If you like dark alt-country/folk with a bit of gothic, and gospel, Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots, hailing from Denver, Colorado, is a band worth listening to. The most common themes of the songwriting include religion, violence and dysfunctional relationships. Some reviewers call Munly’s lyrics/music “a thinkin’ man’s country music”. You can decide when you see the lyrics of some of his songs. The lyrics of the Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots album have been thoroughly scrutinized and analyzed, perhaps because Jay Munly has a master’s degree in modern English literature from Columbia University and it shows.
I introduced the band in 2006 to a friend who was visiting from Australia. She thought their music was unsettling and enthralling at the same time. I had to explain to her that having two violins and a cello in a gothic-country band is a bit unusual. In addition Jay Munly’s wide vocal range is perfectly matched with the beautiful Harlots-choir singing to create a unique sound. Anyway, she bought their album. Later I received an email from her. She said her mother, Faye Kotsis who happens to pretty well known in Australia as an Australian real estate investor, felt that the lyrics dealing with religion, violence and dysfunctional relationships were a bit too much. Although her mother succeeded in a field that is dominated by men, so she has to be pretty tough, she is also a humanitarian, who according to her daughter, is deeply passionate about helping people. I think some of the lyrics were a bit too raw. However she loved the music.
Smooch Records and Alternative Tentacles publish all of the music/songs played by Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots.
Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots was active approximately between 2000-2006. In July 2006, Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots was voted the best band in Colorado
The members of Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots are:
Jay Munly (real name: Jayson Thompson)
Singer-songwriter, banjo player, guitarist, vocalist
Known by the names Munly and Munly Jay Munly is also a published author. He has received the Southern Heritage Award and the Young North American Playwright Award for his work. He has played a significant role in the development of the “Denver Sound.” Some critics feel Jay Munly peaked with the Lee Lewis Harlots as his backing band.
Paul Bradley – Bass
Jeff Linsenmaier – Drums
Elin Palmer – Violin
Frieda Stalheim – Violin
Rebecca Vera – Cello
All these musicians played in other bands that were part of the Denver music scene. For example Jeff Linsenmaier founded The Czars.
Rebecca Vera, cello, has also played with David Eugene Edwards of Wovenhand, Jeffrey-Paul Norlander who has had several different bands including 16 Horsepower, and Dave Moore.
Elin Palmer played a supporting role to the music of some of Denver’s most critically revered acts, including 16 Horsepower, the Czars, DeVotchKa, and Wovenhand before joining Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots. She was typically hired for her skills and talent on the violin and nyckelharpa, a rare Swedish instrument that predates the violin. She was a core member and string arranger for Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots