Open scars


Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photos

I burned myself recently on the heating element of my oven…. yes, cooking accidents are my forte.  And that burn was a doozy.  And as I’ve watched it heal recently, I began to think about it.  I thought about how I hadn’t covered it with a bandaid, and I hadn’t even really doctored it.  I just kept it clean and watched the skin began to re-construct the layers that had been melted.

And then I thought about what a perfect metaphor and reminder it was of scars in general and the struggles we endure in this life.  And I thought…. What if we didn’t hide our scars?  So what if I wasn’t able to keep my left index finger from scarring.  A blemish- the horror of horrors! What if each time I saw it, I was reminded of that painful memory?  And what if I didn’t try to cover it up, make it heal prettier or sugar coat what really happened to that piece of skin? Why not leave the scars and the stories on myself of all the things I’ve experienced or lived through in this short life on earth.

And just like letting my skin scar, I thought a little more.  What if we were more open about our blemishes, struggles, failures and imperfections.  I know we claim pretty openly to be imperfect, but do we really believe that and own it?  Or do we still feel we are trying to reach some unattainable goal the world or culture has set for us? In a world fixated on perfections, fancy creams, liposuction, tanning beds, hair dyes and spanks, it’s rather hard to want to accept and be ok with the shortcomings, blemishes and limitations we all deep down realize we have.  And to that I say- stop it right now, self and world.  I’m human, and I struggle.  I know others have had their share of struggles too.  But what if it was ok.  Ok to not uphold some image of feminine fabulousness. Ok to be not ok at times.  Ok to not always know what the future holds.  Ok to show your imperfections to others.  Ok to not try to cover up every little so-called flaw on your face.  God loves this mess.  He blessed me and many others with creativity, time, talent and heart that wants to find joy in the world around me.  So it’s time I, and you, stopped listening to the voices of negativity that try to tell us to cover up things that aren’t perfectly perfect.  Accept the imperfections, work on the things you can and be really thankful for God’s grace as he fills in the broken pieces of your vessel🙂



Touring in Tulsa


lakescountryTahlequah_@ merch_1

I recently returned from such an incredible first tour in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.  I wanted to detail a little about our travels for that weekend of shows.  I would love to give a shout-out to the absolute greatest Airbnb hosts out in Tulsa.  If you’re ever in Tulsa, check out staying with Heather and her sweet family.  They were so supportive and kind to us.  Check out their listing here.

Our first day we set out West and drove through the Arkansas country.  Nikia Burns, my talented violinist, my best friend and jack-of-all-trades, Kayla Bogs made a fabulous team.   We arrived in town on a Thursday evening and got to catch the tail end of Jared Tyler’s show.  He recently played on the John Moreland album, so that’s pretty cool!  He also co-owns a violin shop in town called

Bright and early on Friday morning, we had the pleasure of playing Lakes Country 102.1 with Lou, Blake and Faith.  They were so welcoming, and we enjoyed playing live.  To hear the entire broadcast, visit this link.  It was fun to play on live radio for the first time- you really have to be able to think on your feet.  Hopefully they enjoyed the Paradise donuts we picked up on the way for them🙂

We spent Friday in Tahlequah visiting the Cherokee Prison Museum, a local coffee shop and a music studio.  We invited people around town to our show for Saturday night at the Branch.  It was a great experience to actually meet people in the area and feel like we got a little taste of the local culture.  We especially loved the fabulous silver and turquoise rings we drooled over at the Cherokee gift shop later that day.  We headed back to Tulsa that evening to get ready for our gig at the Campbell Hotel in downtown Tulsa.  This is such a neat hotel, and they have recently renovated it and invite people from the community on a certain Saturday of the month.  A new friend, Scott Ayecock, from Folk Salad Radio, came out to hear us play live.  It was great meeting him and his wife and chatting about music.

Saturday was a great field trip day.  We had brunch at Dilly Diner downtown Tulsa which was so yum!  After that, we headed to the Woodie Guthrie Center which I highly recommend to anyone visiting Tulsa.  It was a great place for some pre-gig inspiration as we walked through the exhibit, read inspiring quotes and learned a little about the man behind the music.  After this, we headed to our sweet friends house, the Jarrett’s, to get ready for our gig that evening in Tahlequah.

