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What's Up Magazine

Live Wire: Local Talent Spotlight & Concerts

Sep 27, 2011 06:02PM ● By Anonymous
In our retooled music column, we put the spotlight on local talent. We also offer the “Playlist,” a condensed selection of notable upcoming performances.

Upon first hearing Sweet Leda’s reggae infused song “Karma,” you’ll be tempted to grab a corona and lime and kick back wherever you may be. The mix of the female lead singer Julie Cymek’s raw sultry toned voice akin to Adele and the band’s laidback prowess comparable to the upbeat rock band The Black Crowes makes Sweet Leda’s sound, sweet and unique following suit from their namesake.

Sweet Leda was the product of love at first sound for lead vocalist Julie Cymek and her bassist husband Jaime Horrigan, who decided to make music together after he heard her sing at a karaoke bar. The couple, who starting their musical venture in early 2001 (formerly known as Bittersweet), has been performing upbeat music--adding well- acclaimed lead guitarist Omar ElDieahy and drummer Don Boyette—ever since. In March of 2011, the band released their passionate freshman album Need the Music, that reflects the events, mishaps, and spirit for life that all of the band’s members share.

“I think the sum of all parts gives us a fairly unique and defined sound,” claims Horrigan. “We all have very different personalities and influences, which over the years have blended together nicely.” The group also attributes a lot of their success to the vocals of their lead singer Julie. “Being a female definitely helps us stand out a bit,” adds Cymek.

Thanks to the southern rock flare of bass guitarist Horrigan, you can hear covers of classics like Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” but with uncommon addition of a strong female vocalist. They take influence from both new artists like John Mayer and India Arie, as well as some oldies like the Beatles.

Their rock, soul and even funk influences are not subtle, and the band members do not hold back their intimacy with the music from their active presence on stage. Their fusionist sound may make you so inclined to stomp your boots before you kick them off after hard days work during one of Horrigan’s impressively controlled guitar riffs.

Their energy makes their performances more than just a show and more of an interactive jam session for their listeners (just ask someone from one of their favorite venues in Annapolis, The Whiskey). “Playing live is great because we get to feed off of the energy of the audience, and every show is different!” says Cymek. So go ahead and practice your air tambourine and catch Sweet Leda on the Shore at the Fish Whistle in Chestertown on October 7th. For more information on the band visit

A selection of notable artists playing area venues.

10/1 The Return at Avalon Theatre, Easton
Beatles tribute band

10/4 & 5 Ben Harper at 9:30 Club, D.C.
Roots rocker, guitarist, songwriter

10/2 Ramblin’ Jack Elliott at Nightcat, Easton
Country folk guitarist

10/9 Maria Muldaur & Her Red Hot Blusiana Band at Nightcat, Easton
Roots music legend

10/12 Leo Kottke at Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis
Innovative acoustic guitar virtuoso

10/13 Gretchen Parlato at Salisbury University, Salisbury
Tour de force vocalist

10/13 Trey Anastasio Band at The Fillmore, Silver Spring
Guitarist/composer of jam rockers Phish

10/14–16 Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at The Meyerhoff, Baltimore
BSO performs the music of Elton John

10/15 Arctic Monkeys at Rams Head Live, Baltimore
Contemporary Brit-pop rock band

10/16 WPOC Sunday in the Country & Josh Turner at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia
Country music’s stars align at this festival

10/18 & 19 Stephen Stills
at Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis
Yes, that Stephen Stills

10/19 Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Avalon Theatre, Easton
New Orleans jazz legend

10/20 Richard Thompson at Maryland Hall, Annapolis
Pioneering folk rocker and balladeer

10/22 India.Arie at the Strathmore, North Bethesda
R&B, pop, world beat composer/vocalist

10/26 The Alash Ensemble at Salisbury University, Salisbury
Vocal quartet from Central Asia

10/27 Medeski, Martin, and Wood at 9:30 Club, D.C.
Fusion/experimental jazz trio

10/28 Los Straightjackets at Avalon Theatre, Easton
Tex/Mex surf rock

10/28 Chuck Prophet at Nightcat, Easton
Rock ‘n’ roll singer/songwriter/guitarist

10/29 & 30 Nils Lofgren at Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis
Lead guitarist, progressive rock