The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Flyleaf. Courtesy of Travis Shinn.

SnoCore Tour with Flyleaf, Adelitas Way, Framing Hanley and Fit For Rivals

When: Saturday, Feb. 7, 9 p.m.
Where: Jewel Nightclub, 61 Canal St., Manchester
Tickets: $25 at

A new leaf
New singer and album as Flyleaf plays Jewel

By Michael Witthaus

The SnoCore Winter Music Tour stops at Jewel Nightclub in Manchester on Feb. 7 with Flyleaf headlining, backed by Adelitas Way, Framing Hanley and Fit For Rivals. All are national acts, but the band at the top of the bill is a new one to most fans. 

After 10 years with Flyleaf, Lacey Sturm stepped down as lead singer in October 2012, weeks before the release of a just-completed album. The band named Kristen May as her replacement; the former Vedera vocalist immediately dove into learning her new band’s music.
Before joining, May knew very little about Flyleaf.  
“I saw their posters when I toured with my previous band; I don’t know why I never picked up an album,” May said in a recent phone interview. “I got to become a fan and join the band simultaneously; it was a really unique experience.”
Apart from a live 2013 EP containing one new track, wryly titled Who We Are, May spent over a year focused on singing Sturm’s songs. 
“I was like, OK, it’s a good way for me to see how I fit in with the band as far as performing,” she said. “But I was excited to write for a new album because that’s what I love — writing.”
Between the Stars, released last September, is the first with May fronting the band; the original members are guitarists Sameer Bhattacharya and Jared Hartmann, bass player Pat Seals and James Culpepper on drums. May contributed several songs to the new disc, including standout tracks “Sober Serenade” and “Well of Lies.” But when asked how it feels to put her stamp on the veteran band, she demurs. 
“I certainly wanted to put out something that I really loved, because I knew I was going to be singing these songs a while,” she said. “But I’ve tried ever since I joined the band to not compare myself too much with Lacey, to let my songs be my songs. The band really made it easy and comfortable for me to do what I do.”
With a soaring soprano, May brings a distinct and different singing style; in that way, she is putting some distance between the new and old editions. But a continuity of spirit remains in the band. 
“We wanted to move forward, no matter what has happened in our past,” she said. “We wanted to make sure that we are spreading the message of hope and that everybody can have that.” 
She feels that one track for the new record articulates that feeling. 
“‘Home’ is a very inspirational song, and one that we all relate to,” she said. “My band broke up when the guys that I played with for seven years quit, and obviously Lacey left … so we had that bond of feeling [like] you have a family [and] a day-to-day routine. You know what to expect, and then all of a sudden it’s kind of taken out.”
The song was among the first written for the new record. 
“It’s just about keeping your head up … it’s always going to be OK,” said May. “That feeling of being uncomfortable is kind of a good thing. It can really make you grow. You will find a place that feels like home again.”
May of Flyleaf’s songs contain spiritual references and the open faith of its members has led to a reputation as a Christian band. Upon joining, May received some flak from old fans worried that she wasn’t as devout as her predecessor. For example, some were reportedly alarmed by her yoga habit. 
May is mostly bemused by the criticism.  
“Some people are in a box in what they think,” she said. “Doing yoga is an aspect in which I find this peacefulness inside myself, and I think that’s a little bit different than what other people believe. … It’s funny — you say one thing in an interview, and it can kind of turn into a headline.” 
As seen in the February 5, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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