A few weeks ago I attended a demo listening paty as part of my first official assignment as an intern at Tampa's Creative Loafing magazine. There were three budding groups/musicians that shared the best of their demos with a group of CL editors and local music buffs.
While everyone delivered great performances--17-year-old Dominique Pecchio (who goes under the music moniker of The Sepia Sound) absolutely charmed me when she dropped her pick and bashfully bent down to get it--Aleshea Harris' thought-provoking poetry and honey-drenched vocals were enough to make me melt into my seat.
Aleshea's demo, "Back Roads," was clearly an anti-war sentiment, but it never came off as preachy. The room fell silent as she effortlessly sang a three-song set of spoken-word soul. Aleshea earned her degree in theatre from the University of Southern Mississippi and has spent most of her adult life working as an actress, poet and songwriter. She recently began incorpoating guitar in her performances to more effectively promote herself as an artist. She's a perfectly adept guitar player, but her presence as a live performer lies in her voice. Her husky alto reminded me of a young Odetta and, truthfully, the subtle way she bent her notes was pure bliss to my ears.
Aleshea also devotes her time to music education. She founded Bag of Beans Productions-- an endeavor to foster creativity in young minds by holding various workshops in classrooms and organizations.
Head over to Aleshea's MySpace to purchase he EP Back Roads or her most recent release No Gun--a mix of poetry and song.