On Saturday evening, despite the rain, we had the pleasure of playing at the Branch in Tahlequah.  It was a nice restaurant and some old friends as well as new-found friends from Tahlequah came out to hear us play.  It was so great to have the support from them.

The people were the nicest souls ever and Tulsa was so receptive to music and opened their hearts to us.  They were super generous and hospitable, and I feel so blessed to have spent my first tour dates in Oklahoma.  Thanks Oklahoma for all you did to make us feel welcome!


30A Songwriters Fest Spotlight on Caroline Cotter


I wanted to feature my next 30A Songwriters Fest songwriter, Caroline Cotter.  With a voice as sweet as budding flower and the fabulous content of a travel diary, she’ll pull you close like a warm embrace.  Her music transports me to some farm in Connecticut as if were going to pick apples and get maple syrup or across the ocean to another country in Europe.  She’s a lovely storyteller, so you have to listen carefully to her lyrics or you’ll miss a page of the story.  Journey in C is one of my favorites.  She sings, has harmony and snaps the whole song, and it’s a travel dialogue.  You know it’s a good song when you can just listen and there’s not even any instrumentation but the vocals.  Love it!  You can hear it here.

Her strong love of travel is something that connects me to her story.  From her Biography online:  “Music has always been at the heart of Caroline’s life, alongside an insatiable passion for travel and global exploration.  In the past ten years, Caroline has lived in and traveled to 27 countries on five continents. While writing and recording Dreaming as I Do, she spent the last few years working for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) in Portland, Maine.  CIEE provided amazing opportunities for international community and travel, and further inspired Caroline’s songwriting.”

So, please check out her music and drift off into a world of peoples, places and ideas.  I think you’ll find it absolutely perfect for daydreaming on a Tuesday afternoon.



Observations and Music Merchandise

DeathtoStock_NotStock10Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photos

I had the privilege of working the merchandise booth recently for a friend, and I observed some things that made me a think a little deeper about the sales and the point of purchase.  I wanted to share some things I was able to procure from this experience:

  1. Presentation is important. People are drawn to things that look good. That’s just a pretty obvious point to most things in life in general. Attractive people, attractive homes, attractive clothing- you name it.  So make it pleasing to the eye.  Even just small touches like how it’s arranged or the orderliness could go a long way.  So give some thought to placement and the “how” behind it all.
  2. Sales can be low, so make it easy for people to purchase. People seem to be purchasing more online these days, so music merchandise tables are no different.  With comments like “oh yeah, i can just buy this online,” there’s a definite sign that the times of purchasing have changed. With the ability to purchase later online, there’s no sense of urgency. I mean, I can worry about this later so no need to stress or whip out cash or card now, right?  Another thing to consider is making your price points visible.  People who might be willing to give 5 or 25 should all be made to feel welcome.  Have a visible sign out.  This is the 5 dollar price point, this is the 10, this is the 20 and on to the package deal at 25-30. Oftentimes, people already have their spending limit in their mind.  If you had something at that price level, they could purchase on the spot. Whether it’s an online store or a brick and mortar, make pricing easy to read and available.  There’s nothing more unsettling than not knowing price and having to ask.  No one likes to think- If I have to ask, then I must not be able to afford it.  That’s isolating and arrogant.  Be proud of the cost of whatever you are selling and be confident enough to know that it’s worth every penny.  
  3. Interaction is imperative.  Be friendly and engage with all people who may come your way. Ask people how they are doing and engage them. People may want to chat for a bit.  If so, they may linger and purchase something. It is important that you have someone work your merchandise table while you play. If people decide to purchase any merchandise during your set and your table is vacant, they may move on and not come back later in the evening.  If your music is strictly online, then make yourself accessible somehow.  People sometimes need help, so be around when they need it.

So consider the details, because they are important.  Don’t minimize the preparation and attention you give to your merchandise and your merchandise table.  If you actually take care about the tiny things, the larger things in your career and life may just take of themselves.

Be faithful in the small things🙂


The start of some 30A Songwriters Fest reviews

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Hello all,

I’ve been asked to play the well-known 30A Songwriters Festival in Florida in January 2016. It’s so exciting!  So with 8-9 weeks before the festival begins, I’d like to do a review each week on some fellow 30A Songwriters that will be playing at the Festival this year!  Today’s review is Annalise Emerick, a talented songwriter who has made a name and niche for herself in the music scene.  With a voice as soft and sweet as honey and songwriting that calms the soul, Annalise Emerick has found her sound.  She has taken care to document the world around her, allowing outsiders some insight into the mind of a whimsical wanderer.

From her bio on her site, the inspiration for her music is evident. “Eternally a free spirit with an insatiable wanderlust, Emerick comes by it honestly. ‘We moved around a lot when I was a kid, so I feel like my life on the road was kind of inevitable,’ she laughs. ‘I’m always exploring the notion of home musically, emotionally, and geographically.’ The singer claims a scattering of cities as her muse, growing up in the rich musical heritage of both Seattle and Austin before eventually making her way to Nashville to attend Belmont University. In Music City she honed her craft, but it was several charmed summers as a camp counselor in Maine and New Hampshire that inspired her relocate to Boston and start her musical career…..Now, three years after the release of her first EP, fresh off of a first place win in the New England Songwriter’s Competition and a relocation back to Nashville, Emerick returns with Field Notes, a folk-inspired, markedly more mature turn for the singer that demonstrates just how much her endless days on the road and years of hard work have fostered her growth as an artist and performer.

Annalise and I share a bio fact that we have both lived in Austin.  We’ve never met, but I bet we would get along in the music world.  I’m flattered to get to play in the same songwriter lineup as Annalise.  I wish her the best as she performs and perhaps I’ll run into her around the 30A stretch.  Enjoy all of her music here!

I’ll leave you with some lyrics from her song, Born this Way, a country-esque tune with ragtime vibes in it:

Nothing comes easy

To a travelin girl

And I’ll fight my way

Through a desert storm

But that’s how I like it

And that’s how it will stay

Because I was born

This way


Happy listening friends🙂

~leah marie


Watch out World… Tour dates Booked!!


Photo Courtesy: DeathtoStock

Hey guys,

Just wanted to share a few tour dates I’ve got booked for December!  While booking shows in creative and unconventional music venues, there’s a prevailing theme of the lodging spaces as performance spaces on this run of shows. I’ll be hitting the following venues December 10th- 12th out in Oklahoma!

December 10th- Chapparal Bed and Breakfast in Watonga, Oklahoma, time TBA

December 11th- Campbell Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma from 6- 8 pm

December 12th- The Branch in Tahlequah, Oklahoma from 8-10 pm

Please feel free to check out the links to these sites, and if you happen to be in or live in the Tulsa area, come out to listen and say hey!  If you have any great places we should eat or things we should know while in Tulsa, please feel free to hit us up in the contact form below! And thanks so much for your support in my touring endeavors🙂  And also, a special thanks to Sarah Malone, who works for Nashville Yelp, for recent images she created!

~leah marie



Having a little faith… and Commitment


Photo Courtesy: Death to Stock Photos

There is a connection between commitment to your faith and pursuing a career passion, in both your daily walk and your artistic journey.  You can’t be a tried and true artist without having a little grit in your soul. There’s this sheer persistence beneath it all to prevail no matter what the chaos around you looks like at the time.  Being an active and forward moving musician is teaching me commitment and sifting out the go getters from the half-tryers.  Commitment is a skill that is earned and learned over time.  Just as relationships aren’t cultivated in a short time, so a craft is not completed quickly.  In a generation that has everything right now or needed it yesterday, it’s worthwhile to realize that I’m learning the beauty in the struggle throughout the process.  Artists grapple with doubt, worry, fear and the “I’m not good enough” thoughts that constantly float in our heads. But we don’t let that stop us.  We take the charge seriously to “neglect not the gift that is within us.”  Here are some thoughts on how working as an artist is similar to having faith and commitment spiritually:

