Feeling the Music at The Listening Room

October 22, 2017

They are called The Hussy Hicks and they are from Australia. Two exceptional and beautiful creatures unlike any other I have known. They are at the top of their game in the music and they have hearts as pure as gold. Julz Parker and Leesa Gentz are true friends that would do anything for anyone in need if they can figure a way. 


When I see them in person it just feels good to be standing in their presence. They are cordial and peaceful. They are simple, basic people that judge no one and make the effort to get along with everyone. For me, when they walk in a room, the tension that existed before they walked in, simply melts away. The air around them is filled with the good vibes they carry in with them.


On this night they were going to play at one of my favorite venues in Mobile. It is The Listening Room, owned and operated solely by Jim Pennington. I have known Jim for years but since he opened The Listening Room I have come to know him more. This man is genuine when he says he wanted a place where musicians can be heard. A place where they are revered and respected. A place where people are there to hear their words and the stories of how each song came to life. You get to hear the  songwriter’s heart and soul as he or she bares it for all to see. 


In The Listening Room you don’t just HEAR the songs, you FEEL them. Now you know where the writer’s heart was when writing it and your depth of understand each song is greater. From that night on in The Listening Room, when you hear the song, you remember the story behind it.


The Hussy Hicks brought two additional musicians with them this time as they toured across our great land. They had Christie Lenee who is originally from Tampa Florida area, moved to Philadelphia to be closer to New York. She currently calls Nashville her home but has a producer who is also a renowned songwriter in Australia. His name is Rick Price. She met the Hussy Hicks while in Australia. Christie is a phenomenal guitarist.


Also they were joined this night at The Listening Room by Daniel Champagne. Daniel is an Australian musician and songwriter. He plays the guitar like no one else. It becomes a percussion instrument in addition to a stringed instrument when in his hands. You will have to see him live to fully grasp what he does with his guitar.


The four of them took the stage and it electrified the room. There were more standing ovations that night that any musician could ever imagine. The night was alive with feeling. It is what live music should be.


Leesa can hold her own with any female vocalist I have ever heard, live or on tape. The thing that makes her special is not her absolute beauty (which she is truly a beauty), it is not just her voice that is riveting, it is her soul. Leesa FEELS the music deep inside. She takes you, the audience, on that path with her so that you can feel it too! She has a super natural talent  for pulling her audience into the moment like no other I have seen.


Julz is one of the best, if not the best, guitarist in the world. She is a great singer, she is a percussionist, she is electric on the stage….Her abilities on that guitar are unmatched. Sometimes as I watch her fingers move on those strings, they go so fast they blur. Julz Parker is a force to be reckoned with for sure.


The audience was filled with fabulous local, regional musicians. At the urging of Julz and Leesa, many took the stage to back up The Hussy Hicks on a song or two. They are: Donna Hall Foster, Kristy Lee, Lisa P. Mills, Eric Erdman. I don’t believe I can recall seeing all of these awesome singers sharing the same microphone before this night. This microphone had to be working overtime to handle that many powerful voices at once. The night was so charged and exciting, I think it thrilled them to be a tiny part of this rare show.


The Listening Room was filled. It was filled with music lovers who came to hear music. And hear music we did. It was a night that will not soon leave us. We will cling to it until the next time, keeping the music alive as we replay the exuberance of the music they created that night.


I believe everyone there was happy for 3 straight hours. No one was concerned about politics, no one stopped to think of anything else but the music that was offered up to us. It was what music should be...a trip to carefree, deeply moving feelings that led us to a night we will not forget at The Listening Room.


Thank You Hussy Hicks (Julz Parker and Leesa Gentz), Thank You Christie Lenee and Daniel Champagne. Most of all  Thank You Jim Pennington for providing a place for music loving people to HEAR the music and the stories behind it.


Juanita Smith                      

Music Mom                             Julz Parker and Leesa Gentz



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