By Pati deVries.
Andrew Leahey & The Homestead proudly announce the release of Americana Static Volume 2, out on May 6, 2022 via Mule Kick Records.
Leave it to Andrew Leahey — frontman of Andrew Leahey & the Homestead, lead guitarist for Elizabeth Cook, longtime singer/songwriter, and award-winning music journalist — to become a cornerstone of America's busiest music community.
Hailed by Rolling Stone for their "celebratory mix of sharp storytelling and fist-pumping rock & roll swagger," Andrew Leahey & the Homestead are a classic band for the modern age, rolling a decades-spanning wealth of influences — the highway-bound hooks of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the sweeping guitars of George Harrison, the concise power-pop of Cheap Trick, the piano craft of Harry Nilsson — into a contemporary sound. Over the course of four studio albums, they’ve become hometown heartland-rock heroes in Nashville, celebrated for their own performances as well as their all-star benefit shows — curated by Leahey and featuring collaborations with artists from across the musical spectrum — that raise money for Nashville-based non-profits and global social rights organizations.
Collaboration has been a consistent thread throughout Leahey's career. Raised in Virginia on a mix of rock & roll and classical music, he initially made his mark as a classical vocalist, winning national awards as a teenager before singing with the Juilliard Choral Union in New York City as a young adult. By age 23, he had already performed at world-class venues like Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre. "Those rooms were amazing," he says, "but I missed playing with the bands I'd formed during high school and college. When you're a classical singer, you're executing someone else's music with precision, and you perform the same song the same way every time. Rock 'n Roll is more adaptive than that. It allows you to be flexible: to react to the crowd, to the unique acoustics of the room, to the context of the world on any given night. To me, classical music felt like a monologue, but rock & roll was more like a conversation. And why would I want to talk at people when I could talk with them instead?"
The conversation continues with Leahey's newest project, American Static. It's an expansive double album, recorded with bandmates Jay Dmuchowski and Dan Holmes — both of whom also appeared on Andrew Leahey & the Homestead's international breakthrough, Airwaves, in 2019 — and stocked with the widest-reaching music of the group's career. Released in two volumes, American Static bounces between Oasis-sized rock bombast ("Caught Like A Fire"), lyric-driven Americana ("Stay Awake"), and Beatles-inspired classic pop ("Sign of the Times"), its diversity glued together by a band that has never been afraid to blur the boundaries between genres. Leahey, who wrote all 18 songs, showcases his multi-instrumentalist skills throughout both volumes, from the amplified guitar riffs that drive "Hot House" to the upright piano that stands at the centre of retro-minded ballads like "Hanging Heavy" and "Carry a Weight."
Much of the music that comprises American Static, Vol. 1 (released in October 2021) and American Static, Vol. 2, was debuted during the Homestead's multi-year "Live & Online" livestream residency, which found the band playing more than 55 weekly shows throughout the Covid-19 era. "We knew we couldn't play the same songs week after week and expect our audience to keep showing up, so we forced ourselves to fill each show with new material," says Leahey. "We worked up more than 400 covers — everything from Bruce Springsteen to Benny Goodman — and began playing the original songs I’d been writing since we released Airwaves. As the weeks piled up, so did the new material." Those shows became a Thursday night tradition for thousands of fans, landing Leahey a spot in the Top 40 of Pollstar's Livestream chart along the way. By the time "Live & Online" came to a close, the band's livestreams had been watched by more than 100,000 viewers.
For Leahey, it wasn't the first time he'd turned to music to maintain a sense of perspective during a health scare. Years earlier, he'd been diagnosed with a brain tumour that rested on his cochlear nerve, jeopardizing not only his hearing, but his survival, too. The life-saving operation to remove the tumour took 12 hours; the recovery took more than 12 months. When Leahey returned to the road, he did so with a renewed purpose, crafting rock & roll anthems — including his first Top 50 Americana radio hit, "Little in Love," which appeared on his 2016 debut album Skyline in Central Time — that celebrated life, longevity, and everything he'd previously taken for granted.
Years later, it’s that same sense of purpose — entwined with twin electric guitars, stacked vocal harmonies, keyboards, and expansive production from Jon Estes (Steelism, John Paul White) — that powers American Static.
"This project came together while we were all stuck at home," says Leahey, "I certainly felt like a static American, shut indoors for more than a year. But there's a real sense of movement to that title, too. Imagine a radio dial that's being turned, with static occurring between stations. That static is simply the noise you have to hear before you find something better. To me, American Static represents both sides of the coin. These albums are immobility and transition — about the things that linger in our way, and the paths we take past them."