Kathy Wigman Lesnock was born and reared in a home where country music and singing were as natural as breathing.
From those childhood days in rural Pennsylvania, Kathy became a songwriting and vocal force with Crandall Creek. Kathy is the principal writer and lead vocalist on Crandall Creek’s latest release, The Bean Song, available to bluegrass radio via AirPlay Direct.
Kathy says her love of music started with her father, Ed Wigman, who “seemed to know every country song ever written.” He would pick up an old Gibson guitar and the house would be filled with music and laughter.
Kathy made her first stage appearance when she was only 6, standing on the stage next to her father where she “sang with my whole heart.” She wrote her first song – a “he done me wrong song” – when she was just 17.
Music followed Kathy through most of her life’s journey. But at times life got in the way of the music.
“As the years passed and life got busier with work, then a husband and then children, I put away my song writing and singing,” Kathy says. “But ultimately, I found there was a hole in my life without music, and a longing in my soul to write again.”
On her 35th birthday, her husband and her dad bought her a guitar. That started her on a musical journey that took Kathy from Pennsylvania to Wheeling to Nashville to Crandall Creek.
With guitar in hand, Kathy started writing again. Eventually she wanted to record her songs. Through a friend she met Roger Hoard, a guitarist with the Wheeling Jamboree. Roger brought Kathy to Jamie Peck of Jamie Peck Productions in Wheeling, who produced her music.
Later, Kathy and husband would go back and forth to Nashville, where Kathy would sing her traditional country songs at open mic nights, including the Bluebird Café. “I met wonderful people there who encouraged me to continue writing, and to remain true to myself through my music,” Kathy says.
On song writing, Kathy believes, “The song always ends up going its own way. I learned a long time ago, not to fight against the song.”
But as her parents aged and their health failed, the trips to Nashville ended.
When Kathy’s father passed away, “I spoke to Jamie Peck about how I felt lost, and of my trouble finding my way back to music.”
Jamie suggested that Kathy get together with Crandall Creek founder Jerry Andrews, who was looking for writing partner.
“It took a while for us to meet up, but let me say this, Jerry Andrews is relentless,” Kathy says.
After an afternoon of co-writing, Jerry asked Kathy to join his band. That was in 2017, on December 7, her dad’s birthday. “I took that as a sign and told Jerry I would join Crandall Creek.”
Kathy and Jerry (along with Kathy’s husband, Doug, and Jerry’s wife, Sharon) are partners in operation of the band. That partnership has taken the West Virginia-based group from Moundsville to Bell Buckle Records in Tennessee, to having three songs (Drivin’ Me Insane, This Heart of Mine, and Headed South) on the bluegrass charts this year.
In addition to song writing, Jerry plays rhythm guitar. Dustin Terpenning (banjo, mandolin), Roger Hoard (lead guitar), Abby Latocha (vocals) and Trish Imbrogno (bass) round out the band. Their records are being produced by Jamie Peck in his Wheeling studio and released through Valerie Smith on Bell Buckle Records.
“Music will always find a way,” Kathy says. “And I’m so thankful and blessed to be part of Crandall Creek Band.”
The Bean Song will be available October 16 wherever you stream or download music online.