Piper Leigh & The Smokin' Section
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Piper Leigh & The Smokin' Section

Arkansas City, Kansas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012

Arkansas City, Kansas, United States
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Blues Rock

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Piper Leigh to lead benefit for Skin Cancer Foundation

Originally published March 11, 2004

by Jedd Beaudoin
jbeaudoin@f5wichita.com

SONGS FOR SKIN: Piper Leigh and a half-dozen other musicians will put on a benifit for the Skin Cancer Foundation at 4 p.m. Sunday at Cabaret Old Town, 412 1/2 E. Douglas. Courtesy photo

On Sunday, March 14, Kansas songstress Piper Leigh will lead a benefit for the Skin Cancer Foundation at Cabaret Oldtown in honor of the late Eva Cassidy (who died in 1996 of melanoma).
Leigh said that the benefit, titled "The Soul of Eva Cassidy," had simple origins. During a conversation between Leigh and her friends, Jim and Ann Keefer, some parallels her own life and Cassidy's began to emerge.
"We both started playing guitars when we were nine, we both started playing on Harmony guitars. She started performing with her dad at a young age and so did I. I also read that she used to spend more time practicing guitar than doing homework," Leigh said with a laugh. "My transcripts are definitely an example of that."
Leigh added that her own appreciation of Cassidy grew based on a simple realization: Cassidy was a songwriter but also a great song stylist.
"She could take a song that you're familiar with and turn it into something that was completely her own," Leigh said. "It was her own arrangement, her style and that could make you completely forget about the original. That's always been my talent."
That, along with some physical similarities between the two, not only made for interesting conversation, it spurred an interest in bringing the late singer's music to members of the public, especially those unfamiliar with her work. But, she added, both she and the Keefers felt that it should be more than just a concert.
Ann Keefer spoke with local dermatologist Dr. Chris Moeller and asked for his assistance in making the event a benefit. Moeller, who has worked with skin cancer patients for close to two decades, agreed and, with his help, the show quickly became a reality.
But the event will also serve as an afternoon of entertainment (part of an ongoing series called Sundays @ 4, put together by local promoter Barney Byard), including songs from Leigh that are not part of Cassidy's body of work.
"It is a tribute to Eva Cassidy but the second half is the Piper Leigh portion of the show and it's a continuation of Eva's influence in my music," she said.
The event will also be recorded, Leigh said, and, she hopes, this performance will not be the last.
"My vision is that we can take the show national," Leigh said. "Eva was from the Washington, D.C. area and I'd like to see this travel into that area, where she was widely known. And I hope that the Skin Cancer Foundation can continue to benefit from it."

- Jedd Beaudoin


Piper Leigh
In the News:
Wichita Downtown Gazette

“Sundays at 4:00 is a new entertainment opportunity for Wichita and will feature some outstanding talent,” says promoter Barney Byard about a new music series at Cabaret Old Town. The third show in the series will be Sunday, March 14th. So far two shows at Cabaret Old Town have played to a full house.

The first featured local songstress Donna Tucker and The New Savoy Band and the other national folk artist Patty Larkin. Up next is an ambitious local production, “The Soul of Eva Cassidy” featuring Piper Leigh performing songs Cassidy recorded during her brief yet inspiring life. Leigh, a native Kansan has big plans. “I want to capture the essence of who Eva was and what made her such an enigma to the recording industry,” says Leigh. “She was a remarkable talent and has inspired me in a number of ways. That’s why this homage to her seems so natural. She was a part of my growth as an artist.”

Cassidy an artist, singer/songwriter died in 1996 at the age of 33 following a painful battle with melanoma. Although she mesmerized industry insiders with everything from mournful Irish ballads to gut-wrenching blues, her eclectic repertoire confused short-sighted label execs and made her difficult to pigeonhole and market. Cassidy, a stubborn and opinionated artist, refused to compromise her music and in the end was shelved by the industry. Although painfully shy and suffering from stage fright she managed to gather a fervent group of fans in the Washington D.C. area with a couple of locally released cds and performances at area venues including the famous Blues Alley. Posthumously that fan based swelled to legions throughout Europe and the U.S with the release of more albums following her death. Dan Rodricks music critic for The Baltimore Sun described Cassidy’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow” capable of “make the impossible happen: I forget about Judy Garland.”

