Written by Eddie Ferranti
ImageMany times in my busy musical life, I get something shot at me out of the blue. One of those instances was at a recent Mike Stinson gig where a young lady approached me after his show, shoved a CD in my hand and asked me to come cover her CD release show.

That CD was “On.Ward” and the artist in question was Leslie Krafka. I gave the CD multiple listens and decided to bring Rose, her niece and her husband from Denver to catch the show. I was very surprised to see a four piece band set up in the intimate confines of the famous Anderson Fair. It’s rare to see that at this rustic listening room and it came off very well indeed.

The first half of the set was devoted to the new release and it rocked pleasantly harder than the actual recording itself. Don’t get me wrong- the Lloyd Maines and Terri Hendrix produced album has plenty of moxie to it and the inner sleeve shows the quality musicians she got to make it so. Besides Maines playing a ton of instruments and Hendrix backing vocals, the likes of David Spencer and Jack Saunders jumped out at me.

The band consisted of Jimmy Pettit on bass, who has played with Joe Ely among others, Pat Manske of Flatlanders pedigree and stand out lead electric guitar work by Kevin McKinney. “Magdalena” kicked it off which is also the first cut on the record. Krafka told me after the gig that they had only been together for three rehearsal days and she seemed to show nervousness early on being surrounded by such a nice collection of dudes.

Once the jitters wore off though and they let McKinney loose, the gig took on a whole happy go lucky feel. “Wine, Woman and Song”, “Stay With Me” where she reminded me of Trish Murphy and my personal fave, “Whiskey High” amped up the energy level and then some. Krafka’s delivery is very straight forward and lyrics are refreshing like on the consistent beat “I Want Love”.

ImageThe elongated jams on “South Texas Fall”, only cover tune Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Dead Poet’s Dream” done from a woman’s view, “Jewel”, and super “Freedom Train” really saw the band bonding more together and rocking.

LK came out strong after the break with her tune “Wandering Troubadour” off her 2011 debut ‘White Cat Sessions’ that won her song of the year by Houston Songwroter’s Association. The foursome did a greasy good rendition of classic “Angel of Montgomery” and followed it with an inspired by Tom Petty cut called “Can’t Let Go”. She also displayed a nice sense of humor when she said she normally has hair like “Harpo Marx” and was surprised it was so straight still. Classic.

All in all I was quite pleased that I had been “blind sided” by this performer and look forward to following her progression down the musical road of life…That’s all I got and go get you some live music soon folks!