Chris Leslie (folk musician)
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Chris Leslie performing at Fairport's Cropredy Convention 2014
15 December 1956 |
Banbury, Oxfordshire England
|Genres||Folk, Folk rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Violin, Mandolin, Bouzouki, Ukulele, Banjo Dulcitar, Oud, Native American Flute, Portuguese guitar, Tenor guitar, Whistles|
|Associated acts||Fairport Convention, Albion Band, Feast of Fiddles, St Agnes Fountain, Whippersnapper|
|Chris Leslie Signature 'F Model' Ozark Mandolin|
Leslie grew up in Banbury, Oxfordshire. His brother John steered him toward The Watersons' Frost and Fire, Dave Swarbrick, and The Corries. In 1969 he began to teach himself fiddle and modelled himself on the fiddle-playing of Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Convention, Peter Knight of Steeleye Span, and Barry Dransfield.
Leslie made his first recording at the age of 16, with a Banbury based electric folk band and then went on to forge a successful career around the folk clubs with his brother John - cutting their first album, "The Ship of Time" in 1976. During this period he was also the fiddle player for The Hookey Band and a member of the morris dancers at Adderbury. It was around this time that he first came to the attention of Fairport's Dave Pegg.
From 1981-1983 Chris Leslie studied violin making, under the watchful eye of maker Patrick Jowett, at the Newark School of Violin Making in Nottinghamshire, England. He currently (2010) plays the second fiddle he made at Newark on stage with Fairport Convention and as well as his other bands.
Since then he has worked with Whippersnapper, the Albion Band, All About Eve, Simon Mayor and Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull). In 1981 he contributed to a cassette tape produced by CND. It was called "Demo Tape" and had limited distribution. Also on the tape were songs by Fairport Convention. At the Cropredy Festival 1981, Steve Ashley and Chris Leslie performed as a duo. In 1983 he contributed to "More Demo Tapes", again a cassette for CND. He accompanied Steve Ashley on the song "Down By the Embankment" on the album "All Through The Year" (1991). This was a compilation of original tracks. He appeared on "People on the Highway" (Bert Jansch tribute album, 2000). There were other appearances on Steve Ashley albums (see discography). In 2003, Chris played violin on several tracks from Mostly Autumn's album Passengers. In late 2007 he recorded violin and mandolin parts on Dan Crisp's debut album 'Far From Here'.
With Fairport and solo albums
In 1997 he joined Fairport Convention as singer and multi-instrumentalist. He has recorded three solo albums - The Flow, The Gift and Dancing Days (2004). At first sight Dancing Days appears to be a Fairport Convention album, as it features Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Ashley Hutchings and Ric Sanders. However, each of these artists appears only in a sequence of duos with Leslie. He has also recorded a collaboration with Ashley Hutchings - Grandson of Morris On (2004).
In 2009, Leslie worked with Ozark to design his own signature f-style mandolin. Ozark have recently put the new mandolins on the market. Leslie himself plays the mandolin on stage with Fairport Convention and St Agnes Fountain.
Appearances with Steve Ashley
- The Test of Time (1999),
- Everyday Lives (2001)
- Live in Concert (2006).
- The Hookey Band
- Adderbury Morris tunes at the Wayback Machine (archived October 1, 2006), including two written and performed by Chris Leslie
- Chris Leslie Signature 'F Model' Ozark Mandolin
- Chris Leslie on CND tapes