SATURDAY
September 28, 2019 | doors at 9:00pm
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Zero Mile presents:
LESLIE STEVENS
Evan Stepp (solo)
  • $12
  • $12
  • ADVANCE
  • DAY OF SHOW
Leslie Stevens
At the center of Leslie Stevens’ music is that
notoriously
heart
-
catching voice. She can
belt it out
grandly
when she wants to, but the Los Angeles singer
also
possesses a
distinctively honeye
d tone that imbues
her new album,
S
inner
, with a radiant charisma
that sparks both ebullient love songs an
d
more
intimate ballads
.
Stevens’ voice is so beguiling that
she has
develope
d a thriving sideline
as an
in
-
demand
singer
who has recorded
and toured
with a litany of
disparate musicia
ns, including
Florence + the Machine, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Father John Misty,
Jenny O.,
Joe Walsh, Jackson Browne, Jonny Fritz, and John Fogerty.
Stevens might be a singer’s singer, but it is her
bold
original songwriting that elevates
Sinner
fr
om a merely
dazzling vocal showcas
e into an
artistically
ambitious, poignantly
affecting and
sometimes startling
work.
The new album is released on
LyricLand LLC
and
out on Thirty Tigers/The Orchard
, and Stevens is scheduled to head out on the road
for a s
eries of European festivals in August and September 2019
.
Produced by
Jonathan
Wilson
(Dawes, Roger Wa
ters, Father John Misty)

who
added to the record’
s moody
atmosphere
by playing a variety of instruments (guitars, bass, drums, percussion and even
Mello
tron)

Sinner
is a stirring
statement
of purpose
by the
native Missouri
singer.
Stevens’ two previous full
-
length recordings

Roomful of Smoke
(when she fronted
the
beloved country
-
rock combo
Leslie
Stevens
&
T
he Badgers) and her first solo album,
The D
onkey and the Rose

led
Los Angeles Times
to declare that she is “
one of the
city’s best
” and
L.A. Weekly
to anoint her as Best Country Singer in 2018.
But
Sinner
represents something of a
daring
step forward
for the singer
-
guitarist
.
Although the
album f
eatures such quintessential Steve
ns folk
-
pop
gems as “Sylvie” and
the ethereal
consolation of the
country
-
rock ballad “You Don’t Have to Be So Tough,”
Sinner
also
branches out into
unexpected territory, like
“Teen Bride,” a candied reverie that’s as
close
as Stevens
has ever come to 1950s
-
style
teen
pop
.
“Teen Bride” floats by so airily, with
Stevens’
lulling
voice adorned by beams of
celestial, churchy organ and wisps of jazzy guitar,
tha
t you might not notice that she
has
deftly sketched a tear
-
jerking p
ortrait of a tragic teen pregnancy in just a fe
w loaded
lyrics
(“A God who lied”)
wrapped up
in a 2:32
-
minute pop confection: “Song in her
head/And he stood like a man/With a rose on his chest/She was with child/With a boy at
her breast.”
Even more provoc
ative is “The Tillman Song,” a strangely surreal and passionately
raging anthem about Pat Tillman, the popular
NFL defensive back
who enlisted in the
U.S. A
rmy at the height of his career
only to be killed
in Afghanistan
in a controversial
friendly
-
fire in
cident.
The song transcends right
-
and left
-
wing ideologies as
Stevens
blends a reverential appreciation for Tillman’s service with impressionistic imagery that
sears and gets to the heart of the matter, even as
Jonathan Wilson’s
furious hard
-
rock
guitar s
olos punctuate her
rueful
words: “I chose to stay and be the artist/And you chose