  1.  You don’t always have a clear cut view of the story that will unfold.  Unlike lawyers, doctors or teachers who know the model for success and follow it, artists do not have that same luxury.  We are forced to brave a dark forest of unknown trials, winding paths and breadcrumbs left each specific to our own careers.  We don’t have a model for success because everyone’s model is different, even ones with similar backgrounds, managers, hometowns and more.  In the same way your faith begins in a small way (a measure of it), it is grown and cultivated, tested through storm and has to be proven at times.  How much do you care about it and how much are you willing to sacrifice for it?  Those questions can never be answered until faced with more difficult choices.
  2.  You keep at it in the midst of the unknown.  If your faith or your art are such an integral part of you, you practice them even when no one gives you any recognition.  Artists understand the feeling of discouragement readily as we continue to hear more no’s than yes’s at times.  Despite all of the rejection we face, there’s something eternally optimistic about us.  Deep down, we don’t really believe the option of giving up but rather we choose to just keep on moving.  Just because we’re at the bottom, doesn’t mean we give up.   
  3. The naysayers are often waiting in the wings and ready to whisper negativity and threats in your ears.  There are those who will test your faith spiritually and as an artist.  They will say things can’t be done, you should just quit and really what’s the purpose of even trying.  They will try to drag you down to their level.  They will also tell you all of the reasons it would NEVER work.  Don’t listen to them. If you believe in what you are doing, keep at it.  And remember, if you don’t want to live their life, then why should they get to determine yours?

So remember that it takes faith and commitment.  Your spiritual walk and your artistic walk are not easy roads.  And as Tom Petty said,

“Some say life, may beat you down, break your heart, steal your crown.  Learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings, coming down, is the hardest thing…”

Look to the light


Creatively clear

Leah Edwards_logo_JPEG

Drum roll please….. Wanted to share my new logo.  It’s great timing  SO EXCITING!  Thank you to the talented, Jason Hill who worked for a good, long time helping me figure out this whole identity thing.  To check out his stuff, click here.  I hope you guys like it, and look for new merch soon!  On a different note, I wanted to share a few thoughts should you feel stumped in your creation process.   We want to create something meaningful, beautiful and that will resonate with others. We want to change the world around us and not just be here as a meaningless vapor. Whether we use art or music or film as our medium, we have a need to make something with weight,value and significance. I know the feeling of being stuck in a rut, writing the same song or painting the same piece or making the same film. Here are some things I’m brainstorming for ways to get out of the rut, so I thought I would share…

  1. To get out of the rut, get out of the routine. Go to a movie on a Monday night or meet up with someone you hardly ever see. Drive a new way home from work or listen to a totally different genre of music. Giving your system a little shake can cause some things to get dislodged and tumble out.
  2. To get out of the rut, let yourself play.  Instead of writing a song, just play with some chords on the piano or write a funny poem to loosen up those muscles.  Sometimes creative play can help you relax and not make you feel so bent on writing the next big hit, the next great American novel or being the next Picasso.
  3. To get out of the rut, think of a different process you have not yet tried. For example, maybe as a songwriter, I could take all the best lines fro my last 10 songs written and see what kind of song I might create from that. Or instead of sitting down at the piano, maybe I could just take a walk and start singing a melody to create something.  By doing things another way, you might get a different or even better result.
  4. To get out of the rut, get out of yourself. A great way to have some ideas come to you might be actually “not” thinking about it. Go try some new with a different group, get involved with others, socialize, volunteer or host a gathering. By thinking about something other than yourself and your creative “problem,” you might actually solve that pesky thing.

So, go on creative ones or even those who often claim they just “aren’t really creative,” and try one of these four options to get the creative water flowing.  You might be pleasantly surprised and impressed at what spills out.  If you have other things that have worked for your creation process in the past, feel free to share them below!


