Sharing the Passion with Cuban Dynamo and Latin, Torch & Sexy Jazz Artist, Deborah Ledon

Deborah Ledon Main promo photoCaptivating…Electrifying…Unforgettable…

Sexy singer-songwriter Deborah Ledon is as extraordinary as her life story.  A native Cuban, her family pulled off a daring escape to Canada when Deborah was just a two-year old toddling around her impoverished neighbourhood looking for food.  That audacious theme seems to have set the stage for her life.  The epitome of charisma, fierce determination and exotic beauty, Deborah Ledon frequently draws from her own fair share of challenging life experiences for lyrical inspiration.  The vocally versatile high-energy dynamo has a spellbinding stage presence and boasts a varied and eclectic background as an entertainer and performer.  Past gigs include everything from commercials and voiceovers to acting, modelling, musical theatre and touring the US with a funk band.  Deborah Ledon’s powerful, melodic voice led to her fronting a variety of bands ranging from a 25-piece big band, country, rock, punk, dance and Latin bands, as well as touring and performing for the Marriot Hotel chain, and fronting the house band for the Parkway Best Western for eight years. She’s also performed at numerous jazz festivals.

An entertainer at heart, Deborah studied acting at Brock University, later landing a lead role in the musical “Man of La Mancha”, a performance that earned her critical acclaim.  Deborah also performed in Vancouver’s “Vagina Monologues” to support a charity fundraiser, and played numerous roles in Carol Shield’s “Departures and Arrivals”.

Deborah Ledon’s raw and edgy independent album “Spilling Inside Out” earned her international acclaim.  The album won Best New Jazz/ Folk Artist inSpilling Inside Out 2004 and hit the Euro Americana Charts as one of 2005’s best albums.  In autumn of 2008 CBC Radio’s Hot Air program showcased Deborah and her former band Locura including a recording session and an hour-long interview.

Deborah Ledon is boldly reclaiming her Cuban heritage with her latest music success.  Her explosive Latin band promises to rock and shock and put you at serious risk of dancing.  Deborah’s contagious passion for her Latin roots defines her exotic, seductive jazzy sound, unmistakable in its unique versatility.  Deborah’s band members are some of Vancouver’s most talented musicians: Chris Haas on drums and vocals; Brent Gubbels on bass; Nick Apivor on percussion; Boris Favre on keyboards and vocals; and Musical Director Graig Robertson on sax, guitar and vocals.  The River Rock Casino in Richmond has become a frequent gig for Deborah and her band, bringing in an ever-increasing stream of fans.  But then it’s really not surprising.  Deborah’s captivating performances and sincere, un-Diva-like attitude could win anyone’s heart.  I love this woman!

If you’d like a CD of Deborah’s original material, it is available through her website at www.deborahledon.com and at CD Baby.  Her original material is unlike the Latin presentation but does have, along with Rock some Jazz and Latin influences.

Deborah in black performing at a casinoA Few Words from Deborah

“My influences growing up were quite eclectic.  I loved the versatility of Linda Ronstadt, the smoothness and range of Barbra Streisand, the Rock growl and scream of Heart’s Ann Wilson and Pat Benatar, the stage dramatics and comedy of Bette Midler, the dark edge of Carole Pope and finally, the infinite musical potential, sincerity and absolute femininity and style of Selena.  I’ve always admired women who had a backbone and never sold out to accommodate some suit sitting behind a desk.  It’s important to be true to oneself and able to sleep at night.

As for my music collection, I loved everything from Rush to Dreamtheatre to Sara Brightman to Gloria Estefan.  My favourite group is The Eagles although Rush is another one.  In concert I’ve had the privilege of seeing The Pointer Sisters, Wham, Michael Jackson, Carole Pope, Eurythmics, Seal, Bonnie Raitt, The Corrs, Rita MacNeil, Jann Arden, John McDermott, Natalie MacMaster, Pink Martini and the one and only, Ricki Lee Jones.  She was great!

