Last Halloween I attended the Dead Musicians open mic at the Honey Moon Meadery in the alley behind Peppers Sisters on North State Street, and I was much impressed by a singer and guitarist who did an astonishing impression of Amy Winehouse.
So I immediately friended her (she's Lexxii Leigh) and her accompanist, Michael Partlow, on Facebook. I recently heard back from him about their move to Bellingham last fall and what has happened since their arrival.
Back in September, Michael, a transplant from Atlantic City, N.J., was looking for a new acoustic partner to play the gigs he had booked with his former guitarist. Michael was fishing for prospects via Facebook and came across a young lady who fit everything he needed, he thought. That person was Lexxii Leigh.
Lexxii had been in the Bellingham area for roughly 2 1/2 weeks; she was making the rounds to all the open mics in the area and people were taking notice, Michael says.
Originally from Peoria, Ill., Lexxii migrated to the Northwest to play music and be near her extended family in Whatcom County.
Michael and Lexxi had met just one time for a short rehearsal at Michael's apartment, but from there things got really interesting, he says.
Their first gig was Sept. 13 at the Nooksack River Casino's lounge, The Eddy. At that time they were called Michael & Lexxii, but they changed their band name that night.
With four sets of material playing Lexxii's originals, as well as some cover songs, Michael says they "wowed" the audience, and had an "awesome time" doing it.
Thus their duo, "We are Awesome, featuring Lexxii Leigh" was born.
In the four months they have been together, they have played quite a few local gigs, including open mics at the Green Frog, Wild Buffalo, the Majestic and at Shakedown.
They've also performed again at The Eddy, as well as at Chair 9, The Cabin Tavern, and the DoggHouse and Draft Pic's Sports Bar in Mount Vernon.
Here's their schedule for January and February.
Friday, Jan 17., at The Nooksack River Casino's Eddy lounge in Deming, 6 to 10 p.m.
Saturday, Jan 18, at The Cabin Tavern, appearing with The J.P. Falcon Band, 9 p.m.
Jan 31 at The Rockfish Grill & Anacortes Brewery in Anacortes, 8 to 11 p.m.
Feb 7 at The Dogghouse Bar & Grill Mt Vernon, 9 p.m. to midnight
Details: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelandLexxii, 360-306-0795
BENEFIT, PURCHASES HELP TR RITCHIE WITH MEDICAL EXPENSES
Here's one more reminder about the benefit for musician TR Ritchie who, like many musicians, is without a lot of extra cash on hand for medical hurdles he's experiencing.
If you can't attend the concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, but want to support the TR Ritchie Medical Fund, contact Tracy Spring at AziZSpring@aol.com.
Here's what TR says on his Facebook page (used with his permission):
"All my income comes from music - ponder that in this age of ripped CDs, disappearing venues and dwindling radio support for songwriters. I have never enjoyed the flush of being a flavor-of-the-month artist; my music and performance are deliberately understated. I prefer subtlety to flamboyance. I am easily overlooked as an artist. An aging white guy with a guitar.
That doesn't mean I'm not good at my craft, because I am very good at it. But I've also never been much of a businessman when it comes to the nuts and bolts of making a living.
Still, I have supported myself for 30 years with my music, because I have not let money stand in the way of living a good life. I can make a good life out of almost nothing. Ask anyone who knows me. I don't think I've ever grossed over $18K per year. Grossed. Out of that I record and manufacture my CDs, publish my book, support my touring, and pay my expenses.
I have never had much money. I will never have much money. I decided to be a troubadour poet instead. That was my bargain, but not with the devil - no, by god - that was my bargain with Beauty. Truth be told, I COULD use some support in this time, but not charity.
If you want to help, both financially and artistically, go to my website, trritchie.com, and purchase five or however many copies of my book and CDs. Gift them to people that you know love the way words and music are put together. Send my art into the world, and if by chance I am able to walk through this fire, I will live in the light of your grace.
And if things go the other way, I am arranging beforehand to foot the bill for however grand a party that loot can generate.
Lastly, I have been reminded in recent weeks just how wide is my community of friends, and how big their hearts. I want each of you to know that you do, individually, continually, have an enormous impact on the lives of those you know. I will keep you updated on my progress as I can; meanwhile I intend to spend as much time as I can outside in my beloved wilds, for nature is my true home and the big trees are my brothers."
Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or email@example.com.