Hello, lovely site visitors! I'm Tara-Leigh's pal Christine, and I've taken over to give you the True Hollywood Story on this singer/songwriter from the backwoods of Tennessee! But first, let me paint a little picture for you.
I was on the road with Tara-Leigh for a few days in early 2003, shortly after we became friends. She had sweetly obliged and allowed me to be the "merch girl" for three shows in two days. We set off on our overnight journey from Nashville to New Jersey with Tara-Leigh at the wheel.
And just like any typical road trip partner with good intentions, I passed out in the passenger's seat sometime after midnight. Several hours later, I awoke at sunrise to an image I will never forget. Next to me was a completely perky Tara-Leigh, not the least bit weary from driving 13 hours straight through the night, leaning forward on the edge of the driver's seat with a huge smile on her face, singing at the top of her lungs. That, in a nutshell, is Tara-Leigh. The girl just loves life. CALLED TO SMALLNESS...
Tara-Leigh will go to any length to share her music and to use this medium to show people love. Whether it's driving through the night across three states to make it to a small show for a group of college students or engaging in an hour-long conversation with a complete stranger, Tara-Leigh loves better than most people I know -- and particularly, one by one.
For example, she told me recently that she had played one of the most difficult concerts of her career. I asked what went wrong, then expressed my own dismay at the apparently "rude" crowd who was watching TV instead of listening. But her response reminded me that the importance of that show was not in the size of the crowd or in how great she looked from stage. She explained, "God didn't want me at that concert to make me to feel good about myself. I was able to talk to a guy afterwards who really needed to hear God's love for him that night." The irony is that Tara-Leigh's calling to "smallness" and loving people well is actually what makes her most loveable. THE GIRL,... THE PARADOX.
Within a few hours of meeting Tara-Leigh, you will experience many of her charming quirks and qualities, causing you to wonder how on earth she can be so "everyday" yet so "one of a kind." Here are a few of my favorites:
She's laid-back; but she's full of life. She's reverent; but she can break the silence in a room with her passionate, open-throated laugh. She has no problem gutting a duck; but if something is close to her heart, she can cry at the drop of a hat (like the first time she saw the Statue of Liberty). She has been to my house tons of times, but somehow manages to almost break something in the bathroom every time. And how many other girls do you know who can nonchalantly talk about shooting a gun with a kick that could blow your shoulder off and the next moment walk into the room wearing a pair of stilettos and a skirt?
She loves Jesus and football and watching the news and cliff-jumping (even though she busted her eardrum while doing it) and driving that Toyota Camry into the ground. She loves intellectual books and insightful people and anything fun. She has the most endearing nicknames for her friends, like "Sarcastic Paul," "Eye Candy Andy," "Suz Clues," and "Hello Stiney" (that's me).
But more importantly, she is one of the few friends I have who can speak blatant truth to me in a moment of rebellion and lovingly keep at it until it sinks in. No matter what time of the day or night, I'm always glad to see her at my door. And I always do whatever I can to make her stay.ABOUT HER MUSIC...
Well, it's pretty simple. Have you ever seen someone drink in the fullness of life from behind a microphone? That's Tara-Leigh on stage. She closes her eyes, tilts back her head, and her wonderfully scratchy vocals wrap themselves around a rock anthem dedicated to all the glories of God's creation. A few minutes later, in true paradoxical Tara-Leigh style, she sings a jazzy ballad that will make you weep. Her music is a little tender, a lot gutsy, and never anything less than truthful. The result is contagious joy, and you will leave her concert smiling. And just like Tara-Leigh's exuberant laugh, you'll wish it would never, ever end.
-Christine PiccioneGrassroots Music