The Internet is amazing because it exposes you to those who would normally have no chance of hearing what you do.  I love getting emails from around the globe from someone who has bought my CD and wishes to share thoughts on it.  I also get emails from those right here at home who’ve come out to see a show and want to share their thoughts on songs or thank me for a lovely experience.  The Internet can be a very good thing when used properly.  The downfall, of course is all the traffic and competition on it not to mention the garbage. So many artists and so little time.

I hope to make as many people feel the joy that lives in my heart when I perform and to be a living and breathing example of faith and importance in following one’s heart despite adversity and hardship.  Anything worthwhile comes at a price but surely if people were to know every detail of this journey I willingly signed up for, they would wonder why I didn’t change course years sooner.  I can’t imagine living a false life and yet so many out there do.  It’s a very sad thing and one of the reasons I believe we’re so out of touch with ourselves not to mention why we have high blood pressure.  People are afraid to be truly authentic.  One has to live one’s own song regardless of what anyone thinks.  I’m so darn lucky to have had a 4 foot high grandmother who encouraged my huge Cuban stubborn streak!  Ha!

Into my second year there, River Rock Casino out in Richmond, BC has been my regular musical home.  It was a strange thing initially to walk into that “Vegas style” atmosphere. There were lights everywhere and noise!  What noise!  I didn’t know how we would be heard above all that ringing and talking but once on that glorious stage with state of the art gear and amazing sound men like Tony and Steven at the helm, all was forgotten.  The place is magical and after all this time, we have a following which makes our shows that much more fun.  I love to tease audience members and include them in my act which makes my show very “in the moment”.  There’s no planning whatsoever and we fly with whatever material is at hand.  Along with this I’m blessed with incredibly talented players who along with their monstrous talents, like to laugh and can take some serious teasing themselves.  It’s really a wonderful mix of all positive and bright.  I’m beaming the entire four hours we’re on stage.  It’s such incredible fun.”

Upcoming Shows

Deborah will be playing at Lulu’s Lounge in the River Rock Casino in Richmond, BC on January 23 at 8:30 pm and January 24 at 9:00 pm.

She’s also performing at a very special Real World Benefit Concert for Cuba Benefit for Cuba Posterat St. James Community Square, 3214 West 10th Avenue in Vancouver on January 26 from 7:30 – 11:30 pm.  Advance tickets are available at Ali’s Dollar Store, 2881 West Broadway.  Door tickets are $25.  This event is co-sponsored by the Rogue Folk Club.  For further info, contact 604-266-3644 or visit www.dinosaurmusic.net/Concerts.html.

Connect with Deborah Ledon

www.facebook.com/DeborahLedonMusic
http://twitter.com/DeborahLedon
http://www.youtube.com/DeborahLedon

My Cross To Bear by Greg Allmann

Book Review
Title: My Cross to Bear
Author:  Gregg Allman
Publisher: William Morrow
Released: May 1, 2012
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 0062112031
ISBN-13: 978-0062112033
Stars:  5.0

It’s no secret that I love music so it goes without saying that I really enjoy reading autobiographies of musicians, and I’ve read quite a few.  But none has been as worthy of note, so brutally honest, poignant and impressive as Gregg Allman’s, who with the help of Alan Light, writes about his remarkable life in My Cross to Bear.

“No, I’m no angel
No I’m not stranger to the streets
I’ve got my label
So I won’t crumble at your feet
And I know baby
So I’ve got scars upon my cheek
And I’m half crazy
Come on and love me baby

No I’m no angel
No I’m no stranger to the dark
Let me rock your cradle
Let me start a fire with your spark
Oh come on baby
Come and let me show you my tattoo
Let me drive you crazy
Come on and love me baby”

The legendary front man for The Allman Brothers Band has lived a very hard yet rewarding life, filled with ecstasies and tragedies, and in My Cross to Bear he doesn’t sugar coat one single bit of it.  He allows us to see who Gregory really is, flaws and all, and I was so impressed by that.  Reading this book is like sitting down and listening to the man talk directly to you, leading you to believe that he considers you a friend.  I was so captivated by Gregory’s voice and humour that I have been experiencing a re-appreciation of his music that has left me with a little crush on this 64-year-old, long blonde-haired, tattooed man.

