Leslie Anne Sloan, aka Miss Leslie, was born in Charleston, SC to parents of distinctly different musical tastes. Her father was a church minister from Tennessee who loved bluegrass and classic country music. Her mother grew up in Florida and played classical piano. At the age of 5, after the family relocated to Louisville, KY, Leslie started taking Suzuki violin lessons, but one of the first songs she learned to play on her own was “I Haven’t Seen Mary in Years” from the Bill and James Monroe “Father and Son” album. “My natural ear really surprised my parents”, Miss Leslie says.
Leslie continued her classical training and simultaneous bluegrass “training” through the family’s move to Texas when she was 9. “We moved to Ft. Worth and I have to say that at the time I hated it. I had tons of friends my age at our old church in Kentucky and the church in Ft Worth that Dad was preaching at didn’t have many kids my age. I was lonely and Texas can be a culture shock when you first move there.”
In Ft Worth, she took Texas fiddle lessons from Valerie Morris, Tammy Baker and Johnny Thorne. Meanwhile, her sister, Hilary (who had been studying Suzuki violin since the age of 4), also took fiddle lessons and her brother, Joel, took banjo lessons from Greg Davis. When the family moved to Houston when Leslie was 14, the family started a band with their Dad on guitar and their Mom singing harmony. “We played oprys like the Rosenberg Opry and free bluegrass shows around the Houston metro area. I would dread going sometimes because I think I was a typical teenager, but once I was onstage I felt at home and loved it.”
Leslie continued to study classical violin thru college at the University of South Florida and the University of Houston, while also studying opera. “I have a love for classical music. I always will. But I realized that it wasn’t my passion.”
Then, Miss Leslie says, life got in the way. “I dropped out of college from burnout and started working in the Corporate world. I worked my way up, eventually finished my degree, and made really good money. But I was miserable. I kept playing fiddle and singing now and then with my Dad around Houston but I always felt in my heart that I wanted more.”
In 2004, Leslie, along with then husband, Randy Lindley, started the band Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers - with a real upright piano, electric bass, pedal steel guitar, drums, Country Jim Sloan (Leslie’s dad) on acoustic guitar, Miss Leslie on fiddle and Randy on telecaster. “It was a big band honky tonk sound, straight out of a 1960s recording. We had so much fun. We were a band from Houston. We all loved the same music. We’d travel together in a 15-passenger van to every small Texas honky tonk that would hire us. We had some really lonesome gigs with little money and few people in the audience. But we didn’t care. The music was great and we were having a blast.”
2006 brought a lot of changes to the band - the addition of Ricky Davis on pedal steel guitar and Ric Ramirez on upright bass and the emergence of Miss Leslie as a songwriter. Then at the end of 2006, after an amicable divorce, the Lindleys parted ways musically. “We had tried to keep the band together because we had loved it so much. But musically we were changing as well and Randy, Damian and Ben were ready to go in a different direction.” The big band became a 4-piece – Ricky Davis on pedal steel guitar, Ric Ramirez on upright bass, Miss Leslie on fiddle and Timmy Campbell on drums. “At first I was really scared about how the band would change. But as we went along, I realized that this small group was incredibly dynamic. Together, my songs became SONGS with emotion and passion.”
It was time to record an album. “Between the Whiskey and the Wine” was the result. 13 original tunes from Miss Leslie - heartfelt songs of love and heartache framed in barrooms. Recorded at Tommy Detamore’s studio in Floresville, TX, “it was the greatest recording experience. I can’t imagine it being any better. Tommy as co-producer was so great to work with and the songs just literally fell into place. I cried when we finished listening to the playback of the last note. It was the end of an important journey for me.”