"Ordinary" would not be the word to use to describe any bands that specialize in the art of old-time styles, be it hot jazz, ragtime, gypsy or old-school country. However, your humble Austin Music Minute maven is always compelled to point out that The Love Leighs is not your ordinary old-timey band. There's a touch of the contemporary within. As a matter of fact, they would go so far as to call it "new-timey" music embracing the traditional sounds of early roots. They're the perfect combination of old jazz, blues, and plenty of twang with wicked three-part harmonies and a dash of devious drama. You cannot resist. Bring in a little Vaudevillian swagger and keep the humor on the twisted side.

— Laurie Gallardo, KUTX Austin Music Minute

Ukeleles, when properly wielded, are badass. The Love Leighs wield them properly... Good songs are good songs, and that’s exactly what these folks play.

— Sean Valant, Texas Tattoos and Music Reviews

I was instantly captivated with my first listen of The Love Leighs‘ sweet yet seductive album, All Your Talk of Love. The Austin-based trio specializes in classic jazz, blues and twang styles, all delivered with what they describe as “more than a little sass.” And that extra dose of cheek is an absolute necessity for vocalist Raina Leigh Krause when she croons about that alluring little beast called love. Sexy sass is where it’s at.

The trio also has quite an addictive old-timey, Vaudevillian feel, like a combination of the heartache and longing of Billie Holiday but with the dark, theatrical flourishes of Tom Waits. Krause and clarinetist Jessica Leigh Graves are both mistresses of the ukulele, accompanied by funk/blues guitarist Jimmie Dreams.

[…] This one comes highly recommended.

— Laurie Gallardo, KUT Austin Music Minute

For my money, The Asylum Street Spankers started going downhill when ukulele master Pops Bayless and vocalist/kazoo player Mysterious John hived off to form Shorty Long. The first of that band’s two album’s, Chickenboxer(Grumpledump, 2000), featured Jessica Leigh AKA Miss Jess AKA Jessica Leigh Graves, on vocals and soprano and baritone ukuleles, but soon after she took off to become a singer for the deaf, little knowing that her version of I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper, from the Clockwork Orange soundtrack, had become a cult hit.

Leigh resurfaced, musically, with Jammin’ at Jackson’s(self,2009), named one of the ‘Essential Ukulele Albums of the 2000s,’ and carried on, in partnership with Raina Leigh Krause ukulele/vocals, whose background is in burlesque, and former Spanker Jimmie Dean guitars/ukulele, to form The Love Leighs. Even if the Bayless connection doesn’t resonate, the words ‘ukulele’ and ‘burlesque’ are the giveaway here, 13 often risqué songs, seven by Leigh, five by Krause (both are award-winning songwriters, I know, for whatever that’s worth), plus Tom Waits’ Tango Till They’re Sore, that evoke the early 20th century styles that Bayless calls ‘American Novelty.’

As Leigh has added clarinet to her repertoire, the trio, here reinforced by fiddle, piano, drums and bass, reminds me strongly of Christina Marrs’ marvelous pre-Spankers group The Speakeasies, featuring Stanley Smith, with the added attraction of two lovely voiced leading and harmonising. Still, as I said of Shorty Long, it all comes down to haw you feel about the ukulele.

— John Conquest,May 2012, 3rd Coast Music


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