Sunday, September 21, 2003
Lea's CD Release Party September 16, 2003 at Institute for Musical Traditions Silver Spring MD
Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer were singing here the last time I came to IMT. We're About Nine were so proud to open for the incredible duo, and I sat with another pair of singer-songwriters, Rick and Audrey, and talked with them about poetry and music. I now think of Dave Carter and how I will see brave Tracy on Wednesday at the Jammin Java. She is continuing to bring his music to the world.
This is Lea's CD Release Party the announcer says. And she is also part of a funk band Zeala (oh is that what Zeala is, a funk band.)
Lea, dressed in a white shirt and black pants, opens with an acapella rendition of hymn about love and spirit.
There is a sweet stillness in the room which she breaks with a disclaimer. This was announced as a night to focus on her, but Lea says "I am bringing so many people up on stage with me, I'll be lost in the crowd". She begins with invoking the memory of people not here and dedicates love from this concert to the memory of someone, perhaps a musician, who passed last weekend.
Lea tells us people ask her how long she has been playing and singing. She says forever. She was part of the Jones Family Gospel Singers. They have gotten back together for the first time in maybe 5 years to perform tonight. When they come on stage I see they all have on white blouses or shirts and black skirts or pants. This is a choir and Lea is a member!
A woman (who turns out to be Sandra Morris, Lea's mother), says the Jones Family Gospel Singers started about 50 years ago , when she was 6, and they toured from New York up and down the east coast to the South and back. And, no Lea singing from birth, she was singing before birth (her Mom should know!).
I sit in awe at the rich sound, and precision harmonies, timing, presentation of a couple of spirituals which include: I'm Going Home on the Morning Train and Christian Automobile.
After the thundering applause, the group may need to reconsider their decision some years ago to quit touring!
Lea introduces us to the family choir she was born into, and started singing with as soon as she could create syllables. They are: Uncle – Layton Jones, Aunt – Iantha Jones, Aunt – Olivia Mallory, and Mom – Sandra Morris. Lea acknowledges her dad in the audience, and Grandmother Bertha Jones.
But after the choir sits down, Lea takes off her white shirt, and now has on a more revealing little black top and black pants.
She tells us at some point she lost her last name (Morris). Well her last name is on her driver's license. And Lea can claim to be a star. As a friend told her "you know Lea, we are already stars, it just people haven't figured it out yet."
Lea's songs include (and I am not sure of the titles so I included some of the lyrics):
Monarch - "the souls of American girls, were all hungry for love". Great song Lea!
"My old man used to rock out with the band, play the horn"
Lea's Dad told her never to give up on her dreams, but as a mom now, she is not sure what to tell her own daughter Laela. First Laela said "I want to be a bird", then was it "a penguin", then "a basketball player", more recently "a singer". Laela leaves Lea speechless!
"Watch me now…looking for a little love…I'm a supervona"
Let it go
"She never listens to the rain…to her heart….loose the pain until I open my heart"
Inspired by listening to Dave Matthew's song Gravedigger, Lea wrote this song:
"Your hands are singing…you were born to fly – we're all spinning here.
"How did we make it? …we are one…live for your faith not your fears"
After the Break – some – not all – members of Zeala join Lea on stage. This band's look is Avril and Aura in dusty red shirts and black pants and Cheryl and Lea in all black
Lea and accompanied by Avril on Mandolin
It's Been a Long Time – accompanied by Avril on a very tall bass, Aura on vocals, and Cheryl Terwilliger on trumpet
I regrettably turn into a pumpkin tonight and have to leave early. I am so glad I came and so grateful for the part of this concert I heard. And I understand that a singer-songwriter in the audience is writing up tonight's concert for a local newspaper, and when that article is published I will add the link here.