After a brief foray into the genre of autobiographical folk songs on his 2018 recording, “Storyteller”, acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Bill Leslie (whistles, piano, guitar, and orchestrations) has returned to his Celtic roots with his third album of instrumental music influenced by his love for and affinity with Scotland and Ireland, “Celtic Peace”.
Press release by Ed and Stacey Bonk
Featuring four renowned guest artists, the album paints on a broad palette of moods and tempos, which reflects the diversity of the Celtic lands themselves.
“Celtic Peace” displays not just Leslie’s accomplished virtuosity but his orchestration mastery as well, as he handles songs that are both subdued and dramatic with equal ease. His portraits of the beauty and majesty of Ireland and Scotland are pure pleasure to the ears, whether invigorating or sublime.
Get to know the artist
Bill Leslie is an award-winning journalist and internationally acclaimed musician and composer. He retired from the anchor desk in 2018 after 34 years at WRAL-TV.
Bill has won more 70 major news awards including two Peabody Awards, considered the Pulitzer Prize of broadcasting, along with five Emmys. As a veteran anchorman and environmental reporter for WRAL Television in Raleigh, Bill produced more than a dozen award-winning documentaries including “Troubled Rivers” which won the National Society of Professional Journalists Distinguished Public Service Award. Bill’s radio series and documentaries including “The Five Faces of Poverty” and “Victims” won The Edward R. Murrow Award, The Robert F. Kennedy Award, The National Headliner Award, the duPont-Columbia Citation and the National Gavel Award. In 2018 Bill won the prestigious North Carolina Award for his work as musician and journalist.
Famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma called Leslie “one of the greats in modern Celtic music.” Most of the CDs produced by Bill have hit at or near the top of the world music charts. On May 17, 2014 in New Orleans Leslie’s album Scotland: Grace of the Wild was named world radio Album of the Year by Zone Music Reporter which tracks international air play. Leslie, who plays guitar, piano and Celtic whistle was named “Best New Artist” worldwide by the NAR in 2005. Bill currently plays with the Raleigh based Celtic/Folk ensemble “Lorica.”
Bill’s orchestral composition Tall Ships was named the official song of the 2006 America Parade of Sail featuring majestic ships from around the world. Bill’s music has been performed by the North Carolina Symphony and the Tar River Philharmonic Orchestra.
Bill is also a popular storyteller and author of a book featuring his father’s watercolors of Western North Carolina. His hobbies include running, photography and visiting national parks. He is an elder at Cary Presbyterian Church.
Bill is a graduate of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His roots run deep in Tar Heel soil. Bill’s North Carolina ancestry spans five generations. His great, great, great, great grandfather Charles McDowell, a Patriot leader in the Revolutionary War. Bill lives in Cary, N.C. with his wife Cindy, a speech pathologist. Their married children are Lauren, an elementary school teacher and Will who works for a Charlotte software company. The Leslies have four granddaughters, Elizabeth, Edie, Ava and Claire and a famous dog named Rufus.
For more information and music samples, visit billleslie.com