Leslie Frederick,
In Search of the Rainbow
(self-produced, 1999)

Leslie Frederick definitely deserves an "A" for effort for her self-produced music collection In Search of the Rainbow. The 18-song CD is a companion to Leslie's 620-page self-published autobiography about her dozen years on the road. Since I become nauseous at the thought of any self-analysis of my own life, I really admire her endeavors.

This 40-something woman in denim with waist-long hair and an acoustic guitar is the epitome of what many people visualize when they hear the word "folksinger." Leslie has turned her fantasy into a full-time occupation by performing at any venue where "inspiration and motivation are needed." Now settled in Michigan, she offers her original music to seniors, kids and anyone in between at festivals, fairs, rallies, coffeehouses, private parties, nature centers, parks, libraries and senior centers.

On In Search of the Rainbow, Leslie Frederick's warm and pleasant alto voice is predominantly accompanied by her own chord strumming on the acoustic guitar. She has included another live musician on about half of the songs for the addition of lead guitar, harmonica, piano or mandolin. She recorded her songs directly to her computer hard drive and, with the help of music production software, added the sounds of a few other instruments on several tracks. Musically, the songs are not that different from each other, but they serve effectively as listenable vehicles for the communication of the writer's opinions, sentiments and experiences.

An interesting feature of Leslie Frederick's website is an index of lyrics by subject. Her listed subjects include: Evolution of Consciousness, Inspirational, Goofy, Change, Mid-life Crisis, Creativity, Motivation, Older and Wiser, Worry, Grief, Self-esteem, and Recovery. Most of her songs are listed in more than one category, but this list gives you an idea of the content and intent of her lyrics. They are personal musings meant to reach out to anyone who has ever had a similar experience, joy or disappointment.

What busy homeowner couldn't relate to this feeling: "I've got twenty minutes maybe less, and my basement is a mess. So I'll only clean one pile, I guess. One pile at a time." Other sentiments, such as this one from "I'm Not Cool," are amusing: "Don't have no cleavage except when I am fat and now you say my mini van is just not where it's at." A line from "Been There Done That" is an insightful comment on the masses: "Quick fixes, cure-alls, placating our fears. We blame all our leaders and cover our mirrors." It is Leslie's words that will get your attention.

Leslie's mission as a folksinger is to entertain, empower and educate. I'll bet that many people who encounter her feel touched by one or more of those goals. If you run into Leslie and her guitar, give her a hand and throw money because, although you may not be stopped dead in your tracks by instrumental prowess or unearthly vocals, you can't help but appreciate this hard-working, real woman who is living her dream.

[ by Valerie Fasimpaur ]
Rambles: 25 May 2002