Songstress Frankie Leonie enchants fans at The Kessler with support from Madi Davis

A marquee sign with the artists' names

Frankie Leonie headlined the Kessler Theater on Friday, with support by Madi Davis. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Last Friday night, the Kessler Theater in Dallas hosted an evening of acoustic soul and heartfelt melodies courtesy of Frankie Leonie and Madi Davis.

Madi Davis started the night with her introspective lyrics and delicate melodies, leaving a lasting impression on the audience. Davis, who you may recognize from for her appearance on “The Voice” at the age of 16, showcased a maturity beyond her years.

A musician playing guitar on stage

Madi Davis performed a few songs on her grandfather’s guitar, seen here on the guitar stand next to her. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A musician playing guitar on stage and singing

Madi Davis opened the show at The Kessler. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Original music like “Anne’s Song” revealed the deeper, more vulnerable side of the artist. Her music touched on themes of home and self-discovery that resonated with the crowd.

Davis wrapped up her set with her latest single release “Glaze,” leaving the audience in anticipation of Frankie Leonie’s performance.

A musician playing guitar on stage

Frankie Leonie played a set of her unreleased music at the Kessler. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A full band on stage

Frankie Leonie was accompanied by Ryan Ake (left) and Evan Jacobs (right). Photo: Jessica Waffles

Headliner Frankie Leonie took the stage with a blend of soft acoustic sound and ethereal vocals, accompanied by Ryan Ake on guitar and Evan Jacob on keys.

She played (mostly) original unreleased music, including songs co-written with fellow local artists Wesley Geiger, Beau Bedford and Kirby Brown.

Leonie’s songwriting carries a reflective quality, exploring themes of love, loss, and existential introspection. Listening to “Til the End” felt like floating in a canoe down a river, watching the trees fade to brown and crying at its beauty.

A musician playing guitar on stage

Ryan Ake on stage with Frankie Leonie at the Kessler. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A musician playing guitar on stage

Frankie Leonie released her debut single “Johnny Cash” in 2018. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Leonie played a handful of solo songs in the middle of the set, including her original song “Lay Me To Rest” and a cover of Gillian Welch’s “Dear Someone.”

With the band rejoining her, Leonie performed her haunting delivery of “Never My Love” in the style of Audra Mae, whose rendition is featured in the television show Sons of Anarchy.

The band wrapped up the set, and the audience called for an encore. Leonie played “Johnny Cash” as her last song, which was her debut single written when she was 14 years old and released in 2018 with over 50,000 plays on Spotify. The song is a response to Johnny Cash’s “Give My Love to Rose” from the perspective of Rose’s son.

A musician playing keys on stage

Evan Jacobs on stage with Frankie Leonie. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A musician playing guitar on stage and singing

Frankie Leonie is a talented young songwriter in Dallas. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Frankie Leonie’s performance was a testament to her growth as a young artist. With a soft sound and a tender voice, Leonie is a gem in a Dallas music scene.

She’s recording new music, hinting at some plans for a few single releases sometime next year.

You can catch Frankie Leonie on Friday November 10 at Sundown at Granada opening for Lola Kirke and Friday December 8 at Ruins in Deep Ellum with Lighthearted and Rose Hips.

A full band on stage

The Kessler was the perfect listening room for Frankie Leonie’s sensitive songs. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Jessica Waffles is a freelance photographer/videographer and regular contributor to KXT. 

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