Heather Shayne Blakeslee
Stealing her father's guitar may have been the best decision Heather Shayne Blakeslee ever made. Just two years after plucking the old Yamaha from its purgatory in a hall closet, Blakeslee used the purloined instrument to play her first gig to a packed house at New York City's The Lounge. After three years of performing regularly in New Yorkand periodically in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgiashe's ready to release an album of ten original songs that have roots in folk, blues, country, and jazz.
A native Pennsylvanian who migrated to New York, Blakeslee writes with a blend of urban and rural sensibilities that easily lends itself to comparisons with the Cowboy Junkies or Gillian Welch. Her debut album, Bones, is already garnering positive reviews and widening her fan base beyond New York City. " Blakeslee's music melds contemporary folk rock with darker themes and the smell of Autumn....[she has] created an album that is soft, dark, feminine and mature," says Splendid E-zine. According to John Gomez on WHPC in New York, Blakeslee's songs are "heart-wrenching stories." Whether it's a tale about a Nebraskan farm wife or a lullaby for city-dwellers, her music is pure campfire story-telling.
January 2002 will mark the official release of Blakeslee's record, as well as a string of tour dates in support of the album. The record was produced by Jimi Zhivago, who also produced the Susan McKeown and Chanting House album Bones. Blakeslee's album, recorded at Tin Pan Alley studios in New York City, is a strong first effort from a talented newcomer. In a rare self-referential moment on the album's title track, Blakeslee sings, "I wait for me, a shadow in these trees./Hide and seek, just about to speak." Blakeslee's is an already compelling voice-listen closely as it grows stronger and comes into its own.