Autumn in Prescott brings out many festive activities. As leaves fall and temperatures drop, events to celebrate the coming season and Halloween bring about new settings for musicians to showcase their work.
The Harvest Fest on Cortez Street October 16 became a stage for artists of all kinds to display their creations, from food stands to roller skates. The event’s continuous concerts were a key attraction, with Summa Totius, XIXA and other bands delivering just the right mix of ‘spooky,’ rock, and contemporary sounds for plenty of adult fun, plus special attention to the family experience, aided by Stephy Leigh’s music time for kids.
Just weeks before that you could have found Stephy, aka Steph Griffin, playing with The Ghostwood Murder at The Attic downtown, where she debuted her new composition “Two Four Eight.” Before the show she explained that the song’s title is a reference to its uncommon time signature, based on a children’s poem the she taught her students during 16 years of teaching music in elementary schools in Ohio and locally.
“Every song (I write) has some kind of wink to a children’s song or poem. I can’t help it. It comes out naturally.”
Reminiscent of the rhyme “Garden Gate,” “Two Four Eight” outlines a meditation on death in its purest form in the aftermath of the passing of her beloved dog. The song is an example of her translation of children’s education into a personal sound. She describes the often melancholic tone of her music as reflecting her journey as an artist. “When I create sad music, that doesn’t mean I’m sad. It means ‘look at me, I’m putting this sadness here, and making it into art.’”
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Stephy Leigh Griffin is a vocalist with broad knowledge and expertise with many instruments, teaching piano, guitar and ukulele. Since moving to Prescott in 2010 she has performed frequently in duos and trios, often performing her own songs. A classically trained trumpet player, she has accompanied bands allover town to help build their desired sounds, and plays a significant role in the King Copper Jazz Band.
After a break from her own music to focus on accompaniment and, eventually, simple rest, Griffin began playing original work again in 2021, and sees her recent performances as a refreshing recuperation of her folk-Americana sound.
“It feels like coming out of the bottom of a well. It’s good to play again.”
In October her band Stephy Leigh and the Lullaby League performed at The Raven Cafe, delivering a feel-good, soulful show, with vocals from Stephy and harmonist Jenny Kraisn, Nick Canuel on drums, Kyle Bandyon pedal steel and Cosimo Bohrman on bass and occasional backing vocals.
Steph Griffin is a prime example of the potential and working talent that continues to thrive in Prescott and the surrounding area. Her music and contributions to other sounds flow through the veins of the Prescott music scene, keeping audiences coming back for more.
To hear the work of Stephy Leigh Griffin, visit her profile on the Spotify app under her full name. You’ll find updates on coming shows and related news on her Facebook band page, under the same name.