Gregory LeNoir Allman hails from Nashville, TN where he was born on December 8, 1947.  Since then he’s spent a large part of his life in Georgia which he calls home.  He’s a true southern gentleman and he writes with his own distinctive southern voice.  You can feel the heat in it, the whiskey, the cigarettes, along with sadness, joy, and hope that he’s still got time left to continue to work at being a better man and a better artist.

Gregory, as he’s known by his friends, is a rock and blues singer, keyboardist, guitarist and songwriter, and one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band – the band who founded Southern Rock.  Inducted with the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Gregory has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Music Hall of Fame (2006), a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Americana Awards, and his idiosyncratic voice landed him at No. 70 of Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”.  And he truly is.  His latest album, Low Country Blues, produced by T-Bone Burnett, is a masterpiece.

Gregory explores his fatherless youth (his dad was murdered by a hitchhiker), his stint in military school, the birth of his first bands, and the subsequent evolution of the revolving cast of players in The Allman Brothers.  He revisits the untimely and tragic motorcycle deaths of both his older brother, guitarist Duane Allman in 1971 and band mate, bassist Berry Oakley, a year later.  He is forthcoming about his alcohol and drug addictions including his many unsuccessful attempts at rehab – although he’s been sober since the mid-1990s – the band’s excessive drug use, his reputation for being a “pussy hound”, and his unabashed love for the Hammond B-3 organ.

The Ramblin’ Man also discusses the challenge of working with guitarist Dickey Betts, the highs and lows of touring, skirmishes with the law, and his critically acclaimed solo work.  He professes his love for his mother, his five children (Michael Sean Allman – whom he never met until Michael was a grown man – Devon Lane Allman, Elijah Blue Allman – who he confesses that he doesn’t know very well – Delilah Island Allman – who he describes as the light of his life, and Layla Brooklyn Allman), all of whom have a different mother, his friends, his dogs and Harley Davidson motorcycles.  The man has been married six times, most famously to Cher (1975-79) whom he still respects and gets along with.  Although he’s been tied to the whipping post many times, he doesn’t like to be alone.  He is now engaged to 24-year-old Shannon Williams, who he says will be his first wife.

Gregory, who doesn’t pretend to be anyone other than himself in his autobiography, has dabbled in acting and most notably appeared in the 1991 film Rush directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, starring Jason Patric, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Sam Elliott.  Although he had very little dialogue in the film, his presence made a huge impact on the story as he was absolutely perfect for the role of the drug dealing, criminal heavyweight, Gaines.  I love this movie and have watched it many times, enjoying all of the cast’s performances as well as its memorable soundtrack by Eric Clapton.

Allman has been battling a number of health issues in recent years and was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in late 2007, the result of an infection from a dirty tattoo needle.  In 2010 he had a liver transplant.  Through it all, he continues to make music and to tour, both as a solo artist and with The Allman Brothers.

Gregory Allman is a firm believer in everything happening for a reason.  It’s obvious that he’s done a lot of soul-searching since he’s been sober, even finding God in the Episcopal Church.  He lives every day with the grief of the loss of his big brother Duane, someone who continues to inspire the enlightened rogue, and yet just gets on with living his life.  He is truly inspirational.

 Music is my life’s blood.  I love music.  I love to play good music, and I love to play music for people who appreciate it.  And when it’s all said and done, I’ll go to my grave and my brother will greet me, saying, “Nice work, little brother – you did all right.

My Cross to Bear is everything that a rock’n’roll memoir should be: well-written, interesting, entertaining, emotive, chock full of stimulating music references, filled with great photos, rated R, and above all, unforgettable.  This is a must read for all music lovers!


Watch Gregg Allman talk about his memoir on CBS This Morning here.