At peace with his musical journey
Lennox Fleary could play chords before he ever played a guitar.
As a child living on the Caribbean island of Grenada, Fleary drew lines on his cricket bat to imitate guitar frets. By the time his father gave him a real guitar, he already knew the fingering for a few chords.
Now, after 15 years of gigs and recording session, the singer/songwriter is embracing the spirit of that 8-year-old strumming a cricket bat.
“What I’ve come to know is, I love music,” said Fleary, 42, of Sheridan. “That kid didn’t care who came to the show. I’m going back to that.”
Fleary headlines an all-ages, no-alcohol show Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Wildwood Hotel in Willamina, along with “The Song Circle,” featuring Amanda Christine, Scott Maclean and Ida Jane. The show starts at 8 p.m. and has a $3 cover.
It will be Fleary’s final concert for a while. He is taking a break from live shows to focus on studio recording in 2013.
Fleary moved to Los Angeles when he decided to try to make it as a professional musician. He compared to his early career to putting together Legos. First, he had to build confidence on stage, something he found challenging at first but now loves. He said it took time to increase his skill level with the guitar and as a songwriter. He also had to find a balance between his artist’s desire and the realities of business.
“I had to convince myself it wasn’t selling out if I was getting paid to do it,” he said.
Fleary recorded one full-length album in L.A., “My Father’s House.” There were many this-is-gonna-be-it moments, but none materialized into a career. He admitted the interview for this article was his first.
Since moving to Sheridan, Fleary has recorded several singles. He released an EP of the single, “Sounds Like Humans,” last year. Two of the tracks feature the Humlie Trio of McMinnville, with whom he plays often.
His gigs these days are mostly split among wineries and worship services. Fleary is the son of an Adventist minister, and he has continued the tradition. He said he likes to sit and talk with his audiences, and Saturday’s show will include that element.
Fleary’s faith is just a part of his music.
“I feel like Jesus was a regular guy. I mean to write songs where my beliefs are embedded but don’t club you over the head,” he said.
He said his pieces carry a common thread of blues and jazz. His soulful voice also lends itself to rhythm and blues and chamber pop. (He approved of my description of “Sit For A While” as chamber soul.)
Saturday’s concert wasn’t originally planned to be his last of the year, but events unfolded that way. He said it will be a nice chapter-turner in his musical career.
With the spirit of that 8-year-old boy and his cricket-bat-turned-practice-guitar, Fleary said he is certainly at peace with his musical journey, and with the Legos he continues to fit together.
Ossie Bladine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.