The daughter of a coal miner, weaving a trail from West Virginia to Texas to Scotland where she’s lived for over a decade, Heather Leigh furthers the vast unexplored reaches of pedal steel guitar. Her playing is as physical as it is phantom, combining spontaneous compositions with industrially-charged psychedelic rock. With a rare combination of sensitivity and strength, Leigh’s steel mainlines sanctified slide guitar and deforms it using hypnotic tone-implosions, juggling walls of bleeding amp tone with choral vocal constructs and wrenching single note ascensions. 2015’s critically acclaimed I Abused Animal (Ideologic Organ) was a turning point, a breakthrough album that marked her first venture into professional studio recording. Throne (Editions Mego) is her latest achievement, an album of punch-drunk desire clouded by peripheral danger. After the rawness of its precursor, Throne is a record of late night Americana and heavy femininity; a suite of alluring heartbleed ballads cauterised with burning riffs, its melodies and hooks set alight with the fiery core of her unique and distinctive pedal steel. Leigh’s work explores themes of glamour, abuse, sexual instinct, desire, romance, vulnerability, memory, shadow, fantasy, jealousy, cruelty, delusion, deception and projection.
In addition to her work as a solo artist, Heather Leigh has worked extensively with a long list of unique collaborators, most recently with saxophonist Peter Brötzmann. The duo have released four highly idiosyncratic albums: Ears Are Filled With Wonder, Sex Tape, Crowmoon and their most recent LP, Sparrow Nights on Trost Records.
Heather Leigh’s albums have been met with widespread critical acclaim and coverage in The Wire Magazine, FACT Mag, MOJO, Uncut, The Guardian, The Quietus, The New York Times, Pitchfork, Tiny Mix Tapes, Dusted, Spex, Magnet, Rolling Stone, Vice, Brainwashed, Blow Up, The List and many more.
Known for her captivating live performances, Leigh’s songs come into vivid life on stage. She has performed across the globe throughout Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, USA and Mexico, playing venues/festivals including Cafe OTO, Red Bull Music Festival, Moers, Donau, Le Guess Who, Tectonics, ATP, Supernormal, Supersonic, TUSK, Issue Project Room, Tate Britain, Jazzhouse Copenhagen, A L’ARME! Festival, Dundee Contemporary Arts, South London Gallery, Colour Out Of Space, iDEALFEST, Islington Mill, CCA Glasgow, Edition Festival Stockholm, St Johns Sessions, Le Weekend Festival, The Art Institute of Chicago and many more.
Heather Leigh is published by Mute Song.
Heather Leigh is a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Award: https://www.phf.org.uk/our-work-in-the-uk/ideas/awards-for-artists/
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