Leah Belle Faser Crosses Into Earshot

At age 15, Leah Belle Faser has the poise and presence of a seasoned professional. That said, there’s a refreshing sparkle and glow to her gifts, a soft breeze of optimism that adulthood too often stifles. The singer-songwriter’s debut EP, Crossing Hermi’s Bridge, paints familiar scenes and situations of small-town life, detailing them in a personal manner short of giving away too much, and without succumbing to the assembly line of clichés predominant in so much of modern country music. Her fetching, disarming voice is coupled with full musical backing on the seven original songs, including her brother Hoke lending backup vocals on three of them.

Out October 16, the EP’s title references a pedestrian bridge over the Chattahoochee River in Fulton County, originally built for vehicles in 1904, that was renamed in 1984 for Hermione Alexander, a beloved local figure active in the civil rights movement (as well as the county’s first female jury commissioner), after she was killed when the car in which she and her husband were traveling was struck head-on by a teenaged drunk driver. “The plaque on the bridge reads, ‘She built bridges across gulfs of prejudice and ignorance,’” notes Faser, “and that is something that I hope to do in my life through music or in whatever way I can.” On Oct. 17 she’ll open for Mark Miller for two performances at Eddie’s Attic, a show originally scheduled for April.

Photo by Deborah Celecia Wagoner.