Karen Leslie Hall was born in Ottawa, Canada. Deciding at the age of 10 that she should learn to play the guitar to accompany her singing, she was influenced at first by Gordon Lightfoot and Paul Simon, and later by Joni Mitchell and Bruce Cockburn, among others.
Karen is an engaging and charismatic solo performer. Her original songs are melodic and sensitive, with carefully crafted lyrics and richly textured guitar arrangements. Her distinctive style of guitar-playing often features unusual chords and non-standard tunings, in intricate picking patterns or rhythmical, more aggressive playing.
Although she has been playing, singing and performing for many years, Karen's career as a performing songwriter only began in 1993. Since then, Karen has become a regular at folk clubs in Toronto and throughout Southern Ontario, both as feature performer and opening concerts for Connie Kaldor, Garnet Rogers and Ian Tamblyn, to name but a few. She has also performed at several folk festivals, including the Home County Festival and the Eaglewood Earth Festival.
Karen's debut album "On the Dream Road", produced by Don Ross, showcases her singing, playing and writing and features some of Canada's finest musicians. It is a vibrant, engaging recording with a very "live" sound and broad appeal.
Karen has been interviewed on many radio programmes, including a national appearance on CBC's Morningside with Peter Gzowski. She has also appeared on television, including an interview with Bob McAdorey on Global TV's Entertainment Desk.
In 1993, Karen created and ran a highly successful songwriter's series called Summer Song-Along at the Free Times Café in Toronto. Song-Along 1994 was an even bigger success, with events in Toronto and Ottawa and over 80 songwriters taking part. In 1995, Karen organized The Great Canadian Song-Along, which had about 200 songwriters from across Canada writing a whole slew of new songs!
What a few of her fellow musicians say:
"It's a rare thing to discover a songwriter who can blend such a great sense of melody, intelligent lyrics, and stellar guitar playing."
"Karen has a wonderful voice and a fresh, invigorating songwriting style. Given the right kind of exposure, she should become a major musical force."
"Karen Leslie Hall is a talented songwriter with a dynamic guitar style and a gentle voice... she's great!"
"Nothing but lack of exposure should keep this formidable tunesmith from becoming a household name."
"A superb guitarist with plenty of talent. A must-see!"
"It's heartening to hear songwriting like Karen's: thoughtful and well-crafted."
"Do yourself a favor, and listen to the music of Karen Leslie Hall."
Rick Fielding, host of CIUT's Acoustic Workshop
Go to the Karen Leslie Hall Home Page