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Miss Leo releases her debut album, All I Need, at Morro Bay's Libertine Pub on Oct. 29 

The first time I heard Miss Leo, she was still performing as Miss Leo & Her Bluegrass Boys, and it was immediately clear hers was a voice for the ages. It's simply one of those classic female country voices—crystal clear, soulful, and timeless. Lately, she's been performing as The Miss Leo Trio, honing her solo material, and this Friday, Oct. 29, Miss Leo will present All I Need, her debut album, with a release party at The Libertine Pub in Morro Bay (7 to 10 p.m.; free). Nydia Gonzalez and Chris Beland will each play a short opening set.

click to enlarge DEBUT RECORD RELEASE Americana artist Miss Leo and her band play Morro Bay's Libertine Pub on Oct. 29, an album release for All I Need. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MISS LEO
  • Photo Courtesy Of Miss Leo
  • DEBUT RECORD RELEASE Americana artist Miss Leo and her band play Morro Bay's Libertine Pub on Oct. 29, an album release for All I Need.

All I Need is a wonder! Its 13 songs embrace the Americana, folk, and bluegrass genres—both paying homage and adding Miss Leo's unique twist. The new album opens with "Desert Queen," about a couple of desperado lovers who shot a man and dumped his body in the Mojave Desert. It's a classic narrative murder song—a staple of folk music.

The song took home first place in the Country/Americana/Folk genre in this year's New Times Music Awards, landing Miss Leo on the upcoming NTMA showcase show on Friday, Nov. 12, at SLO Brew Rock, where she'll compete against the four genre winners—The Tipsy Gypsies, Lulu & The Cow Tippers, Rogue Status, and Louie & Talia Ortega—for Best Live Performance.

Her album's title track, "All I Need," is a deeply emotive love song about two people ready to support each other through tough times: "All I need is for you to believe in me. Hard times got me down, hard times all around. Hey, hey, hey, you're the reason I stay. Though I can't find my way, feeling lowdown every day."

The song's swirling fiddle work crosses a sonic bridge to the second verse where the protagonist sings, "Life's got you down; I'll pick you back up. Hard times ahead, let me fill your cup. Hey, hey when it gets hard to see through the fog in the streets, I'll be the light shining through. I'll be the one who cares for you, for you'll be there for me too."

Miss Leo understands the genre and makes good use of its classic tropes as well as Americana listeners' expectations. It's the kind of album that's immediately accessible but that you can listen to again and again as you more deeply explore the lyrics.

My personal favorite is "Belong," on which she sings, "Though I've lived a peaceful life, I've seen the hurt and pain that people endure. I've seen the devil knocking at my door. I've seen mountains in the rain and I've cried upon the valley floor. This wildflower heart needs nothing more. Then I'll be right where I belong." It's a song about learning to be at peace with yourself, having the inner strength to weather life's storms, and trusting you'll land right where you belong.

Recorded live over the course of four days at Eric Patterson's (The Turkey Buzzards) home studio in Adelaida, the album has an immediacy, a rootsy and emotionally potent vibe, with a lot of exceptional musicianship—guitar, double bass, fiddle, and more. Miss Leo has most certainly arrived.

Rastamon gives back

Eight-time Grammy Award-winning musician Stephen Marley plays the Vina Robles Amphitheatre this Friday, Oct. 29 (8 p.m.; all ages; $39.50 to $49.50 plus fees at vinaroblesamphitheatre.com). Stephen will perform "a mixture of his own hits covering his illustrious 40-plus-year career and revitalizing some of his father, Bob Marley's, iconic catalog," according to press materials.

click to enlarge MARLEY DOES MARLEY Stephen Marley will draw from his own extensive catalog as well as perform iconic selections by his father, Bob Marley, when he plays the Vina Robles Amphitheatre on Oct. 29. - PHOTO COURTESY OF STEPHEN MARLEY
  • Photo Courtesy Of Stephen Marley
  • MARLEY DOES MARLEY Stephen Marley will draw from his own extensive catalog as well as perform iconic selections by his father, Bob Marley, when he plays the Vina Robles Amphitheatre on Oct. 29.

