Andrew Leahey & the Homestead – American Static Vol. 1
Andrew Leahey’s story is not that of your typical rock and roll singer. After all, not every rock and roll singer is a Juilliard-trained vocalist who has sung at Carnegie Hall. Those two things would be impressive enough, but his resume doesn’t end there. Since 2017, he has been Elizabeth Cook’s guitarist.
On his previous albums, Leahey showed the ability to craft layered melodies that are the perfect backdrop for his clean vocals. American Static Vol. 1 is his latest album. As the name indicates, it is a double album whose second volume will be released early next year. “This project came together while we were all stuck at home. I certainly felt like a static American, shut indoors for a year.” It hasn’t been an ideal time for anyone, but this is another good album that came about because of the pandemic.
Since Leahey has played with Elizabeth Cook and lives in Nashville, you might expect a little country sound from him. However, you won’t find a lot of country on this collection of rock and roll songs.
Leahey’s vocal training is clear from the opening song “Shadows that Still Stretch.” His voice is clear and even as he sings over a rock melody that also incorporates some spacey psychedelic sounds and a soulful organ part. This song will likely remind you of some songwriting greats like Tom Petty and it is a great invitation to the rest of the album.
“Keep the Car Running” is a rocker right from the beginning. Like a Drive-By Truckers song, this one goes heavy and loud on the guitar. It also features a piano part that is essential rock and roll in that it sounds like piano even from the earliest rock and roll songs. If that weren’t enough, the instrumental break in this one might have you playing your best air guitar.
At the other end of the spectrum is “Somewhere Between.” The band really slows down the tempo for this song that opens with some twangy sustained notes that could just as easily be in a Flying Burrito Brothers song. The vocal sound is similar to Andrew Gabbard of Buffalo Killers while the lyrics are wistful. It hits pretty hard when he sings the evocative lyrics, “Somewhere between the coffee cream and the nightcap, does she think about me? Cuz I’m never drinking without her memory.”
The album closes with “My Avalanche” a song that is a little more poppy than the rest. It features a prominent piano part as well as strings. The guitar only comes to the forefront in the instrumental break, and even then, it’s not overpowering. There’s a couple things you can say about this song. First, it sounds like it could be the theme song of a television drama. Second, when the band performs live, you can bet that this is a song for the middle of the set so the band can get a little breather before bringing the energy back up.
American Static Vol. 1 by Andrew Leahey & the Homestead isn’t a revolutionary album but then it doesn’t need to be. It comes across as familiar as an album you wore out when you were young, and that is a big part of the charm. At a time when everything seems uncertain Andrew Leahey & the Homestead have produced an album that feels like a musical security blanket.
The band: Andrew (electric-acoustic guitar/piano/keys), Dan Holmes (drums), Jay Dmuchowski (electric-acoustic guitar), Jon Estes (bass-electric-acoustic-slide guitars/keys/organ/string arrangements). Elizabeth Estes (violin), & Sadler Vaden (electric guitar) on “My Avalanche.” Ariel Posen (electric guitar on “Guilty Man”). Phillip Thomas Heesen III (electric-acoustic guitar/BGV/keys on “Missing the Missing”).
The 34-minute CD @ https://andrewleaheymusic.com/#home-section