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Lenny Lashley proves there is strength in vulnerability. Five Great Egrets features all the hallmarks of the singer/songwriter; introspection, integrity, accountability, longing, and what he deems is the record’s strongest theme; positivity.
“This record feels very powerful and with a light at the end of the tunnel mentality. One of the primary purposes of songwriting is creating something that a listener identifies with, and that they relate to. With the work I put in with this record, I’m confident I can evoke positive reactions,” stated Lashley.
As an acoustic writer and performer, Lashley was quick to state a performer must evoke confidence onstage because there is nothing surrounding them. The intimacy of instrument and vocals can prove challenging but Lashley feels Five Great Egrets stands as his most powerful and challenging record to date.
“I’m coming off 7 years of sobriety and that’s something very important to me. With sobriety, I’m slowly learning how to get rid of my inner critic because it doesn’t serve any positive purpose. When you struggle to earn sobriety you have that shame and guilt and you also beat yourself up. I was also doing that while being trying to be creative, but it didn’t help my recovery. Letting go of the inner critic translated to learning to love myself more and that was helping me creatively while I was also healing,” reflected Lashley.
With an extensive career as a solo artist and an 8-year stint with Street Dogs, Lashley has proven himself to be a formidable songwriter that keeps evolving with every subsequent endeavor. He reflected on his tenure in Street Dogs and the beloved group’s surprising 2020 disbandment.
“People genuinely miss the band, they had great support from fans. I hope to bring my best to the table and on the last record, Stand For Something or Die For Nothing, I wanted to carry on their great tradition while also contributing. I loved the freedom that I could share my songwriting. Every band or project has a finite lifespan and perhaps stepping away can create a whole new vigor and desire,” said Lashley.
Asked if Street Dogs are planning a reunion to make up for the final shows being canceled, Lashley simply said nothing has really come up but “Never say never but I’d have to defer to Mike McColgan and Johnny Rioux to answer something like that.”
Lashley is currently working on booking more dates in support of Five Great Egrets, citing he gave it his all to bring the record to fruition and it deserved strong tour support.
“It’s been a long time coming and it did kind of deplete me. You look at how much emotional effort it takes to write your best and then the finances it takes to record and release it. I don’t look at things like this in strictly financial terms. If I am putting my all into something, I keep going and see it thru and if this was to be my last record, I will know I have done it the best I could,” he stated.
Asked to further evaluate his current record and share an aspect of performance he has worked to evolve, Lashley sighed deeply before stating he feels more confident as a singer.
“Vocally, I have tended to really beat myself up about it. I practice a lot to really work to maximize the results. I feel I have better vocal control and in the studio, doing so many takes, I feel my voice is stronger now. Between vocal warm-ups and other regiments, I feel I’m singing better. It also helps that I haven’t smoked in 9 years,” he laughed.
Lashley continues working to create positive connections with his songwriting and he has leveraged social media to form connections with supporters, from posting in-home performance sessions or sharing his knowledge gained from earning sobriety. His desire to share imperfect and impromptu performances stands in marked contrast to his more measured responses during interviews.
“Social media has been very helpful. If I post a song and someone messages me that it made some kind of impact, I know there’s even more value to making the effort. I know the playing doesn’t have to be perfect but it can still be impacting. If I can share a personal experience or a song that somehow takes their mind off the calamity that is the Earth we live on, that’s a good thing,” he laughed.
Five Great Egrets will be released courtesy of Omerta, and according to Lashley, a most-fitting home due to his lengthy relationship with the founders.
“We go back years and look at each other like family. They have been nothing but supportive of me and this is the right place for my record. I love all those guys at Omerta and in turn, they treat me in kind. I’m proud of this record and it took all my resources to get it out. It deserves nothing less than for me to continue doing everything I can to support it,” concluded Lashley.
Photo: Jonathan Buckley
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