A buck from each ticket goes to the Ghetto Youths Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Stephen and his brothers Damian and Julian Marley "to provide aid, assistance, resources, and opportunity to communities in need. Today, Trenchtown, Jamaica, is the site of some of the Ghetto Youths Foundation's most exceptional work. This unique and vibrant community is known for producing some of the greatest artists in the world, including Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, and Toots Hibbert, yet 100 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line. The foundation has created an elderly food program, wellness initiatives providing medical care for all ages, and educational endeavors that support young people with tuition, books, backpacks, pencils, and give them access to safe homework centers with computers and technology."

Stephen started singing professionally at age 7 with his elder siblings Ziggy, Sharon, and Cedella as The Melody Makers. More recently, he's made forays into hip-hop and worked with Pit Bull, Dead Prez, Rakim, DJ Khaled, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, Shaggy, Black Thought (of The Roots), and many more. Great music and a great cause!

Beats unique

Beats Antique returns to the Fremont Theater this Saturday, Oct. 30 (9 p.m.; $23 plus fees at fremontslo.com). This is less a concert you go and listen to and more a multi-dimensional sensory event you're experiencing. As their bio explains, "You can't know Beats Antique until you've been a part of its journey and experienced the act as an entity with a life of its own. A stage show that demands more music; music that needs costumes, ships, and masks, and shadow dances; an audience that comes for art and takes away stories to feed their imagination."

click to enlarge IMMERSE YOURSELF A multimedia experience awaits when Beats Antique plays the Fremont Theater on Oct. 30. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BEATS ANTIQUE
  • Photo Courtesy Of Beats Antique
  • IMMERSE YOURSELF A multimedia experience awaits when Beats Antique plays the Fremont Theater on Oct. 30.

The ensemble began as a one-off experimental project, but it soon became a family in which various members fulfilled various roles. Its shows are now multimedia events that tell stories that are more felt than understood.

"It's time to explore what is strange through the large culture collider that is their stage," according to press materials. "The world is moving at a frantic pace, and to keep up, there's nowhere to go but deep inside The Grand Bizarre. Open the door of perception and discover an expansive, rusty, nuclear truth—the only way out is into the strange. The only thing weirder than this world is what's happening in your head. What's the difference, you might wonder? As soon as you join this freak show, such confusion won't matter."

Classic rides and classic sounds

If you dig classic British cars and motorcycles and also enjoy some soaring opera and Broadway show tunes, join OperaSLO this Saturday, Oct. 30, for a special event (1 to 4 p.m.; $75 tickets by calling Jayne Cohen at (805) 550-1327) in Paso Robles.

"We're thrilled to present an afternoon of live opera, Broadway, and art songs, at the home of auto and opera enthusiasts Jason and Bonnie Len," organizers said. "We promise you'll have a fantastic time with wines from Vina Robles, bottled water, and tours of the Jason Len Classic Car and Motorcycle Museum."

Meet the "world famous racer and restorer Jason Len and his museum, which features a large collection of posters, artwork, and many classic cars and motorcycles featured in magazines worldwide. The tour includes the restoration shop, featuring a 1953 Jaguar, 1948 MG TC, a very rare 1951 Norton International, and a 1951 Vincent Black Shadow—one of the most valuable and famous classic motorcycles in the world. The main museum features 35-plus vintage motorcycles and classic cars, including a Morgan race car featured on the TV show Jay Leno's Garage, and a vintage racing Jaguar E Type."

Out of an abundance of caution, no food will be served, but organizers assure that all OperaSLO staff and artists have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

More music ...

Rocker Kyle Smith plays the Frog and Peach with his full band this Friday, Oct. 29 (9 p.m.; 21-and-older; $5).

Eclectic cover act Joy Polloi plays with their sextet lineup on Sunday, Oct. 31, at Castoro Cellars (1 to 4 p.m.).

"Our special guests for this show include the fabulous Jen Rund on bass dropping in from Marin Co., and JP Poster Boy Turko Semmes on percussion," the band announced. "The groove doesn't get any better than this!" Δ

Contact Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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