January 31, 2013

Courtesy photo

Leigh Nash and Matt Slocum of Sixpence None the Richer.

Sixpence None the Richer rolls into Maine

By Ray Routhier
Staff Writer

Now that her son is 9 years old, 36-year-old Leigh Nash is diving head-first back into the work force with a very specialized skill set.

Namely, a beautiful voice and a couple of hit records on her resume.

Nash was in her early 20s when, as lead singer of Sixpence None the Richer, she scored a huge hit with the breezy pop song "Kiss Me" in 1998. Soon the band had another hit, a cover of The La's "There She Goes."

By 2004, Nash and the band's other key member, Matt Slocum, had parted professional company. Nash stayed in Nashville with her son, and kept her hand in music with occasional performing and recording.

But the split didn't last -- Nash and Slocum reformed the band in 2007 and released a Christmas album the following year. Last summer, Sixpence None the Richer released its first new album of mostly original material in 10 years, "Lost in Transition," and began to tour behind it. The tour rolls into Maine on Friday, when the band plays at Jonathan's in Ogunquit.

"We're doing about 15 dates right now, which is more than we've done at any one time in eight or nine years," said Nash from Milwaukee, Wis., last week. "I don't feel old, but I've been doing this for 20 years already. It's amazing to me I've been able to do this that long."

Sixpence None the Richer is often categorized as a Christian rock band, but Nash says it's more like they are faithful Christians in a rock band. Some of their songs are overtly spiritual or religious, but many aren't, she said.

"Lost in Transition" has songs that are pretty straight-ahead pop songs about love and relationships, while at least two -- "Give It Back" and "When You Call Me" -- explore issues of faith and spirituality.

"Being Christians certainly comes through in our music, but not overtly in all the songs," said Nash. "We're not keeping it out of our music, either. Some of our songs are overtly Christian."

The band's name comes from a line in a book by C.S. Lewis ("The Chronicles of Narnia") called "Mere Christianity." A boy asks for sixpence from his father to buy a present for him. The father gives the money, he gets the present, and realizes he's none the richer for it.

Fittingly, Nash and Slocum met in church while growing up in a small town near San Antonio, Texas. Nash was in her early teens and had dreams of becoming a solo country singer like her idols, Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn.

But after Slocum heard Nash sing in church, the pair formed a band. And by the time Nash was 15 or 16, the band was making records.

Nash is still a little surprised by the success of "Kiss Me," which was featured in the film "She's All That" (1999) and in the teen TV drama "Dawson's Creek."

"The label really worked to get that song out there, and I guess at the time, it was sort of refreshing and a little unusual compared to some of the other things on the radio," she said.

As for the future, Nash says she and Slocum will take what comes. She's happy to be making music, sharing her faith and being a mother.

"I have a wonderful boy, so taking the time off was great for me," said Nash. "And to know that I've been doing something I love for this long, already in my life, makes me feel very lucky."

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

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