Classic and Fresh

I’m a storyteller rooted in folk and country traditions but blooming in the present. I explore complex ideas but communicate directly and clearly. My music tackles universal human experiences like death, love, and the passing of time – with an infusion of classic country’s dry humor. I’m a folky at heart, but I try to steer clear of the plodding, repetitive blandness that sometimes is associated with the genre. I keep my music and performances fresh with variety – variety of structure, tempo, attitude and delivery. I try to model The Decembrists and Buffy Sainte-Marie in that no two of my songs are the same, and I pepper my live performances with favorite audience covers from folk,  rock and classic country. A Kira Lesley show is like meeting up with an old friend, and making new ones.

 I was born and raised in the City of Roses (Portland, Oregon). I had the privilege of sharing a stage with members of Pink Martini–even having them back my choir on two songs I wrote and performed! I’m a graduate student in Public History and my other research interests include addiction, mental health and religion. These currents run through my music. 

My biggest musical influences thus far are The Decembrists, Damien Jurado, Joan Baez, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt and Loretta Lynn. There are many others whose work I enjoy tremendously, like Fairport Convention and Flying Burrito Brothers.

The genres I most closely align myself with include American folk music, British folk music, and classic country and Americana. Thank you for visiting my site, I truly appreciate it.





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