A good garment is not hard to find


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.  And internet hunting.  And more thinking.  And I have happened upon a new passion/cause I am interested in.  It’s the segment of the fashion world that involves fair trade, sustainable and ethically conscious clothing.  We have spent a lot of time in this country (America) feeding ourselves the lie of consumerism.  It whispers I need more, more and more.  No, you do not, and you are weighing yourself down with so many possessions.  I’ve been learning more about socially conscious shoes, handmade goods and garments that have a more positive story than a factory with terrible working conditions in a developing country.  As someone who currently works in an HR role, I have come to understand a little bit more about the importance of worker’s rights and wages.  I am encouraged by the good in companies I have seen lately.  Therefore, I decided to compile a list of some of my findings and another blog that gives a list of ethical companies out there.  There are a chunk of them overseas, but American also has a hat in the ring as well.

Here are some companies I have found.  This is not a complete and full list by any means, but please check them out!

Clothing companies

Braintree Clothing

One of my favorites in the clothing styles so far!




Red Earth Trading Company


Barnabas Clothing


Good and Fair






Shift On Nature


Eileen Fisher

There are Eileen Fisher stores in Green Hills Mall in Nashville


Seamy- Denver-based awesome company




First Rite:


Apolis Global


Elizabeth Suzann




Hackwith Design House


High end fashion/ more couture



Mina and Olya


Amour Vert



Nisolo- Peruvian made leather shoes based in Nashville


The root collective


Accessories and scarves

A peace treay


Matter Prints


Mitscoots- socks, etc.


Krochet Kids


No 41 (a non-profit close to my heart, since I am friends with their founder)


Freedom of Animals- bags, etc




For more clothing companies,check out this blog list:


Feel free to share any more in the comment section, and let me know what you find in your own research! Happy ethical shopping🙂


A word in context


Photo Credit:  Maria Ellen Photography

Awhile ago, I had the pleasure of going to the Italian Fashion Exhibit at the Frist Center for the visual arts, and it was fabulous. So much detail, so many beads, so many layers of fabulous fabric beautifully hand-crafted as an art form. There was also a Jaume Plensa exhibit and one of his pieces, composed of letters, foreign words and all sorts of text really struck me.  In the plaque about the piece (and I’m probably not quoting verbatim), he mentioned something like this:

“One letter seems nothing but in association with others they could compose a word.  One word with another word could compose a text.  A text with another text.”  I thought about this in regards to being an artist.  As an artist, you are one.  But when you start connecting the dots from artist to artist and building community, you begin to be enriched.  Your medium of art becomes richer, more developed, more intense with emotion and relation to something outside your tiny world of self art.  The art then becomes a piece in a larger painting, and you can find your place of belonging in the realm of creativity.  The idea of individuality is great, but in relation to a larger picture, it has more context.  If you are an artist, think about yourself more as a word in context.  Here are some ways to think of art in terms of context:

1.  Don’t restrict your music to just being influenced by what you can give to it.  Let other artists influence it, help paint a stroke on the canvas and move it forward in a direction you might not have considered before.  Sometimes the growth comes from the interaction with others.

2.  Don’t try too grip tightly onto it like a helicopter parent.  Realize that music is an entity all it’s own that moves and breathes and has to become.  A song sometimes is something you can’t control.  You need to let it happen naturally.  I’ve heard people in the recording industry talk about it in terms of what is needed to “best serve the song.”  It’s like having a love for your music as if it were a child, and you would do well to let it have room to become.

3.   As an artist, consider that you are not merely an isolated creative force.  Rather, you are a force being acted on and acting on others every day as an inspiration and a muse.  And take it a step further, and don’t only let your career be focused on pushing your music into the atmosphere.  Don’t merely shout, but listen.  Connect with others, offer them help when they need it, volunteer with your other musical friends and build relationships instead of just trying to take something all the time.

When I see others who seem to be just waltzing through with roses everywhere, I tend to get discouraged.  Some days I’m not sure what to do with these gifts I’ve been given.  Perhaps other artists’ paths are not as winding as mine have been.  But those uncertain times are those that build our faith and teach us to trust.  Maybe we must first be lost to then find ourselves.