is a folk/Americana songwriter whose remarkable gift for melody is only surpassed by her poetry. A child of the Sonoran Desert, her songs are deeply influenced by the many places she has called home: Tucson, Minneapolis, Durban, and currently Seattle. Sweeping across landscapes with an emotional depth that is extraordinary, her lyrics expose a brave vulnerability while her clear, pure voice touches the heart.
Lepak started writing songs in 2002 while living in Minneapolis. Between 2004 and 2009, she recorded five albums, and in the fall of 2009, she moved to Durban, South Africa with her husband Kale. Her music found an enthusiastic audience, and in 2011, she recorded “Forgiving Wind” which Rolling Stone South Africa hailed as an album full of "beauty and original charm.” Lepak moved to Seattle in 2012 and released her 8th album “Close to Me” in September of 2017. "Close to Me" is a solo project recorded over a weekend in Seattle—just two weeks before her daughter was born!
“This emerging singer-songwriter has a memorable, lilting voice and is already penning songs that could someday be classics. She is an extraordinary young talent." - Tom May, River City Folk
Family legend has it you could hear Avery Hill singing before she even came out. Since then, she has taken a winding road toward her present work in music, all the while developing her singular style of storytelling and songwriting by integrating stories of the past into her observations of life today.
All credit for Avery’s musical studies goes to an unlikely team of divorced parents: her father, who made her first mix tape when she was ten years old and took her on yearly pilgrimages to the various folk festivals of New England; and her mother, who diligently shlepped and paid for every music lesson and instrument from third grade through high school graduation. Avery grew up to a soundtrack of mid-20th century folk and pop music, including The Beach Boys, Judy Collins, Stan Rogers, and everyone in between. When she discovered the folk voices of her own era, she created her own soundtrack of Dar Williams, Anais Mitchell, Girlyman, and Gillian Welch, among others. All of these influences come through in the way she partners her musical compositions with honest and image-based lyrics. As Portland, Oregon event producer Matt Miner suggests: “Think millennial Joni Mitchell with an old soul.”
Though Avery studied to be a school teacher, an environmental educator, and then a storyteller, all of these things eventually led her back to music, the thing she knows and loves best of all. She is now based out of Portland, Oregon, where she teaches music privately, and regularly gets out of town to tour different regions of the country.
- Fans of Mandy Troxel’s music often share the similar story of being swung around by the clear bell of her voice and then rooted to the spot by her lyrics. Americana Troubadour Bill Mallonee describes her this way: “With a folky voice of clarity that reminds one of early Emmylou Harris, Troxel navigates the waters of love lost and found with songs that offer memorable lines, but no easy answers.”
Mandy describes her music with a dash of self-depricating humor, labeling her genre “Country Western Pathetica” and “Island Mama Americana.” After a 10-year hiatus that involved a circuitous route of hurdles and milestones, Mandy returned to the music scene older and wiser with her album “If Only Words Could Keep Me Warm.” Juxtaposing the beauty of her home in the San Juan Islands with the connection and humor of small town living, her songs acknowledge the dark moments in life, while also underlying a certain optimism. “Getting off the rock” (i.e. ferrying off the island) while juggling life with two daughters and a menagerie of critters is a treat for Mandy and offers a rare opportunity of discovery and inspiration for new listeners.
“Mandy Troxel’s songs have the feel of an old friend, pulling the listener into heartfelt conversation with lyrics both wistful and wise.”