But forgetting that the songbird was taken so early in her career makes this story a profound tragedy. Cassidy underwent outpatient surgery following the discovery of a malignant skin lesion on her back during a routine check-up but neglected her follow-up appointment. Two years later she returned to the doctor complaining of a pain in her hip, but it was too late the cancer had spread and she had only a few months to live. Her preventable death is what hooked local dermatologist, Dr. Chris Moeller. He stepped up to the plate and became a sponsor for “The Soul of Eva Cassidy” when it was decided to turn the Cabaret Old Town performance into a fundraiser for The Skin Cancer Foundation for skin cancer research. “I think Eva would love what we are doing here,” says Leigh. “We are keeping it real and giving back, two things I think Eva cherished.”

Tickets for the event are $15 and can be purchased at Cabaret Old Town by calling 316-265-4400 or online at www.cabaretoldtown.com. - Wichita Downtown Gazette


from Eva Cassidy's web site

Piper Leigh's Eva Cassidy tribute concert, "The Soul of Eva Cassidy," was apparently a big success. Linda Talbott, who has a website "dedicated to the Prevention and Care of Melanoma" at http://www.sunblitz.com, traveled three hours to attend and writes, "What an absolutely fabulous experience it was! The venue was Cabaret Old Town, in a beautifully restored area of downtown, Wichita, Kansas. Piper is exceptionally talented and the audience reception was awesome! Her style of singing as well as her physical appearance is much like Eva's. During her performance one could feel the spirit of Eva surrounding us. Piper spoke to the crowd of some of the similarities in their lives and careers. It was more than a touching moment. Her program of 17 songs included At Last, Autumn Leaves, Wade in the Water, and Fields of Gold. Piper effectively brought the house down with Somewhere Over The Rainbow, and it is safe to say there was not a dry eye in the house!" Piper tells me, "A Wichita dermatologist, Dr. Chris Moeller, contributed $2,000 to sponsor the show - which allowed me to donate 50% of all the ticket sales to The Skin Cancer Foundation!" - Laura Bligh, web master


Piper Leigh performs at Caffe Acoustic

By COURTNEY LEVY
Traveler Correspondent

Delicately strung paper lights overhead and a cool, rainy breeze from the open door contributed to the easygoing mood at Brown's Thursday evening as the final Caffe Acoustic performance of the season played out.

This time, Piper Leigh, an Ark City native and professional singer/songwriter, treated an admiring audience of friends, family and curious strangers to both original and well-known songs.

Leigh graduated Cowley College in 1999, afterwards moving to Oklahoma City, Dallas and finally Wichita. She has been making a living with her music for 10 years now, and this year was her fifth performing at Brown's. In past years, she's performed there with her husband, Mark Bowling, and friend, Tim Durham, as well.

Although her husband could not make it this year, her young son Jess was present, and the audience was treated to a performance by mother and son singing "You Are My Sunshine," which was met with spirited applause. Many of Leigh's pieces focused on motherhood, love and the hard to bear - but harder to admit - feelings that can sometimes accompany each.

"I love playing here," said Leigh after the show. "It's intimate and interactive. The atmosphere just kind of puts you at ease. It's nice."

The Caffe Acoustic concerts are sponsored each year by Cowley College, which funds the program and books the performers; other sponsors included the Home National, Corner and Union State banks. Admittance was free.

Cowley also provided audience members with free drinks, and photography students at the college contributed some of their best works to grace the walls of the cafe, some of which were for sale.

