Lesley Hoyles

Lesley Hoyles

BandFolkSinger/Songwriter

Lesley Hoyles' unique urban folk style skillfully balances sincerity and cynicism, all the while spinning stories accompanied by acoustic guitar.

Biography

Spending your early years in small-town northern Ontario is bound to influence a person for life. For singer-songwriter Lesley Hoyles, this influence comes in the way of the constantly recurring theme of the weather, certainly a Canadian concern. Not one to be limited by these humble beginnings, however, Lesley has now, at 25, traversed the country, adding themes such as heartbreak, politics, activism, and apathy (generally other people’s, not her own) to her writing. Her musical style, which she refers to as urban folk, combines both the feel of her more recent big city living with the folk roots of her younger life. With influences ranging from Bach (she’s a classically trained pianist) to Joni Mitchell to Dar Williams and bands like Stars, it’s no wonder she had to invent her own name for her genre.

Now settled in Toronto, with a women’s studies degree from McGill and UBC under her belt, Lesley is actively pursuing her burgeoning musical career. The release of her debut solo album Stories You Earn in 2005 earned her accolades, including the cover of Vancouver weekly Xtra West. Some of her more memorable performances, as a solo artist or as part of the now-defunct band Alicide, include shows at Ottawa’s venerable folk institution Rasputin’s, Montreal’s Petit Campus, The Free Times Café in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Toronto Pride festivities, The Backstage Lounge in Vancouver, and The Rock City Women’s Music Festival in Wakefield, Quebec.

These days, Lesley can usually be found wielding her guitar at one of Toronto’s many open mics, as she works her way into the city’s music scene, or standing outside, waiting for the next change in the weather.

Lyrics

The Long Run

Written By: Lesley Hoyles

were you waiting for the second when you could finally tell me / you said 'i told you so' / were you waiting for the minute when my back was turning / i was turning to go /

were you thinking up excuses before i even met you / before you said you fell in love / now the only thing that's falling is my face 'cause you're not calling / this must be the plan that you thought of /

you had the upper hand and i said 'i just cannot stand up to this world' / and i am spinning, i don't know where i'm beginning / i'm on the other side now and you think i've gone to hide 'cause i found out there was no way of winning / but when i told you i was leaving you thought that i'd be grieving / but i'm just glad to make it out alive / by the time you note my absence / i will have already arrived /

i was blind / but the sun is shining bright now, it's come to light now / that i was too kind / and i probably should have left you the day after i met you / all your bullshit lies / all the little stories in all their splendid glory / they held the ties / they'll get you ... /

you might say this is revisionist / you called me a masochist / i guess the evidence was there / but it was hard to see the wounds when i was covered with your blankets / when my fingers were caught up in your hair / i guess the time had come for me to throw down the gun / like the hostage situation on the television station / i let you get away 'cause i know the price you'll pay / in the long run /

hey, now who left who / hey, 'cause you can't have two / hey, and my skies are blue / hey, i won't say i miss you /

i was blind / but the sun is shining bright now, it's come to light now / that i was too kind / and i probably should have left you the day after i met you / all your bullshit lies / all the little stories in all their splendid glory / they held the ties / they'll ... /

all your bullshit lies, all the alibis / oh, the easy way you put on your disguise / all the sleepless nights, all the secret lullabies / they held the ties / they'll get you ... //

Blue-Letter Day

Written By: Lesley Hoyles

look out at the street / i flew so far to meet you / but you're so far away / you think i came here just to defeat you /

and it's a blue-letter day / i never know what to do or to say / i flew so far to meet you and now it's all do or die, make it or run away /

and nothing is wrong / nothing is wrong / nothing is wrong /

i've got my bags all packed / with one full of all the things that i lack / i never know what to do or to say / guess i gotta learn to stop looking back /

and it's a red-letter day / you know i came here to get away / guess i forgot all the things that i lack / thought i'd found a reason to stay /

nothing is wrong / nothing is wrong / nothing is wrong /

are you saying that you never knew me? / or are you saying that you see right through me? / oh, should've told you you'd be disappointed in me / should've told you what you'd see / should've told you you'd be disappointed eventually / yeah, eventually /

nothing is wrong / nothing is wrong / nothing is wrong /

it's a blue-letter day / i never know what to do or to say / i flew so far to meet you and now it's all do or die, make it or run away //

The Stories You Earn

Written By: Lesley Hoyles

why are you so surprised that i think you're invicible / why are you so surprised that i hold onto all these crazy superstitions / i lift my feet up over train tracks / i cross my fingers behind my back / i wished on every star i saw tonight /

i've never walked down this street before / seems like a different city / i feel like i'm coming full circle and i am ... /

don't you know i don't know how to do / all of the things that i'm pinning on you / but at least i am starting to learn / the only stories worth telling are the stories you earn /

everything is so violent these days / no one seems to play like they used to play / i'm glad that you've shown up / but i am not grown up / enough for all of this /

i've never walked down this street before / i can't get used to the rain when it never pours / but everything is temporary anyways and shifting once more /

don't you know i don't know how to do / all of the things that i'm pinning on you / but at least i am starting to learn / the only stories worth telling are the stories you earn /

i'm not pretending i know what i'm doing / between bouts of clarity and my daily ungluing / the words on the page never stay the same / the rules may be static but they change the game / i can't anticipate the landscape that i .... /

i never walked down before / i see the circle but never the core / it always drizzles and never pours / got me searching for something more /

don't you know i don't know how to do / all of the things that i'm pinning on you / but at least i am starting to learn / the only stories worth telling are / the only stories worth telling are the stories you earn //

Discography

LESLEY HOYLES - Stories You Earn (LP) - 2005
LESLEY HOYLES - Explorer (EP) - 2004
ALICIDE - Bootleg (EP) - 2002
ALICIDE - In Between the City (LP) - 2001

Set List

Lesley usually plays solo, in sets ranging from 30 minutes to one hour or more. She mainly plays original compositions, but also occasionally plays covers. She has a penchant for covering cliched pop tunes, such as The Bangles' "Eternal Flame" and Britney Spears "I'm a Slave 4 U".