Word has reached Rocks Off that veteran Houston singer-songwriter Leslie Newman has succumbed to leukemia. According to sources at Last Concert Café, Newman died around 8 a.m. Monday morning.
Apparently Newman's condition worsened considerably three days ago and he had been unable to eat since.
Newman held down a regular singer-songwriter night at Last Concert Café the past few years, and was noted for his many songs with a distinct local flavor. Writing about former Oilers owner Bud Adams, Newman wrote the hilarious but telling indictment: "He's got a new approach/ He's hired Hitler for his quarterback/ And Satan for his coach."
Local music historian Dr. Roger Wood reviewed Newman's eponymous 2000 album for these pages. The songs were similar to Townes Van Zandt's work - perhaps a little too similar - but, Wood wrote, "to make a confession, the songs get better the more you listen to 'em."
"Newman's self-titled CD unceasingly emphasizes his stylistic kinship to Van Zandt. It's there in Newman's aw-shucks vocal delivery, an unschooled and wavering baritone drawl that occasionally sounds like a Van Zandt impersonation.
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"Might be the old Oilers fan in you, who knows, but there's something here in Leslie Newman that works," Wood concluded. "Heck, you might even find yourself singing along to a few tunes. Call it Bayou City folk music for the 21st century."
Arrangements are pending.