CDs of Leigh's music were made available for $10, featuring original songs such as "1,000 Miles from Sunday" and "Just Like You," accompanied by favorites like "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Audience members were also offered the chance to sign up for a mailing list about future performances and "house concerts" at Leigh's home. More information about Leigh's music can be found at piperleigh.com. - Arkansas City Traveler


‘A NIGHT AT THE CABARET’ TO BENEFIT BURFORD PROJECT
ARKANSAS CITY, KS- Local artist Piper Leigh will present ‘A
Night At The Cabaret’ this Friday, January 20, at 7:00 p.m. in
the Brown Center Theatre on the Cowley College campus. In
company with singer and guitarist Piper Leigh, the show will
also include musicians Tim Durham on the guitar/mandolin,
Dan'l Blackwood playing bass, Max Lyall on piano, Jeff Wood on
percussion, and Harry Muldrow playing Saxophone. Greenjeans
Studios of Wellington, KS, will create a live recording of the
show and audience.
In addition to an exciting night of live entertainment,
the show will also serve as a benefit for the Burford
Community Project in Arkansas City, working towards renovation
of the historical Burford Theatre. Information and updates on
progress will be presented, and a portion of each ticket sale
will be donated to the Burford. The Burford Marketing
Committee will be in the lobby with information for community
Piper Leigh, cont. Page 2
involvement, and will be joined by Brown’s Coffee Shop to
provide goodies, coffee, fudge, and more for sale.
Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and tickets can be purchased at
the door, or at Union State Bank of Arkansas City. Ticket
prices are $15 for adults, $10 for students, and $5 for
children, with $5 of each ticket donated to the Burford
Project. - Arkansas City Traveler


Discography

"A Night at the Cabaret," (2007) is a recording of two Live shows combined for a great enjoy-the-show experience. Some of Piper's original songs, "It Ain't Me," "1,000 Miles From Sunday," and "Down On Beale," are surrounded by such an eclectic collection of styles that there's sure to be something everyone can enjoy. This CD is a window into Piper's versatility as a performer.

“Piper Leigh,” (2009) is Piper’s first solo EP and all her original work (with a hymn as the final track). Many of Leigh's songs focus on motherhood, love and the hard to bear - but harder to admit - feelings that can sometimes accompany each. Versatility and variety is the key on this record – you will definitely hear a blues crooner followed by a tango!

Photos

Bio

Piper Leigh & The Smokin Section will take you on a ride, son! Jumping from Blues to Rock to Reggae, to Soul to Bluegrass, this group is tasteful, grounded in the groove, and loved by hippies everywhere!
Piper's sound has the bluesy, gravel-gargled and earthy feel of Susan Tedeschi or Janis Joplin, while also capturing the emotion and musical adventurism of fellow genre-hopping artist, Eva Cassidy. She is at one moment an explosive force and, the next moment, a smoky chanteuse.

Piper has independently produced two CDs:
"A Night at the Cabaret," is a live recording of 'enjoy-the-show' experience. Her original songs, "It Ain't Me," "1,000 Miles From Sunday," and "Down On Beale," are surrounded by such an eclectic collection of styles that there's sure to be something everyone can enjoy. This CD is a window into Piper's versatility as a performer; and,

Self-titled, Piper Leigh, (2009), is all original work (including a hymn on the final track). Many of these songs focus on motherhood, love and the hard to bear - but harder to admit - feelings that can sometimes accompany each. 

Piper has performed in Wichita KS's esteemed Orpheum Theatre, The Cabaret Old Town Theatre, The Rodeo Club (opening for Phil Vassar) and The Cotillion Ballroom (opening for Jo Bonomossa). In July 2001, she was invited to perform in Ireland with Irish singer/guitarist, Gerry O'Beirne. She recorded a show for National Public Radio at Manheim Steamroller's Omaha recording complex, Studio B, in January 2003. The show debuted on Tom May's NPR program, River City Folk, later that year.
Right now Piper Leigh & The Smokin' Section have a tightness and rhythm that seems unstoppable...oh, that Groove!

Band Members