2021. It features the trio on all songs as well as occasional guest instrumentalists on mandolin, pedal steel, and banjo. The songs range from classic bluegrass tracks to nostalgic folk ballads featuring soulful crooning and a psychedelic country flair tastefully entwined throughout. The album was recorded live with the Miss Leo Trio over the course of 4 days at the quaint Hill Studio in the rolling country hills of the California Central Coast. She opted for this setup and location with the intention of maintaining the old school simplicity and authentic country feel to match her songs.
But most importantly-- her voice. Difficult to describe in words, Miss Leo possesses one of the great female voices of our time just waiting to be heard. Likened to June Carter, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, or newer artists like Sierra Ferrell and Sarah Jarosz, her voice is a combination of these powerful influences and then some. She is an absolute must-listen for any music enthusiast with an ear for great vocals and songwriting. Velvety smooth with incredible range and control, she sings with distinct melisma and purity, perfectly suited to the folk songs that lives in her heart. Her natural clarity and country-esque tone is heard in her soulful chest voice that switches to an angelic falsetto and chilling vibrato with ease. Her crisp, clear voice has an uncanny ability to express a range of feelings and is known to frequently bring listeners to tears. It is difficult to classify her songwriting as either bluegrass, folk, or country but rather a touching mixture of these traditional genres with a touch of modern soul.
Miss Leo has been making music her entire life. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area meant she had access to great concerts and musical experiences starting at a very young age. Although her parents are neither musicians nor artists, her father was a passionate DeadHead who raised her to be well-versed on good music. At age 5, she begged her mother for piano lessons and that is where the journey began. She began writing songs on guitar in her early teens and played her first shows while still in high school. Upon moving to San Luis Obispo County, she formed Miss Leo & Her Bluegrass Boys and has since opened for popular acts like Billy Strings, The Coffis Brothers, and Windy Hill String Band. Frustrated with the limitations of the traditional bluegrass genre, more recently she has focused on developing her solo act and completing her folk album with the Miss Leo Trio.