Like many strong-willed rural women Lexi Len has spent a good portion of her life raising children and hounds, as well as collecting geodes from the creek beds in Southern Indiana and hunting morels every spring with a conviction that approaches religious fervor. And like a rarer few of those strong women she has given herself over to boldly speaking the plain truth through her hard-edged and lovely original songs.
Lexi began writing songs when she was only eight years old after her father, himself a rock and country musician, gave Lexi her first guitar. John’s household was a lively scene for a budding young musician entranced by the music made by her father and uncle and their friends as they practiced for the local gigs they played most weekends. Lexi recalls running down the stairs and hopping up on a milk crate to join in singing Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl,” which she figured was meant for her on account of her own brown eyes. Sweet times for a young kid surrounded by spirited live music.
Things got a bit discordant as Lexi advanced into her teenage years. The memory still lingers of a big fight she had with her father. Dad thought she had the makings of a fine country singer; Lexi was more interested in punk rock. The music ground to a halt when her father died tragically when Lexi was only fifteen. Music lost some of its shine. She became a mother at seventeen and like her greatest musical inspiration Loretta Lynn she had “more babies than hands” by the time she was twenty.
However, the lure of music proved strong and around the time her youngest child was two Lexi pulled her dad’s old Goya guitar out of the closet and started making up songs again. But what might have been cause for celebration became the prelude to more troubles as Lexi’s then husband discovered he could not be content with a woman who could not be content with only being a housewife and mother. Lexi’s songwriting took flight as her marriage disintegrated. Some of Lexi’s most potent and poignant songs, such as “The Junkie’s Wife’s Blues” bear witness to Lexi’s determination to transcend those troubled times.
At present Lexi is still raising kids and hounds, and harvesting wild mushrooms and geodes. She’s still harvesting songs. And like the geodes she collects, Lexi’s songs look a little rough and hard-edged at first glance, but if you can find a way inside those songs – crack them open as it were – you’ll find crystal purity and subtle colors that reflect the environment the songs grew up in. In recent years Lexi has found a group of likeminded musicians to help give shape to her words and music, to cast light and color on the rough-and-tumble songs she creates. These days she measures her success in the love of her children, in the intensity and joy of the collaboration among her adoptive musical family, and by the devotion of her followers, many of whom find in Lexi’s songs a voice and a source of inspiration they may not be able to articulate for themselves.
For those of you who have heard Lexi’s music this short biographical sketch is likely unnecessary: the depth of emotion in her songs tells her story in its own profound way. If you haven’t heard Lexi yet you owe it to yourself to give her a listen. You won